Fragrance Friday: The Scents of Easter

Fragrance Friday: The Scents of Easter

Easter is my favorite holiday. Yes, I love Christmas too, but Christmas involves more work over a longer period of time than Easter, and it has been so commercialized that it’s hard to hear the church’s messages over the din of jingle bells and cash registers. We seem to have managed to keep the focus on the religious meaning of Easter; the secular hasn’t taken over as it has with Christmas. After all, as our minister said on Sunday, no one even likes the song “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.” (Although one small boy piped up from the congregation, “I do!”).

I know one of the reasons I love Easter so much is that it comes with the start of spring, a particularly beautiful season in my part of the world which calls to my gardener’s soul. Flowers and trees blooming everywhere, days getting longer, sunnier and warmer — plus there is chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Especially in my house. The scents of Easter and spring are my favorite ones: hyacinths, daffodils, lilies of the valley, Japanese magnolias, even an early rose or two. Lots of fresh greenness bursting from the earth. We always have a pot of Easter lilies in the house for the holiday, and pots of forced spring bulbs. Our church’s floral guild goes a little crazy and blankets the entire church in garlands of roses, lilies, and other fragrant flowers.

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It should come as no surprise, then, that this is the season when I happily break out my favorite floral fragrances: Penhaligon’s Ostara, for instance, named for the pagan goddess whose name is also the root for the word “Easter.” I’ve also been wearing Chanel No. 22, a heady concoction of white roses and other flower notes, Jo Loves‘ White Rose and Lemon Leaves, Berdoues’ Somei Yoshino (cherry blossoms), Jo Malone’s Lily of the Valley and Ivy, Lili Bermuda’s Lily, and others. I’m hoping to make our annual spring visit this weekend to an amazing private garden that is home to tens of millions of daffodil bulbs planted up and down hillsides:

Woodland daffodils, GIbbs Gardens, March 2016

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, March 2016

I love the sheer over-the-top exuberance of these floral outpourings, and that is what the whole season of spring is like here, all over our city: flamboyant azaleas in Easter egg hues layered under the floating white and pale pink blossoms of dogwoods and Japanese magnolias, underplanted with all shades of yellow and white narcissus or extravagantly bright tulips, combined with swaths of the light blue starflowers that spread here like weeds. Welcome, Spring!

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May Muguet Marathon: Lily of the Valley and Ivy

May Muguet Marathon: Lily of the Valley and Ivy

I discovered Jo Malone’s fragrances last summer, in the Heathrow Airport where there is a boutique. Unfortunately, I was there in a wheelchair, on my way home from London where I had fallen and broken my shoulder! So my kind husband took me to Jo Malone to pick out a bottle of perfume. The one I picked that day was Red Roses, as I had been visiting rose gardens during our trip. But I also tried last year’s limited edition Lily of the Valley and Ivy, part of the “Rock the Ages” series and I liked it so much that I later bought a bottle.

Jo Malone Rock the Ages

According to Fragrantica:

The aim of the collection was to depict different periods of British history through the inspiration of drama, atmosphere and characters of each of the periods. The collection contains the following scents: Tudor Rose & Amber, Lily of the Valley & Ivy, Geranium & Verbena, Pomegranate Noir (reissued) and Birch & Black Pepper.

Lily of the Valley & Ivy is inspired by the Georgian era of pastel tenderness, green landscapes, gardens and ivy-covered fences. The fragrance opens with green ivy, pink grapefruit and sparkling black currant, with delicate floral heart of lily-of-the-valley and narcissus and the base of beeswax, amber wood and white musk.

It is a very beautiful fragrance.  Continue reading