The scent reached me when I was in the pool today and I thought, ‘This is too strong for summer jasmine’.
Sure enough there was one half-opened flower on the magnolia tree.
Bear in mind that one tree with only a handful of blooms can perfume an entire street.
It must be one of the strongest flower fragrances there are – imagine creamy lily-of-the-valley with a twist of orange.
I love the translucent white petticoat inside the earthier outer-skirt and the way the form of the flower shines through.
The scent from a particular kind of small-flowered broom wafts up in great waves from the magic valley to the house – an all-enveloping, extremely pleasant blend of pineapple and orange.
Giovanni, emerging like a moving tree from the undergrowth, is taking a bundle of branches and brushwood through the midst of the yellow-flowered bushes to the bonfire site.
A strong, sweet, slightly powdery scent greeted me in the garden. I tracked it down to the blossom covering the holly tree.
After taking multiple photos trying to catch the bees as they crawled over the blooms, it was only when I downloaded my shots that the stink bug revealed itself.
A more polite name for it is shield bug, after the shape, but ‘stink’ describes what it produces when frightened or squashed.
Last Christmas, when Clive was in hospital in France and I was on my own in Italy, I bought a rose-scented candle to keep me company.
This Christmas, although we’re back together, I lit the candle again.
Every time I come into the room, the scent envelops me – not faint and delicate like the perfume of the roses which still persist in the garden, but rich, creamy and heady.
The flame, flickering in my peripheral vision, adds to the feeling of cosiness.
We have a big candle painted with Nativity scenes on the other side of the room, and a freesia-scented candle to take over when this one’s finished, but this is the romantic one.
Intuitively, Chokri strimmed round this plant in the middle of the path knowing I would want to preserve it.
Its leaves are highly aromatic but not with the usual sharp, clean, rosemary-like scent of so many Mediterranean plants.
And the flowers smell pungent, peppery, strange.
I looked it up first in my flower book and then online.
Eureka! That’s what it smells like! Curry!
Which is why it’s called the curry plant.
It has nothing to do with making curry, but the oil from its blossoms does have plenty of medicinal uses.
It’s also claimed to be a cat deterrent!
If the gurus of perfume manufacture haven’t used wallflowers yet, they ought to.
Wallflowers must have the sweetest, strongest, least cloying of all scents in the garden.
I suppose the connotations are unfortunate.
Imagine a new fragrance being marketed ‘scent of wallflower’. It would hardly be the most popular thing to buy for a party!
The flower isn’t shy and retiring in any of its habits, though, least of all the colours in its petals.
Galileo is in a very typical posture in the photo – nose down, following a scent.
Being from truffle-hunting ancestors, I guess he must have an extraordinarily powerful sense of smell.
He’s still very nervous of strangers. When someone comes he slips into some inaccessible corner and sits there with eyes as big as saucers.
Today I took him for his first little outing to try and get him used to the world.
He walked with me, on his lead, the short distance from where we were parked to the bank.
The bank teller, a friendly young man, spotted him through the window when I picked him up and was crooning over him before I’d even negotiated the security turnstile.
He reached across and touched Galileo, who then spent the rest of the visit cowering in the footwell of the counter.
It might just have been that Galileo knew he was retracing his steps, but it seemed to me that he had more confidence on the return walk.
He certainly didn’t do my image any harm in the bank!