“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.