When we built our house we planted a row of Oleanders along the retaining wall. The trees, now 20 years old, are a riot of white and pink flowers and the scent that pours from them is a mix of apricot and vanilla pie, almond essence and a hint of baby's talcum powder. I only wish we had planted more and surrounded the whole house. The plant is ideal for our climate: drought resistant but able to survive a frost down to -10 degrees C. The only draw back is that it's toxic to mammals. Sheep, horses and cattle can die if they eat enough of the leaves, but animals know to stay well clear. Bees feeding on the oleander flowers are said to produce hallucinogenic honey, but I've never got my hands on any. There is an urban myth that a pack of boy scouts used oleander twigs to roast their marshmallows over the camp fire and all were found dead the next day. No official records exist of such an occurrence but it shouldn't be ingested by humans. Herbalists use a poultice of the leaves for skin disorders. I wouldn't recommend trying this at home, as the sap is very irritant if you get it on your skin. Research is underway to prove the efficacy of the plant extract in strengthening the immune system and the medical properties of Nerium Oleander are well known in the Muğla region where I live. Dr. H. Ziya Özel, chief doctor at the State Hospital in the 1970s, claimed he used an extract of Oleander to cure cancer patients and he was famous in our county for many years, alternatively lauded as a genius and despised as a charlatan by the national press.
I just love it for it's perfume and colour and if it is proven to be a medical marvel, we'll be seeing lots more of it.