Archive for scent


The first roses of the season are in full bloom… in my garden and all over the neighborhood; their scent a intoxicant I willingly abandon myself to. There is a particular blend of longing and joy that scent can evoke… without a word having been spoken, I find myself laid open by this subtle Beauty.

Diane Ackerman, in Natural History of the Senses, says that when Cleopatra first invited Antony to her bed she covered the floor in rose petals a foot and a half deep. Apparently the Romans were so enamored of the rose that they founded Rosalia, an annual holiday to sing her praises (ah! perhaps it’s the Italian in me that so enjoys this luxurious flower).

Still impacted by the sweetness of an online Elemental Ceremony I co-hosted this weekend with my friends Firehawk and Pele, in honor of the element of Air, today I’m struck by the relationship between air and scent. If scent is a kind of nuanced communication delivered by air, it carries a tale we cannot close ourselves off from like we can the stories of our other senses (we can close our eyes or plug our ears indefinitely, but we cannot live without air for more than a few moments). Not that I want to – the scent of new roses in this lovely California Spring is a spirit-reviving tonic and I am most grateful for the Medicine.


A Cutting Garden

I've always drempt of having a cutting garden.. and now I have one! Somewhere along the way to realizing this dream, I began collecting rose bushes. I started last year with one Gertrude Jeykell bush – an old fashioned double pink rose with a truly divine scent – and when it went crazy this Spring, all covered with blooms, I too went crazy and bought myself several more David Austin old rose varietals.

I couldn't find more Gertrude Jeykells – I would fill my entire garden with that rose if I could – but I did find "Hot Cocoa" – a gorgeous rich red-brown rose that I first saw in Sally Robertson's glorious bread and breakfast garden (even if you don't have a patch of ground, Sally can paint a garden for your walls), and Sparrieshoop (the generous climber you see in this photo – it's also a cutting rose!), Benjamin Britten, and Scarborough Fair. All of them smell wonderful and fill a vase beautifully! These roses are magic – they're casting a spell that makes me want to just hang out in the garden all the time!