GSS Tips From an Expert :: Olfaction :: Sweet Flower Scents

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Olfaction: The Sense of Smell

What’s your favorite flower smell?  This question received immediate response from my facebook friends, with several comments of “why” they liked that particular flower.

“Gardenias remind me of my grandmother”,…”Roses were always my favorite, my mother grew them!”,….”Jasmine makes me think of weddings”…,

I really enjoyed reading the reasons why my friends like each particular flower.   The association of the flower itself, the smell and memories that each flower invoked was more than I asked for, but this is what flowers do to and for us.

According to Jeanette Haviland-Jones, Department of Psychology, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, her study may not have addressed the olfaction aspect that I am pursuing, but it overwhelmingly showed that humans have developed an emotional attachment to flowers.  She also goes on to state that “depriving humans of “non-species” emotional support may be as detrimental to human survival and fitness as depriving humans of any other resource” .

Further research in looking at flower smells and why they affect us so much helped me to understand why it is so critically important to NOT lose this wonderful experience.

I have spoken before on why our flowers do not smell the way they did when we were kids because of commercial commerce needs.  The need to genetically altar cultivated flowers through Floriculture to make them disease resistant, higher petal counts, larger buds, longer stems, brighter colors and longer shelf life has all been done to appease our modern existence that craves emotional  satisfaction.

Enough of why, let’s investigate some of the flowers that can be easily purchased and evoke positive emotions!

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images courtesy of Amy Karp Photography

Here are a few descriptions of flowers from an internet article by Valerie Valdez, eHOW, contributor:

Rose: The king of any garden and bouquet, a rose’s robust smell (from the garden!) can fill a room with only one bloom.  It’s scent, considered the most romantic and sensual, is strongest on sunny days when the bloom is full open.  The sigh and smell of roses is the symbol of love. Available everywhere, all year.

Geranium: The geranium has a fresh floral scent with sweet citrus smells creates an uplifting feeling.  Some different types of geranium also imitate the scent of other flowers too.  Mint, nutmeg, lemon and even ginger scents are found in geraniums.  Combining different types of geraniums will produce a fragrant bouquet perfect to combat the blues. Available everywhere, all year.

Sweet Pea: Sweet Pea’s lovely and strong scent is similar to brown sugar and blooms in early June.  Its effect is a summery warm feeling that promotes a sense of well-being.  Known as a fast growing plant, it reaches up to 8’ long and attracts butterflies.  The smell of fresh cut sweet pea flowers last long.

Lavender: The number one scent used in aromatherapy is lavender because of its calming effect that eases stress.  A member of the mint family, 39 different lavender species and scented exist making its vibrant fresh sweet aroma a favorite in perfumes, potpourri.

Read more: Types of Flowers That Affect People’s Mood & Smell

Tyler Texas also is known for the fragrant Tyler Roses that come from there.  These are wonderful and fragrant roses (over 500 varieties!!) that we see yearly at the Tyler Rose Festival in October .

We are also fortunate in that Tyler is also one of the homes where the internationally known David Austin Roses are grown.  These amazing English Garden roses are coveted because of their fragrance, beauty and history.  David Austin is credited with growing new varieties in the style of old rose growing, combining fragrance and unique charm…which modern Floriculture has unfortunately lost in mass production to keep up with demand for the world.

A good point in choosing flowers as a gift would be to incorporate the herbs listed above to enhance modern day bouquets.  We also use many varieties of mint and geraniums to enhance the smell of the bouquet so that they will be beautiful and FRAGRANT!

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