A taste of honey Posted on March 12, 2012

I was ambushed by a blast of honey just now; an overwhelming jar-full of scent, clear, golden, sweet and even waxy. I jumped like Winnie the Pooh. The trees around are bare, a few willow catkins are opening, maples are just showing points of promise where their buds will be ……. Where are the flowers?

Then I saw, behind a screen of the fine twigs of Japanese maples, some modest spots of dull yellow. It is Lindera obtusiloba, a Chinese bush I love for its waywardly three-lobed leaves, no two quite the same, memorably bright yellow in October. The leaves are slightly scented too.

I had never noticed its little umbels of flowers before, or even known they were perfumed. I have never seen any fruit. But I wonder at the energy the plant must expend in scenting the air like this. The reproductive urge takes many wonderful forms. The twigs I brought into the kitchen are giving everything we eat and drink a taste of honey.

Hugh’s Gardening Books

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The International Dendrology Society (IDS)