Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Fragrance of Life

Hello, Sandra Orchard here.

I live in Niagara, Canada, where let's just say the weather has been unusual this year. But one great side effect has been less bugs eating what few plants actually grew. Or so I thought. When I spotted this guy in our garden, I remembered a post I wrote a few years ago for my own blog and thought I'd share it here today.
Scent is a powerful thing. The slightest whiff of a particular scent can rouse memories you haven’t thought about in years, evoking unexpected emotions. The fragrance of my mom’s favorite hand lotion will bring memories of her flooding back to me. 
For others the smell of oil might take them back to their first car, or a day spent with their dad working on the old jalopey. The smell of leather might remind you of that cool guy you dated in twelfth grade. 
Since I write romantic suspense, you’re probably thinking–-fragrances…romance…I know where she’s going with this. Trust me when I say…probably not. 
Do you have Japanese beetles where you live? 
They’re quite attractive, with shiny green and bronze shield-like backs. But destructive! Think plague of locusts.
I knew we had to take action when the leaves on my linden turned to lacy skeletons and began falling in mid-June, a full three months too soon. 
When the beetles, migrated to my bean plants, we declared all out war.  
We discovered a nifty way to catch these beetles without using pesticides. You hang a plastic bag, like the one in the picture, upwind from the infestation and place a pouch of female beetle pheromones inside. 
Instantly, hundreds of beetles lifted from our bean plants, and swarmed to the source of the scent.
Wow, that was one powerful fragrance. 
It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?"
A humbling thought, isn’t it?  
When I catch myself acting not so fragrant, I think of that swarm of beetles and how very much I want to be the fragrance of life to those around me. How about you?

Today’s smile: 

This is Bella, my connoisseur-of-hubcaps pup. (you'll have to click the link for that story)

She felt sorry for all those Japanese beetles doped up on pheromones. After all dogs have an acute sense of smell. So… she liberated them! 
Yup, it’s true. As my daughter told my husband, “You had to know that was going to happen.” 
Have a fragrant week!  

Your Turn: 

What fragrance rouses the most powerful memories or emotions for you?

Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning Canadian author of inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries with Love Inspired Suspense and Revell. An active member in ACFW, The Word Guild, and RWA, she enjoys helping writers hone their skills. To find out more about her novels, and to read interesting bonus features, please visit or connect at 


  1. Unlike Niagara, Vancouver Island, where I live, has had endless heat and sunshine this summer. The result is an over-abundance in my garden. My freezer is full, my preserve shelves are full and there is still fruit falling from the trees. Hence, I decided not to make blackberry jam this year. The blackberries grow wild on every fence line and are delicious, but I don't have any more room! Yet, every morning as I bicycle past a patch where the berries are hanging lush and dewy, I smell the aroma of ripe blackberries and wonder if I shouldn't reconsider. Fortunately, when I get home and see the mountains of plums and apples awaiting my attention, the feeling passes. Still, the scent is enticing.

    1. Mmm, sounds wonderful. We had only a few plums mature this year and the apples and tender fruit crops are all low, due to weather mostly. But we have a bumper crop of zucchini and green beans. Not very fragrant, but healthy. ;)

  2. Eucalyptus leaves after rain. Love it. Takes me back to childhood excursions in the Australian bush.

    1. Sounds fabulous, Rita, and a smell I'm not at all familiar with.

  3. The sense of smell is one of the most evocative, I think. It can take us back years all at once. For me, the smell of old books makes me think of studying in the basement of our Uni library back in the early 90s.

    1. Oh, yes, Paula, just your mention of that brought back all sorts of similar memories for me.

  4. I enjoyed your story about the beetles and . Hong Kong's main insect is the cockroach. When I manage to squash one, the smell it leaves behind is not pleasant.

  5. Amazing how destructive such a beautiful little creature can be, Sandra. Thank you for sharing it and also the way you solved it.

    Gardenias always take me back to my childhood. We had a tree that lined our footpath to the front door.

    And the post-rain fragrance & mowed lawns in summer is always invigorating.