If there is one thing I truly love, it's a fragrance that transports you to paradise. When I moved into my new home in Los Angeles I knew that I wanted to create a garden paradise. I wanted to be surrounded by lush foliage, tropical color, and fragrance that could seduce my senses. My first step was to procure and plant a tropical tree that comes to us from the tropical forests of Queensland, Australia called Hymenosporum flavum commonly called Sweet Shade or Queensland Frangipani. I planted 2 of them in my front parking strip and this spring they are putting on an amazingly aromatic and exotic show. Earlier this year, I noticed clusters of flower buds forming on the ends of every tree branch. Several weeks back those buds began to extend and open as 2" long ivory trumpets tipped in lemon yellow color. When these buds began to burst open, the most amazing fragrance began to swirl in the air. I detected tropical notes of citrus, soft gardenia with a hint of melon, and spicy coconut. Together they make a seductive scent of tropical temptation that makes me dream of being on the beach somewhere like the Maldives or French Polynesia (one can dream, right?!) As these fragrant flowers of fantasy mature, their petals turn tones of opulent orange-yellow blushed with cherry, almost pomegranate, throat color. Flowers start in spring and continue through early summer. I am forever in love!
Hymenosporum flavum can grow up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It tolerates pruning and can be kept to shrub size. Generally, this evergreen tree takes on a slim, upright, columnar form. It likes full sun to part shade conditions, fertile, well-draining soil, regular water in winter, dryer conditions in summer, benefits from a feeding of compost, and is hardy down to around 25 degrees fahrenheit/-3 degrees celsius. When Hymenosporum flavum is not in flower it retains a luxurious look with glamorously glossy, narrow, rich green leaves. All in all, this is one tony tree. It's chic, unique, and the fragrance is exquisitely exotique!