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Life as a Scot in California

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Smell or No Smell (2)

Posted by berkeleyscot on January 31, 2008

Thanks to Richard G. and Mary C. for reminding me that some flowers are bred for appearance rather than fragrance. I knew this to be especially true of roses and other flowers, but this does not really explain the lack of fragrance in most flowers and flowering plants in my garden and in the area. We also have honeysuckle and I remember the fragrance of the honeysuckle we had in Cambridge, but nothing here! It’s the same with lavender, hyacinths and other plants we chose for fragrance.

This week, I bought narcissi from a flower stall in Berkeley and they smell beautifully. I commented to the flower seller that the rest of her selection had little or no fragrance. She agreed, for the same reasons others have given here. She showed me the book she was reading: “Flower Confidential” by Amy Stewart.  She told me that Amy discusses this very issue in the book.

But now I’m thinking there’s more to smell or lack of smell in this area.

It seems there are many people here who are chemically sensitive. By that, I mean they have developed reactions, sometimes severe, to various aromas and smells. Richard developed adverse reactions to any perfume I wore, certain laundry detergents and other things that ultimately had to be treated by a dermatologist.

Now we notice that we rarely meet any women wearing perfume, and men’s aftershave is practically unheard of. Everyone is discouraged from wearing perfumed products to public gatherings, the gym, etc., in consideration of those who are chemically sensitive or have respiratory problems.

So, it’s not only the flowers that don’t smell, WE don’t smell either!

To paraphrase Hylda Baker, “She NOSE you NO!”


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