Where they grow…

“Stop and smell the roses,” they say.

Roses are pretty when there are a lot of them. Like most chocolate desserts, they aren’t tempting enough with just a little bit of chocolate in it….but if you put a lot of chocolate in it, then I might want some. I say this because I have a killer chocolate cake recipe that I entered in a county fair a few years back. (Give me a few weeks and I’ll have that recipe online with pictures next time I make it!) It has so much chocolate and chocolate-enhancing ingredients in it that I basically never want anyone else’s chocolate-anything. (And America uses way too much sugar in everything, which gives me headaches, so mine is less sweet; more chocolate.)

When you combine many rose bushes together, the mass of color makes an impact. One or two bushes scattered around doesn’t seem that appealing to me.

But roses smell a bit nauseating. And they have thorns. And they are hard to take care of. But these…..I would take these any day over roses.

Lavender and Roman Chamomile….They live next to each other in my garden, on the southwest corner of my house. For some reason this spot has been good for them. The farmer told me our climate usually killed off these plants. It might be too wet for the lavender. It might be too cold for the chamomile. But they have made it through several winters without me doing much to them….and they thrive.

The lavender smells fresher than any bottle of lavender oil you could ever find. It is sturdy and stocky and withstands the stormy Midwest weather. When you touch it, the parts of the plant feel orderly and solid. When dried, it looks very similar to fresh stalks.

The chamomile smells complex….it is earthy and fruity and sweet at the same time. The smell is really indescribable other than that. It is sprawling, sending out roots along the ground wherever it touches. It wilts a bit when it is hot and requires more watering than the lavender. When you try to touch it, it falls away from your hand. Its feathery leaves release their scent at the slightest movement, happy to give you a brief moment of bliss.

Where they grow together is what makes me happiest. The textures and the oils of each plant combine to make what might be one of the most heavenly scents on Earth. They don’t fight or compete for the space, but they intermingle and keep doing their thing. They complement each other and live in peace.

Sometimes I go out to my garden specifically to smell them. I might not have much time right now to keep the vegetable half of my garden going, but these are my babies. I kneel by these plants and clear the weeds from them. I make sure the mulch is tidy around them and water the gentle chamomile if it looks wilted. My hand brushes each one, and the section where they mingle. For those few minutes, it seems like everything in this world is at peace.

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