Lovely Lilacs {sweet morning fragrances

        In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle – and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.

                                                                           ~Walt Whitman, 1865

fragrance everywhere

Each spring, I am eager as a child in anticipation of opening a Christmas gift or peering into the stocking hanging on the mantle…the spring lilacs are in bloom! I love the heady lilac fragrance and the billowing gorgeous blooms next to vibrant green heart-shaped leaves.

Lilacs- white and purple

Lilacs are all abloom around Rose Cottage, and their fragrance perfumes the crisp early morning air. The golden sun is barely up over the river…the call of the exquisite lavender, purple, white and pink lilac blossoms bekons me to join them in celebrating this beautiful May morning!


a bit of forgotten memory

Fragrances are intimately associated with memories. This morning, the lilac fragrance reminds me of our first few years at Rose Cottage–it was so overgrown with lilacs, un-descript shrubs and scrub trees– the 100-year-old farm house was barely visible. The ancient lilac bushes nearly surrounded the entire house–especially on the east and north side.  The lilacs were right next to the windows and went out about 75 feet from the house. They reached to the bedrooms on the second story. When we opened the second story windows–it was as if we were floating on top of billowing, gorgeous purple clouds when the lilacs were in bloom. I think we may have picked bouquets from the windows!

In early summer, the sweet alluring fragrance of lilacs filled each room, and lulled us to a deep slumber in the cool evenings. I cried the day we had to take out the lilacs–I loved their fragrance so. We saved several clumps for re-planting along the west property–just on the other side of the meadow.

Lilac white 2

Memories aside, who can resist the fragrance of these ladies? With my pruners in hand to collect several lilac sprigs for a bouquet, I am off on the morning walk. I go down the hill, across the meadow and through the little woods. There they are–the sweet spring fragrance!  An armful of white, lavender and purple blossoms are quickly gathered. The cone-like blossoms smell so sweet. I can’t stop inhaling the amazing fragrance!

Lilac white

more fragrance  

More fragrant flowers are blooming this morning at Rose Cottage. I follow the sweet aroma of honey undertones in the air.

Honeysuckle White

The white honeysuckle are blooming all along the east side of Rose Cottage. Across the garden path, the rose honeysuckle are blooming, too. The pink honeysuckle fragrance is reminiscent of old roses, honey and raspberries. How dreamy!

Honeysuckle PInk

The unmistakable scent of bridal wreath fills the morning air. The bridal wreath is just starting to put on it’s snow-white gown!

Bridal wreath

Nearing the end of the morning walk, I stop by the fern garden. Here, ferns and hosta surround the boy and a bird with a broken-wing fountain. A soft southerly breeze parts some fern for a special surprise…lovely lily of the valley tucked underneath the fern fronds and hosta leaves.  It looks like a minature secret garden, doesn’t it? Ahhh…the fragrance of these sweet little lilies…isn’t it delightful?!

lily of the valley with fern and hosta 

morning memories

I am back at Rose Cottage, and bring in the armful of lilacs for casual arrangements in four vases around the house. Each stem is recut and then crushed to absorb as much water as possible. While lovely and over-the-top fragrant, lilacs do not last very long after picking. I plan to change the water tomorrow morning to extend their vase life.

The white lilac bouquet graces the 1880’s marble top dressing table in the powder room. Isn’t the lilac reflection amazing in the mirror? Other rooms have the lavender and purple bouquets. I would love to give you a bouquet, too!

Heavenly fragrance again fills the rooms, and brings back sweet memories. What fragrances bring back sweet memories for you?


Lilacs - White Powder Room 2


Lilacs living room 2

A bouquet of lily of the valley finds it’s way to the kitchen. The fragrance to be enjoyed throughout the day.

Lily of the Valley Close

Oh, I hear my sweetie coming down the stairs, and I switch on the espresso machine for his two cups of a quick “jump-start” to the morning. The sweet fragrances of an early May morning have already started my day out beautifully.

Good morning! Waffles and strawberries this morning? It is such a lovely morning…would you like breakfast on the porch? There is a fresh-picked lilac bouquet on the table on the south porch…isn’t it gorgeous?

Won’t you join us on the porch for waffles and strawberries, too?

Lilacs. False blue. White. Purple.

Colors of lilac.

Your great puffs of flowers

Are everywhere…[in this my Rose Cottage]

Lilacs in dooryards

Holding quiet conversations with the early morn.

Lilacs, watching…[our sweet cottage]…

Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom,

You are everywhere.

                                                                                                                     ~Amy Lowell

You may want to talk a morning walk over at The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts.

For more ideas about creating a beautiful life, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.


Filed under Gardening, Home, Uncategorized

39 responses to “Lovely Lilacs {sweet morning fragrances

  1. Francesco

    Ah, sweet fragrances and memories both present and past. I can visualize a cottage surronded by the lovely lilacs, and all the other flowers and flowering trees (as you described and shared photos in “Night Magic”)

    The words you have chosen so vividly present a picture it is just amazing. It is though I can see the Lilac, Bridal Wreath, Honeysuckle, and Lily of the Valley.

  2. Sonia/Miss Bloomers

    This is a beautiful post…I can just smell each of the fragrances of the flowers…I love lilacs and the honeysuckles are so sweet! Thanks for sharing your pictures! Miss Bloomers/Sonia

  3. Oh Debbykay,

    You brought back so many fond memories of my childhood. We had a few Lilac bushes where I grew up and each Spring (even as a child) I would pick a cluster to place in a vase in my Bedroom. I would place them on my nightstand so I could savor the fragrance. When I was 6 years old, I thought I would make my own lilac perfume.I figured if I “squished” the lilacs the liquid that was extracted I could use as perfume. Big mistake!

    We also had a huge Bridal Wreath and as a child always pictured myself carrying a bouquet of them at my wedding 🙂

    The Lilies of the Valley are so precious too! I am hoping to plant some of those along with some Honeysuckle this year.

    Thanks so much for sharing and have a most wonderful day! 🙂


    • debbykay

      Hi Sharon,

      What sweet memories you have of your fragrant spring flowering shrubs and flowers! I hope you are able to add honeysuckle and lily of the valley to your gardens this year. What a lovely treat you will have next spring!

      Thanks for stopping by Rose Cottage today!

  4. Edie

    Good Morning Sweet Sister of Mine~
    What a lovely post – I can just smell all of the spring flowers blooming and wish they could stay around weeks longer….

    It was so wonderful to spend some time together yesterday. I am a little recharged. I am hoping your joints are feeling better today.

    How is the packing going with the Awesome Son? I bet he can hardly focus with all the excitment of his travels abroad today! 🙂

    Hopefully you will have a few minutes to work on your article today! I can hardly wait for the issue to come out in print!

    I must get busy here… I will stop for tea and a little chat later…….

  5. Dear Debbykay,

    I hope you are doing well and taking good care of yourself! It was so wonderful to see a post from you! I always love to see what pretty things are blooming, and happening at your lovely Rose Cottage.

    My dear husband grew up in New Hampshire, and has such fond memories of the lilacs, and their fragrance, that surrounded his home. We have two lilacs in our front garden that we planted last year. They are growing very slowly, but in early spring we found the tiniest of blooms. I do not think our hot and humid climate is suited to them, but I am hopeful they will survive.

    I can just imagine, when you first found your Rose Cottage, all of the lilacs that had taken over! It is amazing they had grown so tall. I am sure I would have cried, too, when they had to be taken out. I am so glad you were able to save some clumps for replanting. They are so beautiful, and I am so thankful you shared such lovely photos so that I could enjoy them as well! The purple and white blooms are so lovely together! I can almost smell them! The white and rose honeysuckle and bridal’s breath are beautiful, and those lily of the valley are exquisite, sweet little things! You have such beautiful gardens, and I feel as if I was walking around your dear cottage with you! That would be wonderful indeed!

    The lilacs and lily of the valley are so lovely throughout your beautiful home! It is such a blessing to be able to bring those blooms indoors to enjoy their beauty and fragrance. Thank you for sharing such loveliness. I am always inspired by you to make my home a beautiful place for my dear ones.

    Waffles and strawberries sound delicious! I would love to join you and the lilacs for breakfast on the porch! As always, I enjoyed my visit with you! Thank you for sharing the beauty of your home life and your sweet spirit. I enjoyed the poems and your lovely writings and the beautiful photos!

    I hope you have a lovely week, dear friend!
    Love and kindest regards to you!

    P.S. Please do take all the time you need to share the hydrangeas in your flickr photos. I enjoyed looking at all of your wonderful photos! Your daughter was a beautiful bride and her bouquet was so lovely! Thank you sweet Debbykay!

  6. What a beautiful find!!

    Lilacs bring back such a flood of memories and the only thing missing was the actual smell… though if i close my eyes and really try I think i can drink in the aroma.

    Im so excited to find you… your photos are brilliant. “nice to meet you.”

    TTFN ~~ Claudia

    • debbykay


      Thank you for stopping by for a little visit in the gardens amongst the lilacs! I am so glad you found Rose Cottage, and I hope you will stop by often.

      Enjoy this lovely day in May!

  7. Thank you for visiting my blog….your images are amazing…i love lilacs and lily of the valley…such beautiful May flowers….white lilacs are one of my favorites.

    Hope you are enjoying your day!

  8. Delightful! I remember an old-fashioned bleeding heart planted at my grandmother’s front porch. Not much scent that I can remember, but it was the first place I ever saw a hummingbird. I was probably 6 or 7 years old and it is a treasured memory.

  9. Hi Debbykay! Beautiful post! Thanks for the poetry…loved the Walt Whitman! The sense of smell has the strongest connection to my memories and can bring them rocketing into the present as if they had just happened. I can still smell my grandmother’s front porch in the petunias I plant every year!! Thanks fo rthe visit…Debbie

    • debbykay

      The Whitman piece really captured the essence of lilacs, I think. Glad you liked it, too. Did your grandmother have a lot of hummingbirds visiting her petunias you planted? What a wonderful memory of time spent with your grandmother!

  10. Thanks for stopping by for a visit! I have several rose bushes and am not sure the names of all of them. One of the ones I had in my bouquet is possibly “Dream Come True”. I also may have picked “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Sorry that I’m not sure. I love all your flowering bushes. The only thing I can grow here is the honeysuckle. Our development has them growing on the slopes. I miss the lilac, bridal wreath and lily of the valley. But, we do have jasmine instead!

  11. What a nice surprise to visit you (a day after my mother’s 85th birthday) and see your gorgeous pictures of the flowers and bushes, many of which I see each spring at the farm where I grew up and where my mom still lives. She waits impatiently for spring each year so she can go outside and take care of the yard. Your photography is excellent. Any tips for a beginner?

  12. What a beautiful post, Debbykay. Reading about your bit of forgotten memory, brought back one of my own. When I was a young girl, I would spend part of my summer vacation with a favorite aunt. She had a lovely screened porch surrounded by mature lilac bushes…….the fragrance was amazing. A good book, a pitcher of lemonade, and the heady fragrance of lilac made my spring afternoons so special.

    Thanks for the lovely garden tour.

    Best Wishes,

    • debbykay


      I am just imagine sitting on the back porch, too! Thanks for sharing your lovely memory of your aunt. I think it is a good afternoon for a glass of lemonade. A visitor over my violet post said she adds violet syrup to her lemonade for a refreshing summertime drink. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

  13. J’adore their fragrance!!! C’est incredible!!!

  14. sue

    Hi Debbykay,
    What wonderful memories you have shared, I feel as though I was there enjoying those delightful fragrances too.
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories and flowers.

  15. Happy Outdoor Wednesday Debbykay! Me too! I always look forward to my fragrant blooms! Thanks for sharing your photos.~ Susan

  16. Great post. I enjoyed it so much. Now those lily of the valley plants were always on the side of my parents home. My Mom would pick them and put them into a little vase that I now have. As soon as I smell them I think of my Mom and I try to have some in her little vase on my kitchen window when they are in season. Oh and I also would have cried taking out the lilacs too.

    • debbykay


      Aren’t fragrant flowers amazing?! What wonderful way to warm memories of your mom–a fragrant bouquet on your window sill with a special vase!

  17. Debbie Kay, I just love all of your photographs. You did an outstanding job with them. Those lilacs are incredible. I’ve never seen them growing in the landscape as I don’t think they grow here in Florida or in other parts of the Deep South. Honeysuckle is another matter.

    One of my favorite scents is confederate jasmine. It is a vine with white flowers that have an amazing scent. That has become one of my all time favorites.

    Happy OW!


    Sheila 🙂

    • debbykay

      Hi Sheila,

      Thank you for your kind comments! The jasmine in Florida must be amazing–I can just image the fragrance that must fill the air when they are in bloom! Do you have gardenia, too?

  18. Crystal

    Hi Debbie Kay,
    Love those lilacs. The beauty of the blossom and fragrance that fills the air. I also have very fond memories from my childhood of picking these for bouquets and filling the house with the smell.

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Fantastic pics. I could almost smell them!

  20. I love those lilacs- they are beautiful. Where we live they are in full bloom everywhere! It’s an amazing sight and smell!

  21. I am so glad you came to pay a call and I could pay you one in return. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk along side you in and around your rose cottage. Your gardens are magnificent! I hope you do not mind if I drop in from time to time, I find it enchanting here.

    • debbykay

      Sandy, I hope that you will come again! It was so nice to have you stop for a visit. There will be more photos as the gardens grow! I look forward to another walk around the gardens.

  22. I adored this, made me feel like I could breathe deeply and inhale the loveliness!


  23. Lilac are so very beautiful. I carried a bouquet of white lilac and lily of the valley at my wedding. Your pictures are quite evocative.

    • debbykay

      White lilacs and lily of the valley—what a gorgeous bouquet you must have had at your wedding!! You must have been in “heaven” carrying such fragrances. Thank you for your kind comments about the pix!

  24. I adore flowers. They always make me feel so happy. Their beauty is amazing…. Have a lovely weekend!

  25. I love them… I have several of them in all colours. One stands just in my open porch. I pick 2 branches every Saturday serve as our home fragrance. But not too long as hubby is pollen allergic.

    The vase stands 1 in the front porch, 1 in back porch & in the stairs. Loving them!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    • debbykay

      Your home must smell divine! Do the lilacs bother your honey, too? Hope you enjoy a beautiful weekend with a lot of fragrant flowers!

  26. What lovely flowers Debbykay… I bet they are beautiful all over your home. My favorite flower of the moment is lily of the valley…. they are SO SO sweet.

    hope you have a great weekend! xo Heather

    • debbykay

      You are so right…lily of the valley has an amazing beauty and fragrance. But, they are so short-lived. Maybe, that is what makes them so special!

  27. I gathered wild lilac as a child- and to this day when I smell them- it still brings back that memory.

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