What’s Blooming: Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana).I wish I could convey how wonderful this flower smells. My sweetbay is a large shrub growing in the understory, loaded this year with hundreds of buds. Only three have blossomed so far, but even so, those few flowers completely infuse the air with the blended scents of lemon and vanilla. It smells the way a lemon cupcake with butter-cream icing tastes. Delectable.