nocturnal fragrance

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The fragrance of Tonkin Jasmine (Telosma Cordata, Pakalana Vine, Tonkinese Creeper, Chinese Violet) is one that will stop you at your track and make you look for the source as it is rich and heavy yet wonderfully pleasant. Although the Chinese name of Tonkin Jasmine/夜来香 literally means “when night falls comes the fragrance”, the heavenly scent of these unassuming yellow and orangey blooms is not emitted only in the evenings but throughout the day, it’s just that it is stronger and most fragrant after nightfall.

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If only I had a garden… I would have planted a night garden full of beautifully fragranced flowers with Tonkin Jasmine being on the top of the list. I encountered them for the first time in my life in dad’s little container garden a year ago and I insisted that dad propagate them so that they are all over the place. He has since planted them in 2 places in the garden with one by the fence and one trailing along the wooden structure for his orchids.

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I walked past the orchids the other day and was immediately attracted by the scent of the Tonkin Jasmine. It was so strong eventhough it was during the day and with the name “when night falls comes the fragrance” I just can’t imagine how “intoxicating” the scent is going to be in the evening breeze.

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Heinrich Heine, German poet of the 19th century (1797 – 1856) said it all…
“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers, and as the human heart, imagining itself alone and unwatched, feels most deeply in the night-time, so seems it as if the flowers, in musing modesty, await the mantling eventide ere they give themselves up wholly to feeling, and breathe forth their sweetest odours. Flow forth, ye perfumes of my heart, and seek beyond these mountains the dear one of my dreams!”

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