Poetry Friday!  Please visit Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone and enjoy all of the Poetry Friday fun!


It’s that time of year!

When I ride my bike through the woods from mid-July through mid-August, I am fortunate to pass through clouds of fragrant perfume from this flowering bush. I think it may be called Summersweet or Sweet Pepperbush (Google Lens identifies it as clethra alnifolia). It smells wonderful, vaguely of Prell shampoo (for those of you who recall Prell from childhood!).

Summer Sweetness


Licorice, pepper,

gardenia and spice.

What is this flower?

It’s not Edelweiss.


Bumblebees drawn in

by scents that entice.

This is the bloom

that’s become my new vice.


  • Oh, I love that this bush's scent has been a regular companion on your summer bike rides!  Heard something on NPR the other day about how we do not take in enough different smells throughout our day, but doing so helps keep our brains sharp.  So, you're onto something.  And I DO remember Prell shampoo - and its flourescent green container! Thanks for sharing. 
  • What a delightful flowering bush for you to encounter regularly! I planted a sweetspire which seems to have similar flower spikes, but mine hasn't made a noticeable smell yet. (I am interested in what Robyn says about taking in different smells to keep our brains sharp. Huh!)
    • I hadn't heard of sweetspire, so I looked it up.  It does look very similar!  I wonder why it doesn't smell as much - with a name like sweetspire, you'd expect it to have a little perfume kick!
  • I know I've smelled Prell before, but I can't bring the smell to mind. We're grocery shopping tonight, and if Prell is on the shelves, I'm opening one to sniff :>D I love the specific things you named as far as scents--smells are so hard to describe!
    • I had to order a bottle on Amazon last summer. It didn't come in the toothpaste tube like it used to, but it was the same gardenia smell.  I had forgotten that it also is very strong a strips everything from your hair, so I have been using it on our dog. She smells lovely - except on her nose, which STILL smells like skunk!
  • It's a great song/rhyme, paying attention and appreciating the new fragrance you've discovered and not only writing about it but noticing it! I remember Prell, too, but not the smell anymore. I did some research and some gardeners called it pepperbush, summersweet. Thanks, Tracey, love learning about this and reading your poem, one that must be read aloud.
  • I like your poem and the feeling it evokes of a cloud of scent. It brought to mind the honeysuckle bushes in my childhood neighborhood. Also a sweet-smelling cloud of scent. I like the question and especially the response that popped up… it’s not edelweiss! And I remember Prell!
  • Never heard of Summersweet, but what a delight to have a sweet smelling bush grace your trail with "gardenia and spice." 
  • Tracey, how fun! I remember Prell shampoo with the pearl dropping, but we didn't have it, so I don't remember the smell. But that is cool how your brain has connected the two. I'm glad you get to enjoy those "clouds of fragrant perfume"-- a lovely addition to a bike ride. 
  • Oh, what a treat to regularly cycle through a cloud of scent! (A positive scent, that is! lol) I'm fascinated by the information that Robyn shared-- that sniffing scents is actually good for our brains. Who knew?! Our garden has been especially fragrant this summer and I'm not sure why...more humidity? Even the UPS man got out of his truck and exclaimed, "Wow! It smells wonderful here!" I guess I'll just breathe deeply (through my nose) and be thankful. Enjoy your ride!
  • I miss these things to much after summer. The scent of the greenery is wonderful. Prell? How interesting! I used to love that shampoo...haven't thought about it in years!

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