Okay, so picking just one is a little difficult -- how could I possibly choose the heady perfume of a gardenia over the sensual scent of jasmine or the gloriously shy blues of morning glories?? It's an impossible task.
And don't even get me started on cherry blossoms.
However, there is one flower that has the exuberance I love, coupled with a delicious scent AND that looks good even when it's not in the bloom. My friends, allow me to introduce you to the peony:
Gorgeous, isn't she?
Named after Pæon, a physician to the gods who obtained the plant on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo, the peony is among the longest-used flowers in ornamental culture and, along with the plum blossom, is a traditional floral symbol of China. In Japan, its called "The King of Flowers" (peonies are clearly "shes" in my book but whatever) and its root is used as a treatment for convulsions. Mischievous nymphs are said to hide in its petals.
For so showy a flower, it's suprisingly hardy and thrives outdoors in northern climes. It's on the top of my list for my future garden. For now, I have to satisfy my peony yen with clippings and trips to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.