It’s blooming…. As soon as I walked out the door I caught the fragrance. Osmanthus fragrans, known in the south as ‘ ‘Tea Olive’.
Tiny but abundant cream coloured blossoms emit the most remarkable and penetrating fragrance.
This is a beautiful, pest free, evergreen shrub that matures at 10 to 15 feet, and blooms TWICE a year; fall & spring.
To quote Dirr* “to not try the plant is to cheat one’s garden.” I so agree, and cannot recall a garden design where this plant was not included. It also makes a remarkable evergreen hedge.
This spring, at the suggestion of my friend Marsha, I acquired a new selection (Osmanthus aurantiacus) that blooms only once in the autumn, and the flowers are ‘pale orange’.
It’s hard to say how fragrant it is because I have Osmanthus fragrans planted much like Margaret Moseley* advised with gardenias, every 25-30 feet or so ,where an evergreen was required and the conditions are favorable, so the entire garden is permeated with the fragrance. I have followed her advice on this with almost every fragrant shrub in the garden. Something you might want to try if there is a fragrance you are particularly fond of.
I don’t take lightly any advice given by a 95-year-old gardener. Clearly she has much more experience than I.
*Dirr, Michael, Renowned woody plant expert. Author of the textbook A MANUAL OF WOODY LANDSCAPE PLANTS.
*Margaret Moseley, famous Atlanta Gardener.