Autumn Aromas

“Autumn Aromas”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

When early autumn arrives, that is usually the first time in months that there is an opportunity here in the Deep South to turn off the air conditioning, open the windows, and let cool air drift through the house. The very first cool front to come through is joyfully welcomed. This is especially nice at night. There is nothing like going to sleep with that initial cool, autumn air hanging over you.

What makes having the windows open at night so pleasant is not only the coolness but the aromas. In late September, the night blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) starts releasing it fragrance. What a wonderful way to drift off to sleep.



This plant is not used very much today which is a shame. Before air conditioning became common, this used to be planted outside of windows to perfume homes and especially bedrooms at nighttime. When my bushes started blooming, the aroma brought me back to my childhood and my maternal grandfather. One of my most vivid memories is visiting my grandparents’ rural home and going to sleep with the night blooming jasmine’s fragrance in the room. My grandfather always planted this outside the bedrooms. Since this shrub only blooms at night, and the fragrance is only released at night, it is perfect outside an opened bedroom window.

Another sweet-smelling plant that is blooming now that it is early autumn is the sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans). This blooms in the daytime with tiny, deliciously fragrant flowers. Don’t let the tiny flowers fool you, this plant’s aroma can travel. Often when I return home from work in the late afternoon, I can smell these flowers even though the plants are in the back garden.



When this plant blooms, I am reminded of my father. I remember that he brought home a fairly large sweet olive that he rescued from a construction site when I was quite small. He planted it in our side yard and was so proud of that tree. As a child, I would pick a small sprig of flowers and was amazed that such tiny flowers could have such a big fragrance. By the way, that tree is still alive at my parent’s home. It has been there about 55 years having outlived my father.

Both of these plants are extremely fragrant, but those fragrances are not overpowering or cloying. Having these glorious aromas and cool temperatures around are among the things I look forward to every autumn.


  1. Mary said,

    September 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I love Night Blooming Jasmine! I’ve been looking for one but haven’t come across one yet.

    • Jan said,

      September 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      This grows from seed. If I have any seeds this year, I’ll contact you.

  2. Dave Christensen said,

    September 28, 2011 at 6:46 am

    The idea of having the Jasmine outside the bedroom window sounds inviting to me -up here in the Northeast countryside where we sleep with the windows open most of the summer.

    There is usually a couple of weeks where the temps and humidity are such that we turn on the A/C. The rest of the time we like to hear what’s going on outside -the wood frogs and spring peepers earlier, the tree frogs later in the summer, the night birds and all the insects.

    Occasionally we are awakened by a ‘coyote kill’ -which, if close enough is pretty loud and boisterous for 15-20 seconds, then silent again.

    It would be nice to have the Jasmine adding to all the sounds of the night. I don’t think it would survive the winters, however.

    • Jan said,

      September 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Not having to use air conditioning for months at a time sounds heavenly to me. This jasmine would probably not survive your winters, but it could be planted from seed each spring – it grows fast. Mine gets knocked back every winter, but it does return from the roots.

  3. Dave Christensen said,

    September 28, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Here’s something you may find interesting. JoAnne was looking for a Hummingbird nest and discovered a couple of Garter Snakes entwined with each other up in a Lilac bush. We assume they were there because the air was warmer than the ground that day.

    Photos included here: Snakes in a Bush

    • Jan said,

      September 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      I’ll check this out. Thanks

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