Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chimonanthus praecox, Wintersweet

Sunny and warm today but there was a big wind. I lowered the wind chimes for the season. The notes were clear but, in place of the pleasantly calming tones of the summer, was a crashing cacophony as though a cadre of super vampires were preparing to drain a nunnery while the cavalry frantically fought their way over a mountain and through a raging torrent; they had to come down. Hangng below a pulley on aircraft cable, they weigh around 40 pounds, so I just undo the cable from the huge screw-eye on the tree and they lower themselves to the ground where they live for the balance of winter and most of early spring. Usually. This year the tree grew around the cable so I had to chisel a bit of bark away. I sprinkled some sulfur powder on the wound though I don't think I even hit the cambium. It's oddly quiet now but I'll get used to it.

This is about as early as I've seen this Chimonanthus flowering heavily. We've had some cool weather but only a few nights dipped below freezing and then not much below. It must not need much vernalization. The wind was so strong that the fragrance from hundreds of flowers was barely detectable but when I brought a couple shoots into the house...It's a wonderful smell.

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