Wildly Sweet

May 28, 2015 garden 034


The sweetest smelling part of our garden remains the wildest.  We inherited a “hedge” of Ligustrum japonicum, overgrown for decades, growing between our home and our neighbors’.   At least 30′ tall, and supporting a healthy colony of wild honeysuckle, its perfume permeates the garden.

A whiff of blooming honeysuckle, a memory from childhood summers, announces summer in my heart.


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This elusive scent remains full of comfort and promise.  The flatter, heavier scent of the Ligustrum grows stronger as the weather heats up.  It penetrates body and soul as we step out into the garden on hot afternoons.

Trillions of tiny white flowers, blooming on this living wall, generate all of this perfume.  And, as you would imagine, they are positively dancing as bees and other tiny insects fly from flower to flower.   Gorging on this feast of nectar, the bees pay us little attention.


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But they have my attention as I work around them.  Of course, this area shades my plant nursery  This is where I store plants,waiting to be potted or planted, and gardening supplies.

This is the wildest part of our garden.  We do nothing here, save to leave it alone.  It had grown into this magnificence long before we arrived, and we leave it to its own outrageous beauty.

Flowers today will slowly grow into plump purple berries by late autumn.


January 24 ice 008


This wall of Ligustrum feeds our cardinals, and multitudes of other hungry birds, all winter long.  Birds  feast on  insects in the depths of these shrubs throughout the year.  Our overgrown hedge offers shelter for wildlife and provides a windbreak for the garden.

Its deep shade creates a microclimate for ferns and remains cool and welcoming on the hottest summer days. Ivy, Vinca,  and Virginia Creeper carpet the soil beneath it.

Wildly untended, it is not the beauty spot of our garden.  But it doesn’t need to be.  Its presence frames the life within.


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Woodland Gnome  2015

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

13 responses to “Wildly Sweet

  1. Thank you! I’ve been wondering what that is. I was out smelling and looking at the white flowers in our hedgerow yesterday, and hadn’t yet gotten around to looking it up. Now I don’t have to. 🙂

    • You are welcome 🙂 Isn’t the fragrance unusual ? Is yours close to your house ?

      • Not too close. It’s along the driveway. When the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell it from the house. It’s the fragrance that caught my attention the other morning when I went out for my walk. I followed it to the flowers.

        • And I hope you found your Ligustrum covered in bees 😉 It sows itself all over the place. We have a lot of these shrubs growing in odd places around the garden, and I tend to leave them alone whenever possible. Glad you have some, too 😉

  2. I can almost smell this fragrance after reading this – 🙂 –
    and the ending “presence frames the life within” so well said! also, side note – here is a snippet of one of my hydrangeas – the other is a goner for sure – bunt this one might not be gone –

  3. i too
    love that
    honeysuckle smell!
    thanks for bringing
    it to me 🙂

  4. I can almost experience this…thqt’s how good you are.

    • Thank you, Rickii. There is a peculiar fragrance made of Ligustrum, Honeysuckle, warm Buxus, and Magnolia blossoms which we could bottle and call, “Early summer in Virginia.” It is pungent, sweet, and full of promise. The nearly 100% humidity on hot afternoons activates all of these fragrances …. you hardly notice them until it grows humid and hot.

  5. What a lovely post. Thank you.

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