Come early July
…….in England and not before, these Gulf blooms will be ready.
Once in high summer, Wisley Gardens in Surrey, England I smelt this flower and had not experienced anything quite like it. Its intense perfume is the call of the exotic. If a flower ever wished to compete with a rose in its perfection, fragrance and then empress status in its gigantic blooms, this must surely be it. One becomes locked in attention to its sheer magnificence.
Thornless, waxy and evergreen, able to reach for the sky with inaccessibly high blooms and frustratingly visible, the flower will be just out of reach. With majesty and grace it is unapologetic “Look, admire, but you may not touch!”
After seeing a few trees in full bloom in Paris exactly this time last year, I was amazed to find a member of flora royalty gracing a small corner garden in my local neighbourhood, but so grateful I had caught sight of it. A grand gesture for a simple house with a garden defined by a washing line of clothes and a neat rainbow collection of pegs. This tree was left to a life to look over the garden wall.
I have been watching this tree for 2 days.
Friday I passed, and saw how on a day of cloud, this closed bud was not at all ready to socialise. I thought it would take another few days to open. Yesterday morning it was tight shut, but by afternoon, little did I know to its intentions.
After the nights thunderous rain and awaiting for the sunlight to become stronger, the blend of that watering and humidity, and that blossom had burst open.
Sunday, the mid morning’s warm air on the back of my neck moved my footsteps towards the tree, beckoning me to observe its progress once again. Of course it would only perform to ‘open’ in the right circumstances. One could hear the silent thoughts:
“…do not have illusions of grandeur if you can not live up to them, the weather and light must be absolutely right….”
Just a few hours earlier when the light had been unsure, everything was held in delicate balance. Unless the sky was going to clear and the sun to shine its brightest, for all flora to be seen, Magnolia Grandiflora is not just going to flower in its own company. It might be independent, but it begs maximum attention to justify expending its immense energy. Such is this resource one to make a wise investment, or risk a waste for fragrance to be lost in mediocrity. Its scent perfumes are beyond the power of any other flower.
Today’s Saharan warmth had done its job, travelling across continents, it had followed its southern beauty to waft its intense, sweet balminess from the perfect white cup into the world around it.
Few will ever care to look, or view upwards within such a modest brick wall habitat to see where such a rich aroma will be originating. Such is the clever wisdom to keep one’s riches hidden, only on view for those who wish to see it. This must be one true floral statement in omniscience. It knows, sees and has everything.