I walk to the acupuncture clinic that I’m interning at daily. It’s about a mile and I get to check out all the gardens as I go along. My favorite block is on Russell Street because of the amazing fragrance of the Michelia trees planted at the Thai Temple.
There are two large trees planted at the entrance and about a dozen more planted in barrels surrounding the temple. The trees are loaded with flowers, although unfortunately my zoom was too weak to capture them! I believe this variety is Michelia champaca. The flowers are a light yellow and you can smell them all the way up and down the street. They transform that little corner of the city into pure magic.
I did a little researching and found that the Michelias are part of the Magnolia family, which is old family dating back to about 95 million years ago. Let that sink in. They are originally from the humid forests of India so you will need to either grow one in a pot that you can remove from the frost of winter, or be lucky enough to have one grow to full height in a more temperate climate. The ones here seem to be doing great.
And, as an aside if you are ever here you should check out the Thai Temple brunches on Saturdays. It’s packed full of people picnicking up and down the street!