A Scent of Spring

I have posted a couple of times recently about the colours and scents of spring.

I can pinpoint these colours and scents because I encounter them every year: they form a constant and reassuring pattern and framework to life.

But there are other even more evocative scents outside this familiar cycle. Just this weekend I have had the joyful experience of walking past wallflowers in full bloom: a very rare encounter for me these days.

The scent of the wallflower is powerful, peppery and spicy. It instantly takes me back to a time in the sixties when it seemed to grow in every garden in our neighborhood. It is one of the most nostalgic scents I know, and yet I hardly ever smell it these days. Have wallflowers simply fallen out of fashion?

The wallflower is not a particularly beautiful plant. I find the colours a bit garish, and it has a somewhat stiff appearance best suited to public park bedding arrangements. But I can forgive all of that for the scent. I like the way it transports me back to an innocent time of quiet suburbs, politeness, and the sun shining all day long.

No photograph for me can evoke nostalgia like the scent of the wallflower.


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