Sweet Smells

My kitchen table has a vase full of lilacs on it right now.

The scent is spreading throughout our small house. It smells absolutely divine.

Sadly, they are going to be given away today. Here’s the story…

This week is apparently “Educational Bosses’ Week” – whoever came up with that name? Anyway, it’s Principals’/School Administrators week – at least, it is for Tad’s school. We had a note sent home with him on Monday asking that each child bring a flower in from their garden at home, which the class would then present to the principal so she could make a bouquet. I thought that was a rather nice, and inexpensive, way to do something sweet for the principal.

If ONLY it had been two weeks ago, when I had more flowers in bloom in my garden!!!

My tulips are gone, my daffodils are long since gone, as are my hyacinths. I actually didn’t plant any new bulbs last fall, so what came up was the hardiest stuff of the perrenial lot. My rhododendrons are budding, but have yet to bloom, my hydrangea is leafing out beautifully – as it always does – but it won’t bloom for a couple more months. Ditto for the roses.

That left me with my bleeding heart and my lilac tree.

Those plants both have stories behind them. In general, our front and back yards are pretty shady – our house faces due east, and we have several large trees shading a good portion of the backyard. So, I have had to look carefully into more shade-loving plants. When the Webmaster and I first bought our house, I spent some time really tending to the yard and trying to put some new life into it – the previous owners weren’t much on gardening, they had said. Once I realized how shady the front yard was, I bought a bleeding heart plant. I’ve always loved the look of them, and Obachan had them in her yard when I was growing up. Mine is a lovely pink and white one, and over the last six years, has grown and thrived in its shady spot. It gets HUGE every year – and then dies back and disappears until the next spring.

I have always loved lilacs – my mother has a deep purple lilac tree that has grown like mad ever since she planted it, and since their backyard is quite sunny, it blossoms like gangbusters every spring. When I realized how shady my own yard was, though, I put off the idea of planting any lilacs.

Then, two springs ago, I noticed that there were lilacs blooming in my backyard. I kid you not.

Apparently, a small, non-descript bush that I had never paid any attention to, because it had never bloomed, had been a lilac tree all along. Despite being in a shadier spot than I would have given it, it has managed to bloom every year since – not many flowers, but what it does have are incredibly fragrant lavender ones. We actually took a few trees in our backyard down last fall (after one snapped and gave us a terrible scare), so it might give my hardy lilac tree, which popped up against all odds, a little more sunshine in the coming years. I love my lilac tree, and I can easily see it from my bedroom window.

So, knowing that the bleeding heart probably wasn’t the best choice for Tad to take to school, I clipped one of my precious lilac blossoms and sent it to school with him.

When the Webmaster dropped Tad and the lilac off, the paraeducator (aka assistant teacher) for Tad’s class commented on how pretty it was and how much the principal would like it, and then said, in the Webmaster’s hearing, “Tad, this is one of my favorite smells.”

The Webmaster repeated this to me, and a lightbulb went on in my head. AHA!

At Tad’s school, they keep a binder in the main office called “My Favorite Things.” Each of the teachers, paraeducators, therapists and other professionals have forms they’ve filled out about the things they like best (hence, the title of the binder) so that students and parents can get them things that they would really like and enjoy, rather than trinkets or things that they may even be allergic to. However, Tad’s assistant teacher has never filled out one of these forms, so I have been totally in the dark with her. I don’t even know when her birthday is – and I made sure that I gave small birthday gifts to both Tad’s teacher and his speech therapist. Maybe she just didn’t want her birthday recognized (though there is a box you can check to say that you would prefer not to receive birthday gifts) – maybe she just never got around to filling one out (though I told her that she should). She did get a gift during Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week, but I had been wanting to do something special just for her, as I did for the others on their birthdays. After all, this poor woman does spend quite a bit of time chasing Tad down in class on the days he doesn’t behave – at least, that’s what I hear.

Sooo… I spent the afternoon at Grandma and Gichan’s house, watching Libby (I was the back-up back-up baby-sitter, but I had Ane with me, so Libby didn’t care one bit that I was “watching” her – she had Ane to play with), and before Grandma left, I asked her “Do you have a vase you don’t care about? Oh, and can I clip some of your lilacs?”

Grandma provided the vase, deep purple lilacs and some white lilacs from another tree that is on the far end of the yard, under a large Thundercloud tree (it doesn’t get as much sun as it used to). I clipped the lilacs and stuck them in water in the vase – and then drove VERY CAREFULLY home. Once I was home, I clipped two more of my lavender lilacs and put them in the vase, too.

It is a lovely, fragrant work of art. And it is sitting on my kitchen table, giving off a wonderful, natural fragrance – so unlike a scented candle that could choke you with its heavy perfume.

I really hope that it is an encouragement and a blessing to Tad’s assistant teacher. We will be giving it to her today after Tad gets out of school.

lilac bouquet

5 Responses to “Sweet Smells”

  1. Juliet
    May 20th, 2009 05:26

    Those lilacs are beautiful. I wish I could be there to smell them. When I grow up and have a real backyard, I’m going to plant lilacs too.

  2. Ressis
    May 20th, 2009 06:55

    Oh, I love the natural smell of lilacs – it’s a very happy scent.

  3. Dale
    May 20th, 2009 07:13

    Lilcas are so wonderful and ours are not doing so well this year. I grew up in Olympia and we had at least a dozen plants that were well established (we used to climb them). I appreciate them much more now.

  4. Aunt Lynda
    May 20th, 2009 07:38

    I’ve never got a lilac to grow, but had a large one in a rental house many years ago. Now my neighbor house has one blooming, right out my kitchen window. I may have to go over and help myself, as nobody lives there except occasional week-ends. It is a family week-end house since she died. I’ll bet she wouldn’t mind.
    But must wait until the rain stops, if it does. I would get a shower.

  5. Nana
    May 20th, 2009 09:15

    Nice arrangement. You are a florist unawares.