The beginning of Spring has seen our garden leap spectacularly into bloom this year, probably a consequence of all the rain we’ve been having. VT and I have a mostly native Australian garden with the occasional European intruder (either remnant plants from the garden that was here before, or things we’ve planted for some nostalgic reason).

The little flower you see here is a native plant called boronia. This one is a cultivar of the common or ‘brown’ boronia which looks similar but is more brown (duh) with a yellow inner petal, giving it the appearance of having been painted on the inside.

It’s an unprepossessing little plant in visual terms – its charm is mostly in its scent. The perfume is a little tricky to describe for you because it doesn’t really smell like anything else. It’s a delightful, sweet, almost sugary floral scent, very pretty, but delicate and not at all sickly. It is also quite ephemeral – you get little wafts of it on the breeze, or in the evening, but it’s very subtle if you smell it directly.

One of the very interesting things about the scent of the boronia is that some people can’t smell it at all. It’s estimated that between 12% and 20% of people have ‘boronia anosmia’. No-one really knows why, and I have been unable to uncover any research into it.