Monday, October 31, 2016

Where have they gone?

 Boronia megastigma, or Brown Boronia, is a small shrub native to southwestern Western Australia occurring from Perth to Albany. Boronia megastigma grows to less than a metre. It has small leaves and small cup-shaped flowers, which occur in spring.
 Boronia - Australian Bush Flower Essences. This is the Essence for resolving obsessions - thoughts, events, things or ideas which are stuck. It leads to clarity and focus. It combines wonderfully with ...Daphne

 Daphne is a genus of between 50 and 95 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to Asia, Europe and north Africa. They are noted for their scented flowers and poisonous berries.  I love the pink variety but my mother in law had a white Daphne which was more strongly scented.

 The gardenia, a native of China, has been cultivated for over a thousand years. Planter John Ellis introduced the lovely flowering shrub to colonial America in 1761, following an Asian trip. Named for his friend, Dr. Garden, a Charleston physician, the bloom became a favorite for corsages because of its intense fragrance.  I love the curled petals but the fragrance knocks my sinuses for a loop if I'm exposed for too long.

Memories of these blooms came back to me yesterday when the wind blew the orange blossoms in my back door along with half the apple blossoms.  When we first moved here, 40 years ago, it was all native garden fashion and the delicate Pampas Grass which grew into the humungous house sized bush that in some cases took a 4x4 to drag it out.  It was quite entertaining watching the neighbours sweating it out.  Being the crap gardener I still am, I waited for the wind to blow everybody's grass seeds onto my bare sandy front and back yard, worked a treat. I didn't plant gum trees, I knew how big and how fast they grew so it was sycamores, golden elms and acers which were pruned down every Autumn.  

I did grow a Walnut from scratch and citrus trees  loved the place.  You will notice I don't mention flowering plants, a complete bust except for geraniums and ivy.  I remember one Saturday afternoon when an enterprising bloke drove round the streets towing a trailer full of boronia plants.  We all managed to buy at least one and the perfume was out of this world.  None lasted too long especially in the garden of death I had.  One neighbour had a yellow boronia by the front door and the perfume would go right through the house. She pulled it up and threw it in the bin because she wanted something more fashionable for the times, a bit like the poodle perm she sported. 

So when I wander round and look at the Sunday photo blogs, I never see any of those plants above.
My mother in law had them all. Mum had boronias.  So where have they gone?  It wasn't like Mum and M-i-L were mad gardeners, they just stuck in a branch of something and it would grow. One had sandy soil, the other had clay.  My theory is they grew because the two of them thieved every plant that took their eye when walking.  It was, "you have a cuppa and we'll take the baby for a walk", walk and steal from both sides of the street. The pram would come back loaded with looted goodies and I never knew them to be without a paperbag and scissors in their handbags.

I have one success, a patch of violets is flourishing under the shade of the apple tree but I have to flag it in case the new mowerman does them in.  At the moment the quote is $150 to cut the grass but I'll have to draw a map to show him where the traps are. The land might look level but there are holes everywhere where trees were cut down but it cost too much to drill out the stumps.  But there are ways, Buddha is still sitting on the Blue Spruce and every years the snowflakes flower around him.
A bowl of water sits in the place where the walnut came down and a bowl sits over the grapefruit stump which is slowly crumbling away.  That was the best way, a pot plant over the stump with another on top with a geranium.   Very bad Feng Shui to have stumps in the yard especially when I'm paying for the mowing.  I hate breaking in a new mower and I've put it off for too long but I hoped Eric the mower would be okay but the cancer has advanced too far and he will not be here again.
Mick the mower is also Mick the pruner and he'll be getting a lot of work in that direction as well.

It will be the end of my morning delight of watching the cat leaping over the wet grass to get to the poop patch.


Elephant's Child said...

I wish I could grow boronia, daphne or gardenias. I have a brown thumb for them all.
And how I remember the plant thievery. My mother was so professional about it she had secateurs in her handbag.

River said...

I read something about brown boronias a long time ago, their native habittat is WA and they don't do so well in other areas and something about it being illegal to remove them from WA. my memory on this is very vague and I could have it wrong.
Perhaps the growers just want to keep them where they can harvest for the perfumeries or something.
Anyway, I did have one once, bought from a nursery, followed all the instructions and it died in a month :(
I think I was living, can't remember where. Too long ago.
I've seen quite a few gardenias here in Adelaide.

River said...

P.S. there is a daphne growing here in the grounds, it's quite large and I featured it on the blog once.

Andrew said...

We had all three in one garden, but the boronia did not last long. My grandmother had a boronia that survived for years and it was the best scented boronia I have ever smelt.

JahTeh said...

El Chi, secateurs definitely means a professional snipper. I don't think they have ever managed to get the scent of Boronia into perfume form. I always look up the components of my perfumes and have never found Boronia or Daphne. Anything with Gardenia is instant headache.

River, sandy soil is apparently the secret and they flourish in W.A. You must try to snip a bit of that daphne, they do grow from cuttings.

Bloody show off, Andrew. I bet your grandmother's plant was a yellow one. I have to make do with the scent of the orange blossom, no wonder the old time brides wore it in their hair, it's lovely. How was it in the Highrise Sunday night? I thought of you as my windows at ground level crashed and banged.