"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Leaf of the Day: Sample and Sniff in the Gardens and the Heliconia again

Blogs have their limitations don't they? There are some things about my experiences in the garden that I just can't share with you. The heady scents for one. Today it was the gorgeous White Champaca, the exquisite Chinese Perfume bush, and the Gingers. Crush the leaves of any of the Bay Rum trees between your finger and you will have a peppery nose clearing thrill. There are Camphor trees, the narcotic Angels Trumpets, fragrant Camelias and Frangipanis, Roses and the lovely Sweet Osmanthus. I have found a Star Anise tree whose little pods are still green at the moment and you can scratch, sniff and sample your way round the herb garden, with the Parsley, the Thymes, the Arugula and the amazingly sweet Sweetleaf herb which I had never seen before.
It may raise the odd eyebrow as you are casually grazing on the plants but those who don't are missing some interesting experiences. You have to go about this with caution though. As I have said before there are probably more things in the garden that will kill you than cure you. But today, furthering my unofficial research for the possible "Eat you way round the Garden" guide for Leu and with Pedro's expert help I sampled a few more "edibles". I tried the tiny Strawberry Guava Psidium cattleianum and the Natal plum Carissa macrocarpa. You have to be careful with the Strawberry Guava as the very red and tempting ones often contain little worms as demonstrated somewhat gleefully by Pedro..I was not quite so keen after that, but they do taste good. The Natal Plum was Ok, slightly bitter but a beautiful deep red colour inside. I have brought back a green regular guava which I hope will ripen at home and is currently scenting the whole house..just wonderful.
My work today was interrupted by an exciting 4 hour loss of power due to the failure of the transformer which sits outside our apartment. Three large trucks and six large men arrived to replace it encouraged by all the locals who, not having any television to watch, re-lived the old days of community spirit. However I did manage to finish the heliconia, which I had just sketched before. It's a bigger piece than usual 20 inches across, and has been sitting on a drawing board half done for over a week. I had to complete it without the plant, which is not at all ideal but it had finally given up the ghost in the fridge. This was another experiment with a different paper (this time NOT surface), because next week I have to start 7 coloured flower heads...as always there are some good and some not so good aspects to it .. but it's all about practice.

________________________________________________

Heliconia Clinophila


2 comments:

Threadspider said...

If only they would invent smellyblog! I SO enjoyed the description of the scents of the plants. It reminds me of the bay grapes that grow on Bermuda, where my in laws lived for a long time.I spent a glorious University vacation there with my husband to be smelling similar scents as we worked on his dissertation.

sharp green pencil said...

Hi there.. those scents would have helped the flow of the dissertation quite a bit! I linger quite a long time around those sweet smelling flowers at Leu. In the spring it was the citrus blossoms which transported me back to Andalucia and the miles of orange groves.. heavenly. The guava is still smelling lovley on the kitchen work top.