Thursday, 21 June 2007

Scented Flowers

Those of you that know me, have probably realized that this is my favourite plant.
It is the Odontodenia vine. Indigenous to South America, the delicately scented, salmony-yellow bells hang in clusters from a woody, vigourous vine that has leaves not unlike those of the cocoa tree. If you are lucky it will develop pods (which it did for me once) and you can plant the seeds. I have had no luck growing it by cuttings but we have succeeded by seed. I can take no credit for this as Sandy Gibson , whose forte is really orchids but also includes anything that grows, put his attention to this and figured out the ingenious solution. The seeds emerge from the pod with large airy filaments but the seeds appear too heavy to fly. Hmmmm. Sandy logically thought that they may have been designed to float down jungle rivers (like the Amazon). So the seeds were soaked for about a week (they became quite waterlogged and heavy) and then planted in sandy pro-mix. Bingo and Eureka!! Success. I recently did an article on the Fragant Garden and discovered when researching this plant, that it is showing promise as a potential cytotoxic agent in the fight against ovarian cancer. It is currently under research . Isn't that amazing?
Scented flowers are the magic of a garden. Whether subtle or overpowering they add character to our outdoor rooms . The Datura below is powerful and almost hypnotic . The trumpet shaped bells are so perfectly formed, you just know that they serve some crucial role in fairy land!White begonia or "bread and cheese" as it is ubiquitously known throughout the islands is also deliciously fragrant especially in the morning. The perfume is very delicate and clean smelling.

Rangoon Creeper is a robust climber that often has white, pink and red blooms at the same time. When it is in full bloom, it tends to throw its perfume at dawn and dusk. This photo is not one of mine, it is taken by Michelle Jorsling.
I had to include Garlic Vine because it too is scented. Unfortunately, the unmistakeable smell is very garlic-y. Hence the name. It is Sooo pretty that it's easy to excuse the pungency.
Another beauty Cattleya Mari Song is not just exquisite looking, it is also delicately perfumed. This is another of Michelle's photos.