This article was published in 2014, in Newsletter 113.
I’d been wondering for some years now, as I cycled across Midsummer Common in the summer, where the lovely smell was coming from as I cycled past the houses on North Terrace and then as I approached the crossing over Maids Causeway. I finally worked out that it seemed to be coming from a couple of trees on the Common. So one day last summer I remembered my tree book, and from its description of ‘groups of small, scented, yellow, five-petalled flowers in July, hanging on long stalks’, together with the leaf shape, concluded they must be common limes.
There is one near the corner of North Terrace and Brunswick Terrace, and another near the crossing. More encouragingly for my future commutes, several of the new trees planted a couple of years back also seem to be common limes, so the lovely experience of this fragrance can only improve in years to come.
I don’t think any car drivers will have had the pleasure of noticing this lovely perfume, nor had the opportunity to stop and see what plant is associated with it. Now summer is nearly here, a reminder that you too have an advantage and can hopefully find something new and pleasing, whether an attractive plant or or a singing bird.