Why Do Flowers Smell?

It’s all about the birds and the bees…and some other bugs and bats. Flowers give off different scents designed to attract the specific pollinator that will ensure the proliferation of its species.

Some smell lovely and invite pretty pollinators like hummingbirds and bees.

Others, such as Rafflesia arnoldii the largest flower in the world send out the wafting scent of rotting meat with undertones of feces. Mmmmm. While not the bloom of choice for the centerpiece on a dining room table, it succeeds in attracting the proper pollinators. In this case flies and beetles that enjoy laying their eggs in rotting carcasses or feces!

The largest flower in the world is the Rafflesia arnoldii growing up to one meter (three feet) across and weighing up to 6.8 kilograms (15 pounds). It smells awful, but it works.

Enjoy tequila? Or using Agave as a sugar substitute? Give thanks to bats! These underappreciated pollinators (and voracious mosquito eaters) are responsible for pollinating agave which is used to make both tequila and the popular sugar substitute. Agave blossoms lure bats in by blooming at night and giving off a smell similar to rotting fruit.

It takes all kinds of scents and pollinators to make the earth the wondrous place it is and if you are lucky enough to have a garden what a wonderful opportunity to be a part of it all!

 

Creating a scented garden is not only a delight for the olfactory senses, it adds value to your garden experience by attracting pollinators. As if breathing in the rich, natural, perfume of blossoms isn’t reward enough, there is nothing more relaxing than working in a garden while watching the lazy flutter of a butterfly, listening to the hum of bees or watching hummingbirds dart about like winged jewels. Knowing you helped create the perfumed smorgasbord only makes it all the more beautiful.

 

The Best (and Quickest) Way to Thin Seedlings and Harvest Greens!

Thinning seedlings–whether in the garden or in pots–is a painstaking process. Make it simple by using scissors instead. It’s like giving your garden a haircut!

Using a pair of clean garden scissors to lop off the tops of plants seeded too closely together not only quickens the task of thinning, but also ensures the roots of the plants you’re keeping aren’t disrupted by pulling up plants around them.

With greens, such as lettuce, garden scissors are once again the tool of choice. Create a “Cut and Come Again” garden of greens by snipping off the tops for a fresh salad, while leaving enough leaves to start the growing process over again. When harvested in this way it is possible to get three or four cutting harvests instead of just one!

Herb Scissors are also an excellent tool for harvesting sprigs from your herb garden.

You could say great gardeners get snippy with their gardens!!! But you probably won’t because that’s a groaner of a pun. My apologies.

I can’t leave on that note, so here are a couple of pictures of a fabulous garden I saw while on a garden tour a couple of years ago.