Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Scent Trials

After a warm interlude at the end of February, March has turned bitterly cold and snowy. The awakening buds on the 'Dawn' viburnum outside the dining room window shriveled and froze.

But inside, I had pink open blooms. I cut branches of the Viburnum bodnantense and brought them inside to force. I'd never smelled the fragrance of 'Dawn' in flower before and was hoping they would open and have some scent, and they did.

The verdict? Ugh.

Not a pleasant scent, at least to me. The fragrance was too musky and very heavy. Maybe they smell great outside, but in the house they were disagreeable.

And the branches themselves were too big and stiff for a vase. The flowers fell apart easily, leaving bits of petals and brown litter all over the table. I emptied the vase and won't be cutting 'Dawn' viburnum branches for forcing again.

My experiment with forcing witch hazel branches was much better. At the end of February I brought some of those in the house and they were lovely. The slender branches looked subtle in a vase, and the scent was heady.

Witch hazel has what I can only describe as a "clear" fragrance. It's sweet but not cloying. It makes me think of burbling water, delicate chimes, sparkling dew. It's a crystalline fragrance, if that makes any sense. It's just very light and sweet and clear.

So the witch hazel branches were a success and I may cut more later this month to bring inside. But the viburnum trials were not a success and won't be repeated.

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