Plants & Gardens Blog

Wow, What’s That Smell?

Walk into the Warm Temperate Pavilion this week and not only will you see a plethora of colorful flowers, you will also be treated to some aromatherapy. Among the most fragrant specimens now in bloom are the myrtle-leaved citrus (Citrus myrtifolia), which is also producing beautiful (though inedible) oranges, the lemony scented, yellow-flowered genista; and the fragrant olive (Osmanthus fragrans), which features small, white flowers that smell not at all like olives, but like sweet apricots.

At least 25 different plants are in bloom in the pavilion now, which is at its peak since so many plants from warm temperate regions like to blossom during the climate’s mild winter. Be sure to look for the ‘Mandela’s Gold’ bird-of-paradise flower (Strelitzia reginae ‘Mandela's Gold’), which is blooming for its first year since curator Karla Chandler raised it from seed in 2006.

Sarah Schmidt is a former editor of BBG's digital editorial content and the Guides for a Greener Planet handbook series.

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Image, top of page: Elizabeth Peters