Saturday, 28 January 2012

Daphne and friends

On our kitchen table sits a white jug, a small, white jug about three inches high. I think we found it in a junk shop and bought it for small change. It doesn't sit on the table all the time, only when there are a few flowers to go in it. It makes a very good flower vase for small posies. At present it is holding a few shoots I cut from the daphne in the garden. I'm told the scent hits you when you open the kitchen door, but I have to bury my nose in the flowers to appreciate the scent.

If my eyesight were as poor as my sense of smell I would be registered blind. This is not something that bothers me and I'm not looking for sympathy (I don't suppose I would get it anyway) - just stating a fact. Although this is something I have lived with all my life, many people assumed that smoking was the cause. I haven't smoked now for 6.. 7.. nearly 8 months and although there might have been just a small improvement it's certainly not as though I have thrown open the shutters and let the sunlight flood into the room! This olfactory shortcoming has both advantages and disadvantages. For instance, if the dog rolls in something obnoxious while we are out, I don't notice the horrible small in the car or at home. On the other hand, I only know the toast is burning when I see the smoke. My wife learned early in our relationship that her use of perfume had no effect on me.

Despite what I wrote in that last paragraph, there are some times when scents do get through to me. Occasionally, when we are going out for the evening I will catch a whiff of perfume in the car. Some scents are more likely than others to get through the blockage. Lavender is one of the best.

It could have been twenty years ago that I noticed a delightful scent coming from the border in front of the drawing room window at my cousin's farm. A small shrub was the source, a small shrub with rather plain, pink flowers. With four petals laid out like a miniature star, up to about a dozen of these small blooms clustered together in various places around the plant. This was daphne; daphne odora to be exact. We visit the farm each Easter and the shrub blooms in March so we were treated to the scent most years. After several years we decided to plant a daphne in our garden. None of our local garden centres were able to help but I eventually, by sheer chance, located a grower in Scotland and placed an order. The plant he despatched failed to arrive and a second was sent, wherupon two turned up. I asked the grower what he wanted me to do and he told me to plant both, which I did, in large tubs as we understood that these plants are not lovers of chalky soils like ours. That was a good few years ago now and although one of the plants has since died, the other is going strong. I cut a few pieces last weekend when the buds were still quite tight but the warmth of the house has them coming out fast.

After the daphne is over the small, white jug will be washed and put back in the cupboard until the lily of the valley is ready. We have a lot of that in the garden so I always pick a bunch to have in the kitchen even though I don't get the full benefit. The Old Bat likes it, though. Later, in the summer, the jug will be used again - for sweet peas.

And so this olfactorily-challenged, inadequate gardener tries to keep the kitchen smelling sweet through the spring and summer. I don't always succeed, but daphne never lets me down.

4 comments:

The Broad said...

As a result of your post, I've looked it up via Google and discovered that the Telegraph Garden Shop is offering a plant, which I may very well order. Sounds a good one for the area outside our front door.

Brighton Pensioner said...

May you have good luck with it if you do order, as I have.

Stephen Hayes said...

I also have a very poor sense of smell. I think my nose is too small. My nose is the only organ I wish was bigger. Well, there might be one other....

Buck said...

I haven't smoked now for 6.. 7.. nearly 8 months and although there might have been just a small improvement...

I'm coming up on being quit for six years and haven't noticed any appreciable improvement in my olfactory sense(s). "Quit," meaning cigarettes... I still burn a cigar (occasionally two) every day. But I can and DO notice perfume on the wimmen-folk, though.