Blooming Broad Beans

100_3703 smI walked past the garden on my way to the compost pile two days ago, and smelled what has become one of my favourite smells of spring.

It is sickly-sweet, and the first time I smelled it, I thought it was disgusting.

It is the smell of blooming broad beans. And I have grown to love it as a harbinger of spring.

My garden isn’t the only place smelling like an overwrought florist’s shop. Local farmers grow huge fields of broad beans, and the smell wafts into the open windows of the car as I drive by.

Unfortunately, the first blossoms are a tease. They attract primarily bumble bees in the very early weeks of spring. The bumble bees steal nectar by chewing through the base of the flower, and don’t actually pollinate the flower. I won’t get beans from these early flowers.

Later, once the honey bees are fully active, we’ll start seeing the first little beans begin to lengthen. Until then, we’ll have to make do with the smell.

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