Summer Scents

Summer is in full 90+ swing here in Central Il.  That lovely, extended Spring, with its cooling, soaking rains, gave way to blistering heat & sun (but not before it had some Monsoon Moments) and all I can focus on is staying ahead of at least some of the weeds.  But I have teeeeny tiiiiny windows in which to rip and hack and swear at creeping Charlie and bindweed and nightshade.  By 9a it’s like the surface of the sun out there – and besides, I haz to work at my rent career, y’know?  So I’m up at 5a, watering containers and feeding my voracious Audrey-like Colocasias, grabbing a few minutes to enjoy the smells in the garden before the sun blasts them into oblivion.

feeeed meee!

March talked about lilies and I thought ‘well, I’ll talk about some other flower’ – except!  It’s LILY TIME and all elebenty-billion of my lilies are either blooming or getting ready to pop! and 5a (and 7p) are the optimal times to enjoy their fragrance.  The orienpets and orientals are fully flowering now (Asiatics were a bit earlier and, gorgeous as they are, are relatively scentless).  It’s actually a bit narcotic, with that weird gassy ‘tickle’ one gets in the presence of too much perfume.

Kansas. Super fragrant and big as your head!

Borage is in full flower, as well, with its crisp cucumber scent.  I let it grow through all the paths in the kitchen garden and, like the oregano, enjoy stepping on it, to release the fragrance.


And Casa Blanca lilies smell like Double Bubble bubblegum!  Which is a weirdly delightful thing.  Ymmv.

Vaseline is playing a part in the garden right now, too!  I was watching my hummingbirds get chased off their feeders by voracious wasps and thought ‘oh, HELL no!’, so I pulled out the Vaseline and smeared it all over the feeder, except for the perch and the actual port holes.  Unlike the hummingbirds, wasps aren’t able to sit on the perch and feed and I’m ashamed/not ashamed to admit I cackled like a hyena, watching those vicious little bassids try to find ingress!  Ha!  Newp.  So now the hummers can feed in peace – and there’s plenty of other food sources for wasps.  I put out grape jelly for the orioles and they can share that – orioles will beat the snot out of a wasp if they get too aggressive so no worries there (and yes, I cackle when I see wasps getting their lunch et by big birds.  Nothing against wasps but they can be a real pain sometimes).  Anyhoo, Vaseline/petroleum jelly has an interesting smell when it’s baking in 90F.  Obviously there is some masking scent added that isn’t easily detectable at normal temps but omg!  smear it on a feeder (and the pole, to keep out the ants) and you’re assailed by a weird mingling of scents.  Not quite ‘secret smells’ petrol but……well, there is a hint of some sort of rubbery tang to the air.   It’s completely ‘unnatural’ in the midst of all that nature – and I kinda like it!

by 7a I’m done with the garden, showered and slathered with Jean Nate because 90F means I can’t think!  By 10a I can think again so I think about what to wear, perfumewise (since I’m not going to be in a 90+ garden at 10a I don’t have to worry about wasps)…..  our neighbor has his burn pile going, which made me think of Amouage Tribute Attar, with that smoky rosy plummy-jammy fabulousness.  Perfect – absolutely perfect – in 90+ heat.  It’s what it was made for!

For those of you in the grip of heat, what sort of smells are working for you?  Do you go light or work with the heavy hitters? Anything ‘weird’ smelling that tickles your fancy this hot-as-hell time of year?

  • jen says:

    We had some neighbors when I was a kid who invited us to their back yard to see and smell some flower that only bloomed once. I still remember that experience. Felt kind of Japanese!

  • March says:

    That is so fantastic. I can just imagine the smell! 😀

  • Pam says:

    Your lilies are fabulous! I have a couple of the Asian lilies, but none of the big ones. Maybe I should try some. And your orioles. I have never seen one, we don’t have any.
    As to fragrances, I agree with the leathers. EL Azuree is wonderful in the heat.

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Oh Musette! I so enjoyed reading this one! Wasps are jerks, so I’d be laughing too. Wish I had orioles–we see only a few around here from time to time. What I do have, bird-wise this year, is a juvenile red-tailed hawk. He seems to think my yard is part of his territory, so we watch for him, especially when the cats are out!

    This is a sparse year in our garden, and I have been awful at tending the flowers, too. I have red Monarda emerging from the flowering catnip and pink knockout rose bush, so it is pleasant enough. Thank heavens my day-lilies don’t seem to mind the neglect. I has turned hot & muggy in New England, so I’m doing the minimum: tending basil (I’ll make Thai basil syrup for martinis this year) and tying up a few tomato plants.

    Leather in the heat. You gals are badass. The best I can do (for a hot & steamy scent) is Jungle Gardenia, the vintage of course.

    • Musette says:

      oooh! That hawk sounds lovely, though I suspect it’s to the detriment of other birds? When we have hawks or eagles in the vicinity it gets reeeeally quiet.

      Try a touch of leather in this heat. You can thank me later 😉


      • Queen Cupcake says:

        He is lovely. And a bit intimidating. I think he is mostly after the rabbits, which are plentiful around here. I will try the leather ‘fume in the heat–plenty hot weather coming our way this weekend.

  • malsnano86 says:

    It’s muggy here. I am avoiding being outside between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., because it is MIZZERBLE in the open air. That idiot Henry James blathering about “summer afternoon” had no flipping idea what he was talking about.

    At least in Virginia.

    My stargazers are blooming, and nothing else, because The CEO decided to weed-whack the front garden in late May, and he hacked up all my clematises (AGAIN. GRR.), the chrysanthemums, the black-eyed Susans, and the Shasta daisies. (The sedums, apparently, looked like Something He Shouldn’t Whack. I am having trouble deciding What to Whack around the house… husband? or no?)

    I am back in the chypre groove: my vintage Coty — for which I blame you, Anita — and the DSH Essence Oil Chypre dupe, and the newish Rogue Perfumery Chypre-Siam. It’s all I want right now.

    • Queen Cupcake says:

      I feel your pain: lost cheddar pinks, alchemilla mollis, and a host of other pretties to the Wizard of Whack.

    • Musette says:

      omg! You are a SAINT! You know what I do – I put peony and tomato cages around my keepers, so I (since CrazyLegs ain’t about to do much weed whackin’) don’t yank up something. It really does help, truly. Howevah! Lemmetellya – Nutjob went into my kitchen garden and actually WENT INTO A TALL CAGE, grabbed (GRABBED) a budding lily and said “what is THIS?”, as he was prepping to YANK it. “Your LIFE!” gave him pause. Wth? He NEVER pulls so much as a dandelion! I’m hoping it was just some weird aberration.

      I take FULL blame for that chypre, hon. That stuff is the elixir of fabulous, innit?


  • Linda says:

    Ineke just announced Gilded Lily is a goner! 🙁 Grab the red bottle quickly, or find the older sampler w/ the red box sample at Luscious Cargo! 🙂

  • Jennifer S says:

    Yours all sound/ look gorgeous, especially the one as “big as your head” and still…my lilies have not shown themselves! I still only have the green leaves! Can they not take care of their own selves cause obviously I’m not doing a very good job. Do I need to give them vitamins or what? I remember them being very pretty the time or two I actually saw them and I would like to see them again lol.
    Sometimes it’s hard for me to know what scent to wear cause it’s hot outside but sweater weather inside when I get to work.

    • Musette says:

      where are you (what zone)? If you’re North (anything below zone 5) it might be a bit later? – if not, hmmmm…… well, I would wait until Autumn, then lift the bulbs (with a pitchfork set AWAY from the plant ) put some bonemeal in the bottom of the hole and make sure the soil is aerated – if it’s too bound, add a bit of composted manure or peat. Just something to open the soil up a bit.

      Hope this helps!


  • Tara C says:

    Bizarrely I am having leather cravings in the midst of summer heat and humidity. Yesterday I was in a cloud of Cuir Mauresque, the day before it was Cuir Cannage. Tribute Attar sounds perfect, wish I had access to my bottle, I would wear that. I think I’ll wear Oeillet Bengale today just to change things up.

    • Musette says:

      I LOVE leather in extreme heat as well! I wear a LOT of CdeRussie as well as Cuir Ottoman. Lancôme’s leather has to wait until Autumn because the lovely apricot note, so pretty in cooler weather, is nauseating in extreme heat.

      ‘wish I had access to my bottle?’ – did you leave it in CA? I didn’t take it – SWEATERGAWD! lol!