Tag Archives: fragrance

“Lily of the Valley – Convallaria majalis”

“Lily of the Valley - Convallaria majalis”

“I miss your fragrance, sometimes I miss it this much that I can clearly smell you in the air.” 
― Qaisar Iqbal Janjua

Just in time for the last day of May. This has been a very delayed year for many of our spring flowers, here in Ontario. These just started blooming last week and I was happy to see a few remained for me to photograph.

The fragrance of lily of the valley is among my favourite scents and the memory of that smell brings back so many special times for me: gardening as a child, with my grandmother and father, my wedding day (we had lilacs and lily of the valley from our home and my wife’s family home as our flower arrangements and in the bouquet), as well as the birth of our first child, in May, 26 years ago. Lily of the valley and its wonderful sweetness was part of all those moments. I do miss it, when it’s not blooming, but the memory remains.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
3.0sec, f/29.0, ISO 100 

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“Into the Rose” – Enfolded in Love

"Into the Rose"

“Of all the flowers, the rose speaks to me, especially, of love. The delicate petals, layer by delicate layer, draw me to the heart, while the fragrance entrances me with its subtle sweetness. Promising future passions, while echoing back to tender memories” – Ed Lehming

I had not, till now, deeply explored my thoughts and feelings on roses. Those feelings are complex and tied together by many threads of memory. My father and maternal grandmother were both avid gardeners. Since my grandmother lived with us, the two spent much time pursuing their mutual love of gardening together. I found this an odd, but wonderful teaming. My mother had no real interest in gardening, other than enjoying the final product as the backyard filled with sweet fragrances and bright colours.

The gardens were carefully planned and cared for, weeds were quickly plucked from this sacred place, reserved for the chosen plants and  no others.

What stands out for me, and the topic of this post, is their extraordinary gift for growing roses. I have no idea of what the varieties were, though I consider myself a talented gardener, my dad and grandmother had a true gift for growing roses. Be it climbers, bushes, what have you. Every garden was ‘anchored’ by some form of rose. I regret never asking them where this passion for roses came from. My grandmother grew up in Berlin and my father came from a small village along the Oder river, in present day Poland. Neither location invokes thoughts of roses for me. I will have to pursue this thinking at some point.

As we enter July and roses begin to peak, I can’t help but look at them and think back on our backyard gardens, carefully sculpted, flowing, planned to be in bloom throughout the summer. Of course, the  sight and fragrance of the roses dominated the warm summer days, lounging on the patio and gazing across their labours.

Ah, I took this all for granted as a child and now appreciate those gentle memories that bring me back to simpler times of family, childhood, love and the sweet fragrance of summer. For that, and many other things I thank them, and miss them deeply.

Nikon D800
Schneider-Kreuznach Exida-Xenon 50mm f/1.9 @ 50mm (14mm extension tube)

1/60 sec, f/1.9, ISO 4000

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The memory that really stands out for me, and the topic of this post is the roses they grew. I have no idea of the specific varieties planted, I  did not acquire their gift for roses.

“May Fretz Peony” – Stouffville

“May Fretz Peony”  -Stouffville

“The little boy nodded at the peony and the peony seemed to nod back. The little boy was neat, clean and pretty. The peony was unchaste, dishevelled, as peonies must be, and at the height of its beauty. Every hour is filled with such moments, big with significance for someone.”
– Robertson Davies

I’m not sure what the formal designation for this variety of peony is, but in my home it’s know as Grandma Fretz’s Peony. This is one of several heritage peonies we have in our gardens and was passed on to us by my mother-in-law.

This beauty always produces brilliant white blossoms with a splash of bright red at the centre and lining some petals. It’s also incredibly fragrant. At this time of year the air around our house is redolent with the fragrance of peony.

Our only problem is the flowers are so large that even a light rain adds so much weight to them that they just about break their stems or sag to the ground. So, we enjoy them while we can and try to support the large bushes as well as we can.

It’s a true pleasure knowing this same plant graced my wife’s ancestors garden and that we can continue to enjoy them and, hopefully, pass them on to the next generation to enjoy as well. Our saving grace, though I consider myself a good gardener, I seem to have gift for peonies. This is paying off well.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 185mm

1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

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