Yes, Ligustrum Joy

Yes, dear friends, I actually adore the scent of ligustrum. I know, I know, so many people, well, just about everyone I meet, hates it. Even my husband dislikes it, poor man. One Alabama master gardener said, “Most of us don’t want it to get started in our yards.” I thought: “Well.” More on my love for ligustrum at the end, should you care to go that far.

First my grandmother’s rose– Second year of being transplanted from Oklahoma.  When dug from the ground, it broke into three plants. Good Lord, they had so little roots! Look at them now!

I first moved a small, although nearly 50 year old, anemic bush from the family home in NC, and took it to Oklahoma, where I actually prayed over it. The plant flourished, and I started a number of new ones from the Old Grandmother. Now three plants, they live even more happily in Alabama. It is a cabbage rose of unknown origin, with a very old-rose scent that for me is something of a drug producing peace and tranquility of soul.

We have two banana shrubs. I call them trees. They exude a heady fragrance that can bowl you over if you are too close to them, but which is seductive when wafting through the yard.

Banana shrub is of the magnolia family.

Below is a yellow-orange rhododendron. I’m grateful to someone on Twitter for giving me the name. What a delightful fragrance!

The yellow rhododendron is native to Alabama.

And now, ta-da– ligustrum has come in bloom!

Wild ligustrum. The black spot is a fat bee feeding on the blossoms at sunset.

Blossoms on the large cultivated shrub/tree ligustrum, also called privet.

Ligustrum is a great gift in my life. I adore the waxy leaves of the cultivated shrub–also a tree, imho and experience. The wild variety has pretty, delicate leaves. And the scent is for me like some sort of feel-good drug, kindling great joy inside. I think I may associate it with happy times of walking around my grandmother’s neighborhood in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I just feel so darn happy when I smell ligustrum.

No one knew how much I loved ligustrum. My husband knew I liked it, and he planted two hedges of it for me out in Oklahoma, on the plain, no less. I thought I was leaving those hedges behind. We had bought our Alabama house in the winter, and I really did not know what large ligustrum looked like; I only knew the plant by it’s fragrance.

At midnight on May 3, 2009, we pulled into the moonlit driveway of our new Alabama home. We stepped out of our trucks and were hit by perfectly still humid summer air heavy with a familiar sultry scent. I was flabbergasted. I kept saying, “Ohmygosh, ligustrum! ohmygosh!”

The next morning at dawn, I ventured barefoot into the back yard and discovered that all the thick tall shrubs lining our back yard and providing the wonderful privacy were ligustrum!

The only one who knew how much the ligustrum meant to me was God. It was a very special gift, signifying this place as just for me.

Thanks to Carol of  May Dreams Gardens, who so generously hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day the 15th of each month. Visit her site and see the many other participants and their  wonderful photos.



ps: I met another woman yesterday who loves the scent of ligustrum! She does the same as I, steps outside and inhales deeply, with an, “Ahhh.”

5 thoughts on “Yes, Ligustrum Joy

  1. I love outdoor fragrances of spring. Here it is locust trees blooming–some people hate it– or lilacs. In Arizona it was orange blossom and I loved being surrounded by it when walking down the street, not know who’s yard it was coming from. Right now the scent of hyacinths sweetens my front door. Happy spring to you CurtissAnn!


  2. Dearest Rosebud, You are too sweet my friend. I don’t know that I’ve ever smelled ligustrum, but I’ll take your word for its charm. I think it’s all about your grandmother myself. You loved her so. Love you.~~Dee


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