Michelia yunnanensis ‘Scented Pearl’


Michelia yunnanensis ‘Scented Pearl’ and Mirid Bugs

What I like most of this Michelia yunnanensis ‘Scented Pearl’ is the small size. It is perfect for a small garden or a small courtyard. Michelia yunnanensis is an evergreen shrub/small tree from Yunnan and surrounding area in China. It is hardy and respond well to trimming and shaping. The Scented Pearl sp. has pure white flowers as big as a 50 cent coin, while another species has yellow blooms. The sweet scent is very delicate. The hairy flower buds have an attractive copper colour.

We have had this plant for many years and it is only about one and half meter high. It has a habit of having horizontal branches, and I always trim them to make the plant grow rounder and compact. This is spring time here in Melbourne now and it has exceptionally outstanding flowers – so many flowers, the best as long I can remember. Among the leaves and flowers, I saw quite a few of bugs breeding ( I think they are some kind of stink  mirid bugs). I leave them alone and I just hope they will not do damage later on.

Michelia yunnanensis ‘Scented Pearl’

‘Scented Pearl’ – Michelia yunnanensis



Murraya paniculata (Kemuning)


Another fragrant white flower is Murraya paniculata. Some people call it Orange Jasmine or mock orange and it is the close relative of Murraya koenigii  the curry leaf tree that is used in Indian cooking. In Indonesia people call it ‘kemuning’ and there is a very popular song about the flower. I always think that most of the beautiful scented flowers are pure white in colour like for example jasmine, gardenia, tuberose and stephanotis.

We have two murrayas grown in the garden, one in the front yard and the other one in the back yard. It is very easy to grow here in Melbourne as we have quite warm temperate climate. I grow them mostly for the delicate sweet scent, but when not in flower, this evergreen little bush can add colour during cold and dull winter days with its pretty green foliage. Naturally grows in compact shape, Murraya paniculata respond well to pruning and trimming. Some people use this plant for hedging.

About the plant:

  • Tropical evergreen rounded shrub that can grow up to 3m high or more.
  • Native to South, Southeast Asia, China and Australasia.
  • Sweet scented white flowers which produce fleshy small red-orange fruits.
  • Very easy to grow in warmer climate, tolerate wide range of garden soil conditions.
  • Mulch and apply manure and compost for better flower.
  • Spray the plant with white oil for sooty mould and scale problems.
  • Traditional medicinal use of leaves, barks and roots as analgesic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

There is a love song ‘Kemuning’, an old Indonesian song but still well loved. This version was sung by Mus Mulyadi:

Links to read my previous blogs on Fragrant White Flowers:







When summer is approaching and the gardenias are blooming, the heat of a slightly balmy evening heightens the sweet sensuous fragrance. I don’t know why, but I think the best perfumed flowers are white in colour, like for examples Jasmine and Tuberose.



Gardenia  is native to the tropics and subtropics of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. In Indonesia it is called kaca piring. There are approximately 250 species of gardenia and they belong to the coffee family Rubiaceae.

The name Gardenia came from a Scottish American naturalist, Dr. Alexander Garden.

Most gardenias are milky white that will become yellowish by age, while few species are real yellow. The most common varieties grown here in Australia are from two different species: G.augusta and G. thunbergia.

The most popular Gardenia augusta species are Florida, Aimee Yoshiba, Magnifica, Fortuniana , Prof. Pucci, Golden Magic and the prostate dwarf variety is Radicans. These species have attractive deep green foliage with double flowers.Gardenia thunbergia is also known as star gardenia which has single petals. This species originally found in South Africa and it is also known as wild gardenia of forest gardenia.

Gardenias grow best in warmer, moderate and humid climate. It hates frost and cold temperature. Can be grown in partly shade area for hotter climate or in moderate climate it will be happy to be in full sun. The soil has to be rich and well drain. As gardenia tend to lose traces elements in soil (yellowing of the leaves), it is good to apply a complete fertilizer which contains major trace elements. Once the plants are established, they only need to be fully watered once every forth night.

Gardenias are prone to have problems with scales and mealy bugs so regular spray of white oil will help to keep these bugs away.

If you love white flowers and you enjoy the sweet sensation of lingering fragrance in your   garden or verandas, gardenia will certainly fill this purpose. As gardenias will continue to bloom from late Spring to Autumn, the beautiful scents of this versatile flowers will greet you for longer time.

This is an old song by The Deans with the title “Little White Gardenia” 🙂 The gardenias always remind me of this song…….


Happy Gardening!



After I posted an entry about Jasmine flower sometime ago, I’m thinking about another white flower with beautiful lingering fragrance. I grow them in my garden, very hardy and easy to grow.

Besides jasmine, tuberose  is another flower that releases beautiful perfume, especially in the night time. In my area around Melbourne (Australia), it is usually flowering around late summer to autumn. It is very surprising that this year, mine  flowered in the middle of winter …even though the quality was inferior.

Pure white petals… can be single or double grow on long slender stems. They have a tinge of pink in buds but they will be pure white when open. The perfume is released during the evening and night time. This is why some different languages share the same meaning for naming this elegant flower which all mean: “night fragrant”. In Indonesia people call it “Sedap Malam”, while in in Hindi it is Rajnigandha. In Bangladesh it is called Rojoni Gondha. Part of South India it is Sugandaraja which has a slightly different meaning – king of fragrance. In Persia they call this flower Maryam which is also a very common lady’s name. While Singaporeans express this flower in a strange way…. they name the flower xinxiao which means where the moths sit.

Tuberose perfume is too overpowering compared with jasmine. Some people don’t like it, and it includes my husband. He can’t stand to have these flowers inside the house as it gives him a shocking headache. Described as having a heavy sweet floral with a touch of spice, tuberose are perfect for the making of fine perfume, incense, soap or floral arrangements.

About the plant:

Tuberose has a botanical name: Polieanthes tuberosa. The bulbs grow into long and slender bright green leaves which are clumping together.



  • Full sun position

  • Rich and well-drain soil

  • The clumping bulbs can be separated into smaller clumps and should be grown 5 – 7 cm ( 2-3 inches) under the ground and  20 – 25 cm (8 – 10 inches apart).

  • Although it tolerates drought, it needs good watering during the growing season to flower well.

  • Complete fertilizer combined with diluted  fish/seaweed extract are good to use.

  • After finish flowering cut the long stems off but it is better to leave the leaves for photosynthesis purposes to nourish the bulbs.

  • In warm climate, you can leave the bulbs under the ground after flowering. For those in zone 8 or colder, it is better to lift the bulbs off the ground before frost. Air dried for several days and then keep them in paper bags with a bit of peatmoss until the next planting time in spring.

  • It is also possible to grow them in pots and the benefit is that you will be able to move them around to get as much sunlight as possible and to avoid frost.

Tuberose is very easy to grow and the flowers will fragrance your courtyard with lingering amorous perfume through the night…or if you like, just few stems of them will surely perfume the whole house when the evening comes.

Jasmine Flower


One of my favourite sweet scented flowers is Jasmine. There are many varieties of Jasmine plant (about 200), but there is one that is so close to my heart. It is one species called Jasminum sambac (=Indonesian name is Melati) which is also the national flower of Indonesia. The flowers themselves are small and simple. Mostly pure white in colour and some are pink or yellow. Many single but there is also the double petals one. The fragrance of Melati flower is to die for. In fact this flower always reminds me of my belated much loved father. He grew rows of this plants along side the house that faces the courtyard. In the tropics they flower almost all year round. When the evening comes, the sweet sensual fragrance would fill the whole courtyard and it lingered through out the night till dawn. Sadly these plants which used to grow lusciously had died together with my father because no one took care of them.In Indonesia, especially in Java, white melati-jasmine flowers are used in wedding ceremonies. It symbolizes simplicity and purity.They use them for garlands worn by both the bride and groom, and also to be used in flower arrangements and decorations. This flower is also commonly used during funeral together with rose petals.
Jasminum sambac

Jasmine Flowers in Tea:
The fragrant jasmine tea is made by tea leaves which are mixed with certain type jasmine petals to make it aromatic. In China, the flowers are mixed with green tea. In Indonesia they use a species of Jasmine which is called ‘Melati Gambir’ to fragrance black tea. Personally I prefer the Indonesian Jasmine tea better than the Chinese one, Indonesian Jasmine tea is black tea blend which is both refreshing and calming, yet it is strong, dark with intense fragrance. The Javanese will brew it very black sweetened with sugar. Never put milk in any type of Jasmine tea. With the Chinese Jasmine tea, normally people will drink it without sugar. The taste is somewhat mellow and light.

The Healing Power:
It is believed that jasmine flowers are used to heal female reproductive system from cramps as it contains antispasmodic properties. Also people use it to calm the nerves to soothe emotional problems. For the Chinese, this flowers are known to cool blood and also believed to have a strong antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Jasmine contains astringent which is used to treat inflamed eyes and skin, also for gargling to relieve sore throat.
These flowers are also used for aroma therapy to have a calming effect. The use in perfume, incense and soap are also popular.
The Song:
There is a very old folk song about Jasmine flower in Jiangsu, China. It is called (Beautiful) Jasmine Flower. Just like the jasmine plants, it migrated to the West and cross pollinated around the world. It has rearranged by many famous musicians like for example in Puccini’s Opera Turrandot, and even a version from the famous saxophone player Kenny G. They say it was in 1792 that the western orchestra played this song for the very first time, and it is when King George III from the Great Britain sent Lord Macartney to China as Ambassador for the Emperor Qianlong. He brought with him some Europian musicians to form an orchestra and they played the European version of jasmine flower song for the very first time.
As Jasmine is very popular in Indonesia, there are quite a few songs about this sweet scented flowers. One of them is a very old song called ‘Melati Dik Melati’ sung by Sam Saimun. Thank you very much Dede61 for sharing this song:

Newer Entries