Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Fragrant Flowers

Tonight is the 6th anniversary of 9/11. All that I can offer is what comforts and reminds me that there is still remarkable beauty amidst all the ugliness in the world.

Following are excerpts from an article on Fragrant Flowers that I had done earlier in the year. As a whole, it is one of my favorite pieces. The photos are by Michelle Jorsling who does such amazing work.

The song of scent is the same all over the world. Evocative and primal, it speaks to our deepest soul, conjuring up moods and memories long forgotten. And nowhere is it sung louder than the recesses of the tropical garden. In the milky light of pre-dawn morning and at the magical dusk hour, the choruses are in harmony, dipping and swooping in a medley of sweet overtones, musky notes, and even an occasional bite of bitter to round off the balance. And for every siren call, there is an answering suitor.

Coffee Arabica

I had planted three Arabica coffee trees high on the hill behind the Flamboyant tree. The first time they burst into flower I was overjoyed. Inadvertently it seems that I had discovered one of the best kept secrets of the gardening world. It took me some time to find the source of the intoxicating smell wafting through my early morning garden but there they were, spiky bursts of china-white against the deep shiny green leaves. All in full bloom. The flowers do not last but make up for their short lives with an exquisite biting perfume.

Cattleya Wendy Patterson
Deep in the rainforest, scented orchids can be found swaying high in the canopy. Vanilla pods are, in fact, the seed pods of a particular species of climbing orchid (Vanilla planifolia) found in warmer climates

Gardenia Jasminoides Variegata
By sending out a deliciously fragranced morse-code, the flower can exert a powerful pull and thereby ensure life. It is also why white flowers are often odorous with sweet, musky notes, ensuring that they are “seen” by pollinators.
Cattleya Gaskelliana

Quisqualis indica (rangoon creeper)

Gardenia Tubeferia Kula
Cattleya Mari Song (very fragrant)

A garden fragrant with subtle perfume is not complete without the addition of at least one or two scented orchids. Many varieties send forth multiple sprays of fragrant blooms that last for several weeks. Perhaps the best known specimens are the large, blowsy Cattleyas with their vivid range of striking colours. They are often seen with contrasting colours on the tubular, fringed lip. Less well known, but no less beautiful, are Oncidiums such as the popular Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance' with its distinct chocolate smell and the Dendrobiums (one of the largest orchid genera), well recognized for their popularity in the cut flower market.

Datura Mollis (Brugmansia)

Spathoglottis ungiculta or fragrant ground orchid (smells like grapes)

The power of smell has uncanny power to move us. Even the most subtle whiff can bring back a plethora of memory and emotion

Strophantus Gratus

Anise, bay leaf, bergamot, cardamom, cedar wood, eucalyptus, gardenia, geranium, iris, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lilac, lily of the valley, moss, neroli, orange, patchouli, pine, raspberry, rose, sage, sandalwood, tuberose, vanilla, vertiver and ylang-ylang- each bearing your personalized script. If you had to smell happiness, which one would it be?