Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sweet Tea Olive - Osmanthus fragrans

    It's super sweet perfume is almost like a gardenia, yet light & crisp, with floral notes of citrus, melon and it's not your favorite wine.  This is the Sweet Tea Olive, osmanthus fragrans, my all time #1 favorite scent in the garden.  Now this scent isn't for everyone... it's almost indescribable but once you smell it you'll never forget it.  The first time I smelled one of these rare South Florida beauties, I searched high & low to find one.  Ok, so one wasn't enough, I now have three, hee hee.   The small flowers are a wedding dress white, with soft supple petals that grow in clusters all over the shrub.  My sweet tea olive's bloom all year round; one day there is nothing and the next a "scent-sational" surprise, lol!  It's truly amazing how these little flowers can really pack a punch in the scent department.  Now the shrub on the other hand is very demure, modest and slow growing by nature.  Some use the awful word "leggy" though I like to say "long limbed" when describing this shrub.   Unless the sweet tea olive is in bloom, it is usually overlooked in the garden.  It's best used within the landscape rather than a stand-alone show piece.  They can be planted in full sun or part sun/part shade with well drained soil but needs regular watering or the leaf tips will burn brown & the foliage will drop.  Sweet tea olive is sure to sooth every gardener and passer-by with it's aromatherapy.

One of my three sweet tea olive's in
full bloom right now.
A closer view of the open upright growing
habit of the sweet tea olive. 
The sweet tea olive's flower clusters have
a super "scent-sational" aroma that fills the
air and perfumes the brain.
The flowers grow right on the branch.
This is another one of my sweet tea olive's
& it has a completely different character
& growing habit than the other two, but
none-the-less blooms like crazy, go figure!
This little sweet tea olive is my first one I
bought.  Turns out for the same price as the others
two & they are twice the size.  The more available
plants become the prices become more affordable. :)
    As I sit here in my home office writing the finale to this blog, the deliciously sweet scent is wafting in through the open windows making a wonderful Saturday morning.  Happy Gardening Everyone!!! xoxo

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