29 November 2011

My Brassavola nodosa bloomed today


After three years of utterly bizarre winters, my favorite orchid bloomed today. Mercifully, I have a blog to take note of such things because the last time it bloomed I wrote about it. That was on 20 December 2008.

Even though the climate's not changing and even though it's in the same spot where it's been for the last ten years, my prized orchid hasn't bloomed in three years. My bromeliads haven't bloomed since then either, bit that's a topic for another post.

There was a time when B. nodosa bloomed like clockwork the week before Christmas. It was always the same, year after year and it was always there perfuming the air for my annual Christmas Eve dinner.

Here's how I described it three years ago:
I think yesterday was the worst day in human history. I swear, people formed a line for the chance to be mean to me. Horrible day. Horrible day! I came home late and paced and growled like a caged animal. I went out onto my patio and something happened to make all of that drift away.
I walked out the door and stepped into a cloud of the most delightful fragrance on the planet. My Brassavola nodosa is in bloom and nothing I've ever encountered comes close to the scent of these otherwise nondescript white and green flowers. B. nodosa blooms in the winter here and it's fragrant only on warmer, wind-free nights. Last night was one such night. I stood under a waning gibbous moon and inhaled a scent of such complexity I had to sit down to process it. It's almost as if it's a combination of the blossom of a key lime with a flutter of vanilla and a black pepper end note. If I stand farther away, it's kind of caramelly and chocolatish with a whiff of nutmeg thrown in. At mid range it's a buttery jasmine with a hint of damson plum. Man, I could spend an hour circling the thing and inhaling, dreaming of moonlit nights in exotic lands. Ahhh. One good whiff and I was transported to a cliff side terrace in Grenada, a balcony in old Rangoon or a moonlit night in the same highlands of southern Mexico where B. nodosa originated.
Having a bad day? Stick your nose in a blooming Brassavola nodosa and it won't matter anymore.
Three years ago something strange happened. We had a frost and then a few days later we had an actual freeze. It was the first time this part of Florida had recorded a freeze. Ever. Two years ago we had three more frosts and last year we had a frost and another freeze. My orchids live outside and even though they made it through the cold temperatures, their internal clocks have been thrown off significantly.

So B. nodosa may be a couple of weeks early, and it may have only mustered a single flower, but at least it's here.

Its one and only bloom opened this morning so for the next six weeks or so, I'll be treated to the same incredible scent I last smelled three years ago, and I'll be treated to it every evening until its flower fades. I can't wait for the sun to go down tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Great Flower and the smell sounds extraordinary. My orchids have struggled too the past couple years up here in North Florida. I had a first bloom this year of a ground orchid I have had for 6 years! I have a blooming spike now on a plant that I have had for three years. It tried once but failed due to unexpected frosts and having to bring it inside overnight. I hope it makes it this time - I am so curious what it looks like! Maybe some day we can trade some babies if you are into it...

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