Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Orange and Magnolia Blossoms

By Bobbi

Sometimes it seems I’m surrounded by a bit of Heaven on Earth. There is an orange tree in my back yard that annually displays small, delicate white blossoms during late winter. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of the fragrant things, so many the tree looks as if it’s loaded down with snow.

Walking outside during this time ensures I will catch a heady whiff of the tree in full bloom, smelling so much like honeysuckle it could fool an expert. If a breeze is blowing just right, you can even smell it while standing all the way out in our front yard.

Bees are attracted to the tree, also. It’s fascinating to watch them buzzing slowly in and out of the blossoms. Their behavior signals there will be a sufficient supply of ripe, juicy oranges for me to pick and eat during late January or early February of next year.

A small magnolia tree stands in my front yard. It is usually in full-bloom by mid-April and its blossoms are white, also, though much larger than the ones on the orange tree. My guess is they could easily measure one foot across.

The magnolia tree is very fragrant with a much stronger scent than the orange. Even though it doesn’t produce anything edible, it’s quite beautiful. A single blossom can make a very attractive display when left attached to the large, dark green leaves and set in a shallow bowl of water. However, keep in mind the blossoms naturally close up at night and are very perishable, lasting only a couple of days before turning brown and dying.

Here is another interesting fact about magnolias. After the blossoms die and fall off the tree, pods form in their place and red seeds start to grow in little pockets all over the outside of the pods. Soon, the pods themselves fall off the tree and land on the ground.

Some people say this type of tree is dirty because it also sheds some of its leaves every year. To me, cleaning up this annual mess is well worth the effort because the trade-off is getting to enjoy its immense beauty.

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