Thursday, November 12, 2009

Perfume Plant

Osmanthus fragrans-- my perfume plant

But before sharing this plant with you, I have some other thank yous to make.  Jo at The Good Life has given me the Best Blog Award.  I am honored. I just couldn't choose 15 of my favorite blogs as I have so many, so I won't be tagging anyone. But Jo is just great to have passed this award on. Kudos, Jo.

Also, I never thanked those who gave me the Honest Scrap Award. They were James at Garden Chronicles and Rosey at Dung Hoe.  I already answered this award here.  A big thank you to both of you.

Garden blogging is such a community affair, as you see from the awards we pass on to each other. That's one of the things that keeps us connected and having fun at blogging.

A question to my readers. I have changed the color of my font to make it easier to read against the black background. Especially those of you who have trouble with font on black, please let me know if this is easier on your eyes. This blog is for you to enjoy and I want to make it that way.

Now back to my perfume plant, Osmanthus fragans.

Blossoms of Osmanthus fragrans

It is such an understated plant to look at. Waxy leaves with slightly serrated edges.  An unformed bushy appearance.  But when it blooms noses turn toward it. Mine loves the cooler weather of autumn, winter and spring and is starting its blooming cycle. Just to walk past it is an mesmerizing experience. It smells like apricots and peaches, but more delicate and warm.

Can you call a fragrance warm? This one is. It envelopes me each time I come near. Evening is the best time to smell it at its height, as the cool air lets the perfume expand into the air. That part of my garden smells like osmanthus in the cool of the dusk.


Osmanthus blooms on the old part of the plant, often the woody part, as you can see in the photo above.  In researching this plant for this post, I just discovered this fact. I had pruned my Osmanthus late. Thus I'm getting lots of new green foliage, but no blossoms on this part. But this plant is so forgiving.  It is giving me lots of blooms on the unpruned branches.

I grow mine in a pot, as it can get large, up to 6 feet high! But this plant is so easy, it doesn't mind the pot. It just needs a little morning light and no direct afternoon light and it will give and give.

Osmanthus is from China, where it is beloved. It is also known as Sweet Olive or Fragrant Olive.  There this plant is used in teas, perfumes, cooking. There are even festivals held in China just for this plant in flower.  I received it from a Taiwanese neighbor as a gift. He told me it is used in more expensive perfumes. Perhaps some of our own favorite perfumes use Osmanthus as an ingredient.

A gentle spirit

An unassuming spirit

Speaking only with its scent

Caressing me with a soft embrace of
warm sweetness

You speak in dulcet tones

To those that will notice

Humbled in your presence

Watchful of your quiet voice

I receive from this sweet olive

The selfless gift of sensuality and love

It teaches me about the quiet gifts of life

Those that make no show

But offer me the sweet pleasure
of heavenly fragrance

Asking almost nothing in return

So few gifts come this way

How many plants do you have that are so easy, yet give so much?


Kiki said...

Beautiful poetry Mary!!I enjoyed that....soothing and enchanting words!Wonderful post! What a pretty plant..and it can get 6 ft tall?!Scent is such a precious gift..plants are truly amazing creeators! Lovely post!

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

I wish I could smell it, it sounds absolutely yummy!
I do not have any problems (yet) with reading on a black background, so I cannot tell you if it is better or not.

azplantlady said...

Well, it has many attributes that I love....fragrance, beauty, forgiving and easy to grow. Thank you for featuring such a great plant!

Bren said...

wonderful blossoms - thank you for sharing them with us!~

James Missier said...

The perfume plant look so much like a jasmine plant. Never seen like that one in my place.
It must be truly refreshing in the evenings.
You are most welcome & you really deserve the award.

Teresa said...

I can almost know what it smells like by your love of the plant and description. Very lovely.

Jo said...

Yes, it is so hard to choose just 15 blogs to pass the award on to as there are so many great blogs out there, but I did enjoy recognising the blogs I did pass the award on to so that the authors know that I love their blogs. This plant sounds wonderful. I'm always on the look out for plants which will grow well in containers as I don't have alot of ground space. A scented plant which will grow in a container is even better.

fairegarden said...

This is truly the perfume plant here as well, Mary. We have a row of them at the end of the knot garden along the chainlink fence. They were planted to hide the fence since they are the right size and evergreen. The fragrance is amazing when the conditions are just right. Sometimes it emits nothing at all. I don't know what triggers it. How fun to have it in a pot, where you can enjoy the scent up close whenever you want. :-)

vrtlarica said...

First of all - I have no problem reading your posts on black background... and if you have changed the font color, I dont remember what it was before - so it didnt bother me either then...

This is very pretty flower and Im sure it has lovely fragrance. Unfortunately, flower fragrance is something that you can just try to describe but until other person actualy smells it, the beauty cant be appreciated in full. So, I hope to see one of them soon so I can smell them!

Nell Jean said...

We call it Tea Olive, and old plants here sometimes grow much taller than 6 feet. I enjoy most that it is a fragrance not to be smelled up close with one's nose next the flowers, but to catch as if wafts across the garden.

I found it most difficult to propagate, so I still just have one plant.

Rosey Pollen said...

I learn so much when I read your blog! Thanks for sharing that poetry, you are multi-talented!

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I wish there was a virtual smell button I could press. I bet the scent is awesome!

Nell Jean said...

I forgot to mention the blog colors.

The color that is your blog post title color, kind of apricot, is easy for me to read on black. The yellow is second choice. If it were mine, I would keep that gorgeous BOP pic as the header and try to use the colors in it with a little softening, which looks like what you've done.

Black is so hard to get the text colors just right. The light green on your sidebar is good (the one that says Followers (42).

Eyes with different visual difficulties see things differently, so you may never be able to please all of us.

I made my background navy blue for Halloween so my spooky post would look as if it were in the night. It seemed a popular thing, so I left it for a while. I've changed again. I may never get it right.
Some of the colors are just hard to adjust, even with a HTML chart.

Amy said...

I love and enjoy the fragrant plants. I don't think I even have many that do...I love lilacs and gardenias. I guess I have overlooked a great quality.

Joanne said...

Sounds as is the perfume is well worth having not a plant I have come across perhaps we have some in our tropical houses somewhere.

Cottage Garden said...

I have come over from Jo at The Good Life to say hello ... your blog is great and I can see I may gain lots of inspiration here!
I love your osmanthus fragrans, what a wonderful gift from your neighbour.
My blog is not a gardening blog per se because I enjoy blogging about other things too, but I would love if you came over and said hello!
Would you mind if I add your blog to my Inspiring Blogs list?

Best wishes. Jeanne

Wendy said...

I wish I could enjoy the fragrance! I love the photos of this delicate little flower blooming on old wood. It's so pretty.

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