Aromatherapy: The Wonder of Nature’s Perfume

TulipFestAfter a long, cold winter, I can hardly complain about the heat and humidity of the last few days. It seems hard to believe that only a few days ago, I was covering my sensitive annuals with hay due to a frost advisory.

IMG_9627Nevertheless, my perennial bulbs are loving this heat spell and I am taking full advantage of the abundance of blooms to bring indoors.

If you have followed my blog over the years, you know my favorite flowers are Lilacs. These are my Miss Kim Lilacs-which bloom 2 weeks later than the standard ones- so my Lilac season lasts much longer than one would think possible. Putting my nose into the florets is “heavenly bliss”. I have no other way to describe the delightful aromas that put me into a state of ecstasy.LilacBliss

Then my Iris start opening- both single and double bearded varieties. The single ones have a sugary powdered scent that satisfies my cravings, while the doubles have a darker, richer fragrance that doesn’t let me go.HeavenlyIris

This year at almost the same time, the Peonies began opening. They have a completely different aura. Sweet, but more sophisticated, with layers of roses infiltrated into them- wild, climbing, tea- all varieties are collected into one breed.Peony9698

I spent Memorial Day weekend catching up on yardwork, with many hours spent outside. By  the time I returned to work on Tuesday I wasn’t sure I could take even a half day indoors. I decided to bring a bouquet of flowers to the office. I collected Peonies, Iris and Lilacs and set them up in my 150 sq. ft office that I share with my partner.

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We enjoyed the sweet wafts of scent that the breezes from  our open window spread around the room. However, the real aromatherapy was noticed when our colleagues came bursting in the door- frantically asking us questions- and then paused, mid-sentence- to notice how wonderful our flowers smelled. By the time they were done taking in and appreciating the beautiful display, they had forgotten the urgency of their visit and we were able to conduct business in a much more agreeable way.

Too bad I don’t know of any season that yields more fragrant flowers than the month of May. As the days get hotter, the fragrances are only noticeable to the birds and the bees. As beautiful as Sunflowers, Phlox, poppies and Gladiolus are, they really don’t have the same scent appeal. May is the season for Aromatherapy.IMG_9645

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A cozy fall night

Here we are, the week before Halloween,  cozied up in the family room with a fire in the fireplace and the world series on tv. Nothing seems more of an indication of fall than the smell of the wood burning, the sounds of baseball in the background and the taste of apple cobbler in our mouths. With the freeze warning we have in place, I went out and cut the last few flowers from my garden: dahlias, chrysanthemums, roses, cleomes and marigolds. There is one pumpkin that has cultivated on our vine which we may be able to carve out next week. I harvested my basil crop and made a batch of pesto. Branches of oregano and rosemary are hanging up to dry and the cold frame has been installed so we can continue to collect lettuce and swiss chard until Thanksgiving.
Everything has a season, and that is good. We all need a time to sit and be cozy with our thoughts- especially after a busy and productive summer. I hope you all can take some time to relax and enjoy the tastes, smells and sounds of the season.

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A Little Piece of Heaven

Little Piece of Heaven

My favorite time of the year is here once again- Lilac Season!  It only lasts about two weeks, but when it is Lilac Season sitting on my deck feels like heaven. The warm breezes blow the fragrant aromas of the abundant lilac bushes in my direction. I close my eyes and inhale the sweet air wafting in my direction.

It is a good thing I don’t have to drive anywhere tonight, as I am definitely DUIL-  “Dizzy Under the Influence of Lilacs”. I feel totally relaxed and at peace. I could sit here for hours-just feeling happy – engulfed in this little piece of heaven.

My husband was trying to converse with me, but I totally lost my focus. Instead, I blurted out, “when I die I want my ashes spread under a hedge of lilacs.”  I know I caught him off guard. I don’t expect to leave this world for a long time. But I was totally DUIL. I grabbed my camera and walked around the hedge, vainly trying to capture the essence. Unfortunately, there is no way a digital picture can convey the overpowering aromatherapy coming out of these bushes.

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As I made my rounds, I made sure to notice all the other favorite scented flora that would be in full bloom by the time the lilacs were finished: Lovely Bearded Iris,

lush double Peony    Peony

and even the prickly Rosa Rugosa- which this bee seeemed drunk on.  Rose7147

They each have their own special perfume which can bring a smile to my lips as I raise the flower to my nose and inhale. I would approve any of these as a substitute resting place if no lilacs are available.

But until then, I prefer to experience a little piece of heaven on earth while I’m sitting on my deck, savoring my all too short Lilac season.

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Miss Kim is my BFF

Miss Kim has arrived for a short stay at my house. She has a very welcoming personality, showing off her true colors and filling the air with her presence. The only reason she has any competition for attention is her timing. Right now the attractive Bearded Iris are flowering and calling their own followers. Their dark purple heads emitting powdery scents are a tough match for Miss Kim, but she prevails with her overpowering aromas and abundant florets.

Just breathing the air when Miss Kim is present can put me into a swoon. If I am having a stressful afternoon, holding a branch up to my face and inhaling her sweet perfume puts me in a happy mood.

She greeted me with a 20 foot long display of light purple lilacs and made my arduous task of repainting every spindle on my deck railing pleasurable. Even though I spent 3 hours coating every surface with new stain, Miss Kim kept me company.

Later I brought a huge bouquet, overflowing with Iris and Lilacs, into the house. The fragrant scent spread through the kitchen and family room and seemed to make everyone calm and happy.

At the end of the day, I clipped a single branch and placed Miss Kim in a tiny vase by my bedside. As I settled down under my covers, I enjoyed her sensual aromas fanned by the cool night air and the sound of crickets chirping. It was truly a night of bliss. I awoke this morning feeling relaxed and happy because Miss Kim is still here for a few more days.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day- proclaimed by Hallmark, Hershey’s and Kay Jewelers as the holiday for lovers. While I agree it is thoughtful to give a gift to someone you love, why do we need to feel guilty if we don’t show up with a gift on cue? I am happier when my husband spontaneously shows up with a bouquet of carnations, or brings back a pair of earrings for me after a business trip. No one likes to feel compelled to do things, especially not something as personal as expressing our affection.

When my children were younger, they were “encouraged” to participate in a valentine exchange at school. They were given a list of classmates and, even though the teachers said cards could be homemade, my children had neither the time nor the interest to make 25 individual cards. Thus, I ended up buying a big pack of cards at CVS, often with candy to attach to them. Fortunately I was not on a tight budget; but what if I had been? My children would have been embarrassed to not participate or, worse, be forced to make their own valentines.

Once they reached middle school the practice became voluntary. My daughter gave cards and gifts to her close friends for another year and then stopped altogether. I think she saw the marketing strategy behind it and decided to no longer play that game (btw- I never discouraged her from continuing, regardless of what my personal thoughts were).

My husband and I have a mutual agreement to not exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. I think that if you are happily married, there are 364 other days of the year to express your affection for each other. The most we will do on Valentine’s Day is to have a special dessert as a family. Making some chocolate-dipped strawberries while sitting around our fondue pot will give us some “sweet” family time, an excuse to enjoy each other’s company and actually converse.

For anyone reading this who is still in the dating phase of a relationship, or has a partner with high expectations on Valentine’s Day, my heart goes out to you. Good luck. I hope your efforts are appreciated.

 

Related Links

http://sweetandweak.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/I-hope-this-gas-station-sells-roses/

http://www.operationtshirt.com/anti-valentines-day-t-shirts/