Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's blooming now?

It’s getting into warmer weather here, up in the high 90’s every day this week, with our first triple digit prediction of 105f (41c) forecast for Sunday. With the higher temps many of the flowering plants around are either putting out their blooms before drying up or have just finished flowering. On my walk to work from where I park are some highly scented flowers that always remind me of Spring. Along the lot where our new convention center will eventually go is a strip between the fence and the sidewalk. This is filled with prostrate Rosemary and some white flowering plant that is very sweet in the mornings. Don’t know what it is called, but it is really nice walking in and having this scent come up on the breeze. Jammie thinks that flower is a sweet olive; looking at web sites it seems to match, I’ll have to check the next time we’re at the nursery. Thanks J! If you walk close to the plants then you can get a whiff of the rosemary.

The scent from those is most noticeable in the morning, when it is cooler and there is less of a breeze to disburse the fragrance, and brightens the start of my day. Instead of walking from my car just thinking about things I am struck by how sweet they are and look at the plants and the things going on around me. I was talking with B about how scents can trigger memories, often producing flashbacks that are more realistic than just trying to remember a past time. Our daughter was just back in San Francisco to relive a bit of her past and go to a Grateful Dead concert once again, and she said that what she noticed most about the bay area was the smell of the eucalyptus (which doesn’t grow up in Portland where she is now) along with car exhaust. B said her most vivid memory was when she visited her grandmother and heard some doves outside the bathroom window, and remembered all the times she brushed her hair there listening to the cooing. I guess there are memory triggers inside all of us, just waiting for the right thing to set them off.

Another non-native that does well here with sufficient watering is the white jasmine. It is a rambling vine, often used as a ground cover or trained up a fence. These flowers are also sweet smelling. Here they are along the wall of the big RHC next door; mixed with some tall flower and I think the only magnolia trees in Vegas (not doing well at all, probably too dry for them). These I notice most on my lunchtime walks, it seems that the heat of midday brings out the scents in these.

A few years ago we converted our front yard (and most of the back) from grass and high water requirement plants to desert landscape with low water trees and bushes. We planted about twenty trees, some of them flowering and all of them adapted to our hot weather. We have a corner lot, and out on the corner we put in a sweet acacia that becomes a big yellow ball. It’s five years old and about fifteen feet high.

And if the wind doesn’t blow all the dry blooms away we have a nice faded yellow carpet underneath.

There is a very light scent to the flowers, but it’s more the yellow that stands out.

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