A wedding guest in the Peirce Celebration Garden might catch an enticing aroma while watching the happy couple exchange their wedding vows. This garden features many summer blooms and one in particular adds a special scent to enhance the season.
As you enter the Garden, the distinctive fragrance of Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) is immediately encountered. This small deciduous shrub is found in swampy woodlands, along streambanks and in shady areas from Maine to Florida and west to Texas. Its ability to flower well in shade and its tolerance of wet soils makes Clethra a valuable addition to landscapes that may have challenging conditions. The sweet fragrance wafts through the summer air in late July to September in southwestern Pennsylvania. In fall, the leaves turn a beautiful yellow and the attractive dark brown seed heads persist into winter and beyond. Flowers are usually white, but there are cultivars with pink flowers as well. This shrub is very beneficial to pollinators. Consider adding this native gem to your own landscape.
If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate scents into your garden design, join Mark Miller as he presents Fragrant Plants, on August 25, at 6 pm. Click here for more details and visit the Garden Calendar of Events to see additional courses in the Adult Lecture Series as well as other programs, workshops and wellness classes for adults and children.
– Dr. Mark Miller, Education Director