23 January 2010

Making Scents

A new year - heck, a whole new decade! - has dawned and we PGs here at Longwood are already up to our eyeballs in class work and upcoming projects. By now we've pretty much gotten used to diving in head first but there's something about the temperature of the water that I always find both startling and invigorating! So many lessons, so little time! The biggest lesson I learned last year was Don't Blink! If you do, you'll miss something! That, and always have your camera ready. And fresh batteries!

I was reminded of this important precept when I wandered into the potting shed a few days ago and saw this:

Four work tables overflowing with orchids of all species, shapes, and sizes! The Christmas displays are already gone and Orchid Extravaganza is going in! Lest I found myself in danger of missing more, I took a walk through the conservatory to see what was going on. Come with me, I'll show you...

Orchids in the Potting Shed, waiting to be dispatched.

The California Patio in the Mediterranean House is gone and the garden has been returned to its Mediterranean splendor.

In the north passage, the boxes of Sweet Peas that I helped seed back in September are already blooming! I can't pass them by without sticking my nose in for a whiff. Given this is the year of Fragrance at Longwood, I don't think you can do much better than a nose-full of Sweet Peas!

Out in the Orangery, containers of fragrant plants invite visitors to lean in and sniff.

Just in case you weren't sure...

I wish I could blog the scent to you!

Remember the Fabulous Floral Carpet?

It's been rolled up to make way for the outstanding orchid spheres that will line the Exhibition Floor.

From the Floral Carpet to the Orchid Curtain, Longwood seems to have a thing about recreating textiles with botanics!

Back out in the Orangery, a giant perfume bottle frame is installed on the main walk way. Visitors will find themselves surrounded by fragrance when they walk through, as if they were a genie in a bottle of floral essence.

Many people stopped to inhale the spicy sweetness of these lilies. Not that they have to get so close; you can smell them from several feet away!
On the Patio of Oranges, the containers are being decorated with orchids and ivy.

Wandering through the Garden Walk, I just had to flop down on the pavement and get a whiff of these Narcissus!

The Acacia Passage is filled with a warm, spicy aroma all year long but when the trees are in bloom, you really get a sense (or should I say 'scents'?) of what it means to be intoxicated by fragrance!

In one of the original 1920's greenhouses, carnations are grown in raised beds. One elderly couple were arguing between themselves whether carnations had a scent. They most certainly do, and it always reminds of when I worked in a florist shop during college.

Don't you wish you could smell it!?

Several people have asked about the Floral Carpet Scarf, and the comments and inquires both inspire and frighten me (you mean people are actually interested in this thing!?)! It's a slow process, since I have to write the pattern as I go. Now that we're loaded up with school work, that elusive thing called 'spare time' is a much-hoarded luxury and I've been using it to study, write papers, help plan our plant sale in February and our trip to Spain in June, not to mention thinking about our student gardens - both public and private. We PGs rarely have an idle moment! I did carve out some time to knit this much needed cabled hat with some locally grown, hand-dyed pure virgin wool that I bought on a whim one particularly cryogenic day. Note the outside temperature on the thermometer!

With so many exciting things going on, I know time will whiz by so the lesson I'm sticking in my pocket this year is Stay Sharp! With only one more year to go, the clock is ticking and I don't want to miss anything!

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