Fragrant Quote for June 4th th, 2012 from The natural history of the farm By James George Needham

Herb Garden, Huntington Library Image Credit

Herbage-scents are not transient and effusive, like the odors of the flowers. They last through the life of the plant itself, and are often sweetest in the dried herb. They are faint and ethereal, like the delicate scent of sweetbrier leaves distilling into the motionless air of a summer evening after rain. Or the...y may not be noticeable at all unless the foliage producing them be rubbed or bruised.

It was for this reason that our grandmothers planted lavender and rosemary and balm close beside the garden paths, where their leaves would be brushed by the clothes of a person passing, liberating the fragrance. They prized these for the garden in summer, and such sweet things as lemon-verbena and rose-geraniums for the window-garden in winter. It is because herbs yield their fragrance most abundantly when crushed or bruised, that they were used of old as "strewing herbs." They were scattered in the path of a bridal or other procession, to raise a pleasing perfume when crushed by passing feet.