Japan is famous for its cherry blossom. But every year I like it better when the sakura is washed away by spring rain, the warm sun comes, and the walk down the hill is awash with white azaleas.

We talked the other day of the chemical, imaginary scents of poppies and tulips; how they were invented by perfumers for their clients’ prime-targeting briefs of uptown demography: hermetic, fiercely synthetic; uptight, squinting florals with issues.

I leave my living room and my cards sprayed all over with these monstrosities.

I walk down towards the station, ambling, and see to my great satisfaction that they are out (they seem to come out, all of them, simultaneously in great bursts of tumbling, translucent banks…)

How free and pure these azaleas smell: how softly liberating to my senses. I can smell whole other worlds in them as I bury my face in their petals: yes, they do have a perfume, azaleas – though it is not often mentioned –  and it is beauteous. Delicate, nectarous snowbirds: still: transfixing themselves like newborns in the warm ruffling, breeze; shyly, delectably fragrant like shells, whispering the secrets of the sea.


Filed under Flowers, Photography

16 responses to “I LOVE THE WHITE AZALEAS

  1. Beautifully written. You’re making me want to visit Japan now!

  2. brie

    Gorgeous!!! Would love to press my nose into those!
    So far nothing is really blooming around my house….I am eagerly anticipating the blooming of my lilac bush and plum blossoms trees……
    hoping to see the cherry blossoms this weekend whilst in Wash, DC! it just doesn’t feel like spring without all of the color!

  3. Phrases like “uptight, squinting florals with issues” are why I never miss a Black Narcissus post. Here in New Mexico the fruit trees have already flowered (very lovely this year) and we’re starting to see irises and other scented lovelies. My wisteria vine is late this year but will bloom soon. Now there’s a flower I’d like to smell more of in perfume. Demeter has a dirt-cheap wisteria cologne that’s surprisingly true to the flower, although fleeting, but I’d adore to smell what SL could do with the wisteria. Or hyacinth, for that matter, which I think is one of the most difficult notes in perfumery, but if I ever find a really beautiful one I’m going to bathe in it.

    • I was thinking about doing a hyacinth post, actually. I adore them. And wisterias as well; there are wild wisteria trees in full bloom out as well, but I couldn’t capture them properly with my iPhone.

      Thanks for reading x

  4. emmawoolf

    I love the smell of hyacinths as well, although they can sometimes overpower.. a hyacinth post would be lovely. There’s a magnificent wisteria tree outside St Giles Church in Norwich (Duncan may well know it) when they are in full bloom in May the church puts on a wisteria concert series – I loved it when we were invited to take part! Finally, can I put in a request for a freesia post sometime? x

  5. emmawoolf

    I have a weakness for Crabtree and Evelyn freesia – the bath gel, soap, everything. Not sure if you can still get it but it was adored in my youth x

  6. Pingback: After the Rain | Mrs. City Boy

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