Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Tea Olives

There are a lot of things I like about living in the Deep South. Yeah, it gets hot in the summer, and humid. But what we call Winter is downright pleasant. It's a rare day I need more than a lightweight jacket, and even then I usually don't need it in the afternoon.

I love the long growing season. I moved here from Kentucky where there's not much happening in the garden from November to March. Here in Athens, GA there is something blooming just about all the time. I have early and late season camellias that together, bloom from November to April. My hellebores typically bloom in December, with the flowers lasting well into March.

The biggest difference between here and other places I've lived are the wonderful fragrances. My absolute favorite is blooming right now. Everywhere you go the air is heavy with the fragrance of tea olives (Osmanthus fragrans). I have half a dozen planted on the side of my house. It's a delightful fragrance and I've never met anyone who felt that it was overpowering.

My tea olives bloom just about all year. I hear that Spring is the main blooming season, but mine are covered with tiny white flowers right now. If they do bloom as much in Spring, for some reason the fragrance isn't as noticeable. If I look I can usually find a couple of flowers throughout the summer, but not enough to notice.

There are very few things I enjoy more than the smell of tea olives. That's why today, I'm taking a break from being...

The Crotchety Old Man

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