Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crisp mornings bring perfumed air.

It has been a week of contrasting weather patterns (rain; cold, strong winds; warm balmy weather; more rain; more winds; and this morning crystal clear skies with no breeze at all). So, I was pleasantly surprised when, this morning, I woke to a crystal clear sky, a light frost, and a sweet perfume hanging in the air.

I am talking about natural aromas, here, not Chanel No 5!

The local Sassafras trees are in full flower (as you have seen recently). They have a sweet, light perfume. Not particularly distinctively scented - unlike their leaves, which remind me of Mandarin rind when peeled. But that scent is only noticeable when the leaves are crushed - it does not travel - unlike the trees' sweet floral perfume.

Some of my Wattles are starting to bloom, as well. These are not endemic species, but garden plants, such as Acacia decurrens, which is the earlier flowerer of my two species of ferny leafed, tall wattles.
Acacia decurrens flowers are sweetly scented.
The other similar tall ferny-leafed Wattle which I grow, A. mearnsii flowers in late October, in Robertson.
Close-up of Acacia decurrens flowers.

When I came in for my regular shift at the local Community Technology Centre (where I just answer the phone and help people get onto the Net - nothing too technical, I can assure you) I was greeted with the sweet scent of the creamy Jonquils known (for some reason) as "Straws".
Their official name is Narcissus tazetta var italicus - so "Straws" is easier. These have a sweet perfume which can be a bit over-powering inside a house. But when outside, with the perfume wafting around on the fresh air, the scent is truly delicious - to my nose. This is all the more satisfying, as I planted these flowers, several years ago, when the CTC was newly built.
The "cup" of the Jonquil is how it earns its Latin name "tazetta",
meaning "Little Cup".
Another CTC volunteer at the time, "Boney" helped me rescue these plants, and many others from an old garden in Robertson where the house was due to be demolished. If his partner BJ is reading this in Western Australia, Hi from Robbo! You're in that linked picture too.

Although the Jonquils were really obvious, I realised while photographing them that there was another, even sweeter perfume on the air. It comes from the beautifully named Lonicera fragrantissima. I am sure all my readers can work out what that means. The first name means it is a Honeysuckle. But if you need a clue the "issima" ending on a plant name acts as a superlative - so it means "most" or "very". So, "fragrantissima" - its not hard is it? So, if you are familiar with the sweet smell of a honeysuckle vine scrambling over your neighbour's fence - then imagine how sweet this one is.
Honey Bee in the Honeysuckle flower
It is a Honeysuckle, but not one of those invasive straggling vines. This is a dense shrub. I love this plant for the reason of what it does on days like today. For the rest of the year I have to stop people from wanting to chop it down - for it looks dull and has stiff stems and hard leathery leaves. A most unattractive shrub, visually.

But today I took all the visitors to the CTC outside to stand in the sun and be bathed in the sweet aroma emanating from this plant. I know we are far from Spring, but today, the plants seem not to know that.


mick said...

Nothing quite like early spring flowers perfuming the air. As usual the close-up photos are exquisite.

Junior Lepid said...

Hello Denis,

Love my jonquils! I have the pure white and the yellow with the orange cup.

Yesterday, after my fungi hunt, I decided to pluck a small patch of capeweed from one of my lawns - it's almost eradicated!! I have clumps of the white jonquils planted everywhere, but those I was enjoying are planted round my almond. It made a rather mundane job quite enjoyable as I took in their perfume.

Scent from wattle, violets and daphne are also adding to the delight of wandering around the garden here.

Love this time of year!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick and JL
I am constantly amazed how so many people are unaware of perfumes. Nature is amazing, but people are now so "removed" from nature that we scarcely notice.
Dogs and Moths and Bees are far more in tune with Nature than we humans are.
We are big on social contacts, but not much good on the natural environment.
We have lost so much.
Maybe that's what sets Nature Bloggers apart from the MOB, the ability to notice what is happening around about us.
Glad you both appreciate these "little things" as I do.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Denis - it is always worthwhile to take time to 'smell the roses' or whatever is in season. A simple pleasure too often forgotten these days.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Barbara
Very poetic of you.
So many things are forgotten or lost in our craze for being modern and technical and everything else.