Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Smells Like Home to Me

I went to a local nursery the other day with a mission. 


“Honeysuckle?” you may ask.  And I would tell you again.  Honeysuckle.

I love honeysuckle.  I love the way it grows wild along the roads in North Carolina.  I love the way it perfumes the air.  I love the way I caught a whiff of it every time I pulled into my driveway in the summer.  One day 2 summers ago when Russ and I were out driving the back country roads in the convertible I brought scissors.  We stopped at a particularly large growth of honeysuckle and I cut a few pieces off, then brought them home to root.  My plan was to establish some honeysuckle below the screened porch, so that we would be able to smell it when we sat out there on a warm summer’s eve.

My little honeysuckle plant was growing well in it’s pot when I found out that Russ had lost his job.  I don’t even know what I did with it—it was one of the fatalities of the craziness of moving—but I know it made my heart sad.


I was surprised when we were in Utah last summer to see honeysuckle growing somewhere.  Not all wild and invasive like in NC, but on purpose like someone had bought the plant and planted it in their yard.  An idea started in my head…that maybe one day I would be able to have a honeysuckle plant in my someday yard in Oregon.

And so I went to the nursery, hoping that when I said “honeysuckle” they wouldn’t look at me like I was crazy.

Instead the woman walked me back to a table filled with plants and then listed off all of the types of honeysuckle they had.  I’ll bet they had half a dozen!  I picked the one that smelled like the honeysuckle I remembered (though it had pretty variegated leaves instead of the plain green I knew then) and brought it home with me. 


I’m not sure yet where I’ll put it, but it has to be somewhere that I’ll smell it well and often.

On my way out of the nursery I glimpsed something else that seemed familiar.  Glossy green leaves and a small creamy flower.


I turned to the woman from the nursery.  “You don’t have gardenias, do you???”  I asked her.  “Sure,” she told me.  “They’re frost-proof.”

Clearly I had to have that one too.  So now it’s sitting in a pot on my bridge, blooming nicely.  I’m not convinced yet that that’s the best-smelling place to put it—but we will see.


Hopefully my neighbors won’t think I’m odd as I walk around my front yard sniffing and sniffing.  They won’t know how exciting the smells of home are to me…


  1. During World War II my father was in North Africa and was oh so homesick. He would go for walks and said that one night he could just feel home - over a couple of weeks he realized that every time he went on a certain route he would think about NC more than any other time. He started looking around on this now favorite route and finally saw an officers house with honeysuckle climbing up a wall. Naturally that became his favorite route - and I have honeysuckle growing up my deck because it reminds me of him! Ah the Proustian olfactory memories! Linda Rich

  2. Isn't it funny how closely smell and memory are linked? Now if we could just find you a magnolia tree you would be all set:).