Friday, February 18, 2011

A scented escape

Chimonanthus praecox, also called Japanese allspice or fragrant wintersweet tree; its waxy, white flowers with burgundy eyes emit a spicy perfume.*
I've been chasing a story that seems to escape every time I think I'm getting nearer. Instead of pressing myself in front of the white screen, I fled to the Washington Park Arboretum, hoping to find an opening or at least some fresh inspiration. Instead, I captured portraits of some fragrant, winter-flowering shrubs that were generously spreading around their uplifting scent of spring. So I'm happy, even if still no closer to my teasingly evasive story...
The evergreen Himalayan Sarcococca, Sarcococca hookeriana var. 'Humilis'; taking in just one twig fills the room with its wonderful fragrance.
Winter honeysuckle, Lonicera standishii, originates from China. Like most honeysuckles, it is highly perfumed, but flowers in mid-winter. This photo does its own tricks; the twig should be horizontal with the flowers hanging...
Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, opens its sunny, bright flowers before its leaves emerge, just as its Latin name indicates. Also highly scented, it is hardy and tolerates pretty much any type of soil.
An unidentified witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia, is one of my favorites. I love its soft scent that I think is a mixture of honey and lemon.
Winter hazel, Corylopsis spicata, comes from the woodlands of Japan and is related to the witch hazels. Its hanging, greenish yellow flowers emerge from bare branches in early February and continue to bloom until late April, forming an excellent background to small spring bulbs, Hellebores and other early bulbs and perennials. It has a very delicate, honey-like scent.


Ruben said...

Ditt besök vid arboretumet lönade sig!! Chimonanthus ser ju helt fantastisk ut, när man kommer så här nära, men kanske är blommorna mindre än jag inbillar mig? Den enda av dessa växter jag kände till var trollhasseln.
Ser fram emot din gäckande berättelse, du skriver alltid så trevligt!!
Ha det gott!

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Hej Ruben, blommorna på Chimonanthus är verkligen rätt små, bara 2 cm långa... men vilken doft! Vissa typer av Chimonanthus ska kunna trivas vid Stockholmstrakter, så jag tänkte att ta reda på dem och kanske försöka ta skott med mig nästa gång jag kommer dit. Vilket flyttlass jag har redan, och jag vet inte ens när jag kommer tillbaka än! Ha det bra, Liisa.