The Magnolia Grandiflora is pretty much the official tree of Lake Maggiore. Beautifully manicured rows line the foreshore in Pallanza, helping give the town its elegant, but unpretentious air. They are now in full flower.

Our specimens are over 100 years old. Impressively beautiful but rather less than elegant.

The only problem with the Grandiflora is that when it reaches a mature stage it’s quite difficult to get close enough to the flowers to get more than a general ambient wafting of their gorgeous scent.

However, this morning I managed to get my nose in a low hanging one – an intense candied lemon.