When I’m out for my morning power walks, there’s only one blossom that has a scent that bothers me, and, unfortunately for me, there are many of these in our area.

Bird Cherry (Prunus Padus) is native to the UK, but because it’s decorative, hardy in cooler temperatures, and grows quickly, it’s become a favourite in Canada. In Alaska, it’s become invasive.

Some web sites say that in the past, the fruits have been used to treat both kidney and gall stones and when dissolved with wine, for the treatment of coughs. Other sites say that the bird cherry has also been used as an eyewash for conjunctivitis, and to treat angina, bronchitis, anaemia and various inflammatory diseases. Although the cherries are enjoyed by birds, they are also edible (although extremely bitter) for humans but the stones are poisonous. There isn’t a single usefulness that would alter my immense dislike for the scent. Even as I sit here inside my home with the windows closed, just looking at the photo brings an extremely vivid and unpleasant olfactory memory.

On horticultural sites, the scent of the flowers is described as almond. I love the smell of almond and the strong smell (which I can’t find polite descriptive words for) of the Bird Cherry flowers aggravates my sinuses and makes me sneeze. Almond doesn’t do that. Maybe we all smell things differently. That’ll be another day’s research.

These days, I’m enjoying using varying strengths of vignette (in post processing) for my flower close-ups. I used a fairly strong one for today’s feature photo. The effect tends to add drama and puts the focus clearly on the part of the flower I want to have stand out – in this case, it was the bright and pure white of those nasty little blossoms.

Here’s the original:

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

Patrick Süskind