Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seattle showers bring lovely May flowers

I am very excited and honored to participate in this fragrant May Flowers Blog Project hosted by Roxana of Illuminated Perfume. Please check out the other wonderful posts throughout this month celebrating the lovely month of May here.

In March of 2005, this Texas gal became a Seattleite. I spent March through late May of that year wondering "Does the sun
EVER come out here? Where are my 80 degree temperatures?!" After weeks of clouds, rain and cold (and walking around in sweatshirts most of the time), the first sunny and warm day arrived in May and, with it, a variety of vegetation I had never seen in North Texas. I had always heard from locals that late Spring and Early Summer are why you live here. Well, 5 years later, I have experienced, first hand, that amazement of how incredibly beautiful this area can be. It was also around this time that I was transitioning from a candle maker to a perfumer and I felt like a kid in a candy store experiencing the fragrant offerings of this area. What amazed me was I was surrounded by Lilacs everywhere I turned. Lilacs of all varieties grow wild here and range from deep, intensely purple (like the Klager Double Purple growing in my Mother's yard shown above) to gorgeous white blossoms (like the Edith Cavell below). Lilacs, in the Spring, are one of the very first flowers to bloom up here and, sadly, the first to leave us. I always miss the smell that permeates the warm air when you are around them. Perfumers covet the scent as it encompasses all that is sexy and sweet.

Recently, my thoughts and sniffer have been obsessed with another fragrant wonder of the Pacific Northwest, Pieris Japonica or Lily of the Valley Bush. While this fragrant bush is not native to the area (it is native to the Far East), it grows very well in the soil here and in the salty air of the coast. It adorns many fences in the area making it lovely for those who enjoy the evening stroll. It reminds me of when I was a kid walking with my friends while stopping to sniff and taste the sweet Honeysuckle growing wild in the neighborhood.

As a Texan, you don't go too long without participating in this ritual. I blogged a few weeks ago about how inspired I was to create a a honeysuckle/white florals/woodsmoke blend. This inspiration came with my first sniff of these urn-shaped flowers on warm evening stroll. There was the scent of burning wood in the air and the Lily of the Valley bushes were starting their bloom. I am often drawn to memories of Spring and Summer in North Texas and the Lily of The Valley Bush takes me back there while welcoming me to Seattle's Springtime. Unfortunately, these bushes and their fragrant blooms are poisonous, but I will continue to enjoy them until they are gone. These flowers have fragrantly guided me through my new journey as a Pacific Northwest girl and perfumer.

May we all be lucky enough to have a chance to always sniff these May flowers.

Happy May.


Marissa said...

Mmmmm That sounds absolutely DIVINE. We had a honeysuckle plant in our yard and as a child I would often taste that nectar. I miss that.

Illuminated Perfume said...

How wonderous Nikki. Thank you for sharing your flower story with us all.

Dennice {Fringe} said...

What an elegant post, with such beautiful photos! I never see lilacs here in my neck of the woods. I love them. And honeysuckle has always been a favorite of mine. It reminds me of my childhood.

Your honeysuckle blend creation sounds magnificent!

Thank you for sharing! I so enjoyed visiting your lovely blog.


Gabriel's Aunt said...

Thank you all for reading. I had so much fun participating in this event!

Flora said...

Oh yes, lilacs! I am a Northwest "transplant" too, though from New England where lilacs do grow. The ones here seem to have more variety, and I fell in love with the Pieris here too, I don't recall ever seeing it back East.

My big revelation when I moved to Oregon was the size of the rhododendrons. In New England all we had were scrappy little bushes that that shivered through the winters barely alive. Here they have the kind that get to be trees - BIG trees! I will never forget my astonishment the first time I saw one of these in bloom, with huge trusses of purple flowers. It was taller than the house it grew beside. I thought I was in the land of Oz!

Gabriel's Aunt said...

Thank you Dennice. I appreciate you stopping by and reading. I have been wearing my Encens Blanc for the past week and it really does smell like Summer to me. My Mom's Lilacs have just moved from the outside to a vase inside her house. She is now enjoying that incredible smell in her kitchen. The joys of Spring!

Gabriel's Aunt said...

Flora, I was on a drive the other day on Whidbey Island and saw many wild Rhodies. Their size in the wild always amazes me. The fact that we have these gorgeous and large blooms makes me feel privileged to live here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. xoxoxo, Nikki

ScentScelf said...

Pieris has an aroma? I have three little ones I'm about to put in, and one half-happy half-sized one that's been in for a couple of years. I'm going to go out and stick my nose in those dangling blooms once I'm done telling you how much I enjoyed your post.


Gabriel's Aunt said...

Well, please let me know how you enjoy them! The ones around here are fantastically fragrant. :)