common heliotrope / cherry pie plant
Heliotropium arborescens (aka Heliotropium peruvianum)
Thanks to Nature of a Man, I now have the ID of this fragrant shrub that I've been admiring for years. Years! It surprises me that online descriptions say it smells like vanilla or freshly baked cherry pie. Mmm, maybe it has some vanilla notes, but not the fake candle stuff. I can't say I know from experience what freshly baked cherry pie smells like, and I'm at a loss for words to adequately describe its heavenly scent. I just know I like it. I want it for my dream garden.
I double-checked the Cooper Store's index-carded photos, which were made in 1995, and this common heliotrope is not included. Most of the Garden's plants were apparently installed in 1987-1988 to add to the existing historic roses and fruit trees. I figure this bush was planted sometime after the cards were made. My guess is this variety might hail from San Marcos Growers (linked in the scientific name above - they have a good, thorough description) because of its unusually large 6 ft. tall bushy shape. Most of the common heliotropes I found online are shorter with deep purple flowers and darker leaves. It's funny how garden plants seem to go in and out of fashion. I prefer this lighter and airer shrub. It's a total butterfly, bee, and lazy lepidopterist magnet.