Last week took us by surprise. We had been cruising along at Spring temperatures for a month or so, when a cold front moved through and dropped a bit of snow on us over the weekend. We can have freezes up until mid-April in central Oklahoma, but the recent warm temperatures had tricked all sorts of plants into sprouting a little earlier than usual. Saturday morning I took pictures of our tulips topped in snow. That may happen elsewhere, but it hadn't happened here to my recollection.
Sunday morning was back to usual, with the sun shining and an afternoon high temperature of 65F. Walking out to the car I noticed a wonderful fragrance of something blooming. I looked around, trying to figure out what it could be. The tulips are without scent and nothing else is really blooming right now. The saucer magnolia was too far from where I was when I smelled the scent. I mentioned it to my wife and she said she could faintly smell it.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Our red berry holly bush (Ilex cornuta) in the front flowerbed"][/caption]
I walked in and out of the house several more times before I pinpointed the location. There were bees swarming around me as I walked down the sidewalk by the holly bush. I must confess that I wasn't a big fan of the holly bush in our front flower bed for quite a while. I trimmed it up in to a nice shape a couple of years ago and now it is kind of nice, especially with its red berries that seem to be there year-round. It is an evergreen-and-red bush. The leaves on this bush are downright vicious, especially once they dry out and turn brown. You want to wear thick gloves when picking those up.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Bee at work on the holly bush blooms"][/caption]
I had never really paid much attention to the bush as it changes throughout the year. I really had no idea that it blooms. It's amazing how many things I miss and how the bees take notice to these same things.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="A couple more bees at work"][/caption]
The blooms are not showy, nothing really to look at. But, man, they really smell good! I was surprised by this. And the bush was just covered with bees. I even saw a couple of flies on several of the clusters of blooms.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Fly at work on the holly blooms"][/caption]
Later in the day, my wife and I noticed that you could smell the bush from our front porch, about 15 feet away. I'm not surprised that I missed this blooming event in past years, but I can't imagine how I missed the smell as I walked by. This is definitely an event I will anticipate next year.