My radar went on high alert. But nothing showed for more than ten years until a few months ago when I chanced upon something unfamiliar at the market.
“That’s reserved,” the lady told me. “… but keep this leaf. It’s scented.”
When I described the plant to a gardening pal, he said it was probably the patchouli. He was right – or so I thought.
As the leaf in my wallet dried, its essential oils intensified and it became increasingly fragrant. After all these months, the dry and crisp leaf still perfumes my money and wallet.
A few months down the road, this same friend smelled the leaf I had in my wallet. “Hey, this can’t be the patchouli after all. It’s more fragrant than the patchouli I have.”
But having obtained a pot of the real patchouli, I’ve come to appreciate my still nameless plant (my patchouli-wannabe) even more.
It’s a familiar fragrance that brings back memories; memories of gran who used to make her own face powder. She would keep her dried pearls of powder in cut-glass bottles. Scented leaves were dried with the powder and stuffed into the bottles as well. Gran had discovered this plant long before I even heard about it.
My patchouli-wannabe now takes pride of place in the garden. Gran, this one’s for you!
2015 – Lately someone said it’s called Strobilanthes Nivea Bremek, but apparently the name is still ‘unresolved’. But I guess it doesn’t really matter what its name is after all.
Care and propagation: Shade to indirect sun; loamy moist soil; water generously. Propagate using cuttings