02 July 2010

My New Favorite Tree

At the very end of May--actually, while participating in Bike the Drive--I began to notice a really intriguing, almost tropical smell outside. I thought I might have smelled something like it in Hawaii, or at least Southern California.

After a week's investigation, I traced the smell to a particular, large old tree with yellowish flowers. Something tickled my memory. When we first moved into our house in Columbus, we asked a landscaper for advice about shade trees. He suggested the linden--he said the flowers had a nice mild scent. As it turned out, there were no lindens at the local nursery. We were told they were not often available--sort of out of style, though they had been very popular at one time.

Hmm...nice-smelling, big old shade tree. Looked up the linden on Wikipedia, and my mystery was solved. Of course, once I identified it, I saw and smelled the trees everywhere. When we visited our friends in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last weekend, there was one in their yard, just beginning to bloom, not yet releasing its scent (the season starts later that far north).

Here, though, the tantalizing aroma is about gone (Wikipedia notes June as the month for smelling lindens, and that's certainly true in Chicago), but the trees are still laden with bees.

Collecting nectar for linden-blossom honey, no doubt.