Fragrant Quote for December 4th, 2011 from Sea-coast gardens and gardening By Frances Anne Bardswell

Fragrant Quote for December 4th, 2011 from Sea-coast gardens and gardening By Frances Anne Bardswell

Fragrant Quote for December 4th, 2011 from Sea-coast gardens and gardening By Frances Anne Bardswell

As to the influence of sea on scent, it cannot be denied that the great European flower-farms for perfumery lie in the valley of the Var, a great triangular space of 115,000 acres, with Grasse at its apex, and Nice and Cannes at each corner of its base on the Mediterranean. Here Orange-flowers, Roses, Violets and other flowers, are not so much sold in the bunch as weighed by the ton, and their fragrances are sent all over the world. Nor can we forget the aromatic herbs and bushes that clothe the little capes that jut out into the great sea which washes the shores of Greece, Italy, Sicily and Corsica. Napoleon said he should know his native land with his eyes shut, from the scent of a little white Cistus (C. monspeliensis) that scents the air after rain with its resinous odour. Corsica is covered with it. And there are the Spice Islands of Java, Ceylon, Borneo and the Windwards, all aromatic with spices—clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Douglas Sladen, in his delightful book " In Sicily," says the Island is one vast herbarium. In every old wall, on every uncultivated patch, grows some medicinal herb. It is powdered with sweet wild flowers and fragrant trees and shrubs. Another traveller in the islands of the Greek Archipelago describes how at a distance they look bare and arid, yet have a scattered growth of lowly, sweet-smelling bush and herb, so that as you move among them every plant seems full of sweet sap or aromatic gum, and as you tread the perfumed carpet the whole air is scented. Here, too, are dusky groves of incensebearing Cypress and Myrtle, of Oleander and Sweet Bay. We can hardly doubt that it is the Islands of the world that are most richly dowered with scent. Coming back to English gardens, is it not remarkable that the only scented Alyssum we have is A. maritimuml We grow quantities of this and enjoy its honeyed fragrance right into November. Roses, I have never noticed smelling sweeter by the sea than anywhere else, but we observe a deeper scent in Honeysuckle and Jasmine, also in the Primrose—a flower which some people cannot smell at all. Herbs are certainly more pungent and aromatic by the sea than inland; those that are now growing in our own garden show us how perfectly sea-air suits them.