Monday, February 5, 2007

Make A Wish


Last night, as I went to bed, I glanced at the clock and it said 11:11. "Make a wish," I thought to myself, and I immediately remembered the day when I first heard that. I was in the car with Kara and Jenna and one of them said, "11:11, make a wish."

Huh?

I don't recall now where they said the superstition originated, but from that moment on, every time I see a clock read 11:11, I think of the girls. They would probably be a bit disappointed to know that I don't actually make a wish, but I'm betting they'll forgive me once they know it makes me think of them.

I love things like this that make us think of other things and other people. It might be a song, a sight, a sound, a smell...

Aromatherapy is big business. It is said that lavender is calming and the fragrance of roses is an aphrodisiac, which is probably how the tradition of sending roses on Valentine's Day got started. Some noses are especially astute at discerning smells, and mine is one of them. Even after a year, our nose can recall a fragrance with 65% accuracy.

How many of us associate a certain smell with a certain person? When I smell Elizabeth Arden's Red Door perfume, I think of my mom. And when I smell sawdust, I think of my dad and picture him working away in his woodworking shop.

A cat's sense of smell is fourteen times as acute as a human's. They use smell to find their food as well as a mate. They sniff out enemies and other cats that have invaded their territory. They are among a few animals that have Jacobson's Organ, which is located in the roof of their mouth. When you sometimes see your cat appear to smile, with its mouth slightly open, they are using their Jacobson's Organ to sniff the air. Snakes have it, too.

There are those flowers in my garden that are especially fragrant and I look forward to the days when those are in bloom. First comes the honeysuckle. We have a whole trellis full of it and you can smell that from several yards away if you're downwind from it. If we're lucky, it will bloom in the spring and then again a couple of months later.

Then there is the Oriental Lily 'Muscadet.' Oh, how intoxicating it is! There were many days last summer when I had to wipe the pollen from my face because I had my nose buried in it. Not that I would have needed to get that close to smell it, but it was like the siren's song and drew me in.

The one that took me by surprise was the Peacock Orchid (Acidanthera). I had these planted in a large clay pot by the pool house and every time I would round the corner and go by them, I'd get a whiff of this heavenly fragrance. It was so subtle that it took me a time or two to figure out where it was coming from. After that, I was compelled to stop and have a sniff each time I passed by. They aren't hardy in our zone, so I have to bring them in for the winter, but they're every bit worth the extra effort required.

Some things don't smell good. Like the marigolds, for instance. I have never liked the smell of those, and while it has been said that some insects don't like how it smells either, there is no proof that its scent repels them. However, peppermint deters ants, garlic helps keep Japanese beetles away, and borage is said to discourage tomato hornworm. Come to think of it, I had borage in the garden this year, right next to the tomatoes and we didn't have any hornworms like we usually do. (Actually, we usually have the tobacco hornworm, which is nearly identical in appearance to the tomato hornworm. You can tell the difference by the number of stripes and the color of their horns. Tomato= 8, black. Tobacco= 7, red. No matter - they both can do lots of damage.)

Another thing to note about the hornworms - if you ever come across one and it has little white things hanging off it, leave them. Parasitic wasps lay eggs on the hornworm and the larvae feed on it. When the wasps eventually hatch, they search for other hornworms to parasitize.

Now how did we get from 11:11 to hornworms?


3 comments:

Dave Richards said...

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Yolanda Elizabet said...

Great post! Smells and scents are so important, not everybody realises that.

I don't want to have any roses in my garden that don't produce (even a little bit of) a lovely scent.

Yikes those hornworms are scary! How big do they get? Do they eat anything in sight?

Kylee said...

Hornworms are about three inches in length (about 7.6 centimeters) and they can strip a tomato plant in no time! Notice in the picture I posted that half of that green tomato is gone. Lots of leaves gone, too. I grew this tomato plant in a pot on my porch two summers ago, and how that thing found it, I'll never know.

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