Osmanthus – the Scent of an Oriental Autumn

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In Scotland, we have just enjoyed an uncharacteristically glorious summer, full of beautiful scents. Autumn can be wonderful too, but then it is more the rich pallete of colours that we appreciate – our visual sense tends to dominate the season. Here, if we are asked to identify the scents of autumn, we might think of fallen leaves, damp earth, pumpkins and gourds, bonfires, wood smoke, maybe coniferous forests. However, there is one beautiful scented flower that, in China and Japan, is very much associated with autumn, and that is osmanthus.

Osmanthus fragrans is a woody, evergreen flowering shrub. In China it is known as kweiha, and the scent of the blossoms is loved and renowned; and indeed has been described as the quintessential scent of China.  It has been cultivated for hundreds of years, and is often found at Buddhist temples, where it is planted in groves. Osmanthus is very much considered to be Continue reading

The ancestry, symbolism and scent of the rose

the delicate rose

Staying loosely with a seasonal scent theme, I had been planning to blog about the fragrances of summer flowers, but a strange string of coincidences over the last couple of days has prompted me to focus on just one – the rose – and all because of my family ancestry! Here is how it came about… Correspondence with a new colleague in the aromatherapy world mentioned, by chance, a family connection with geology at the University of Edinburgh. I too have a connection there – my great great grandfather (on my paternal grandfather’s side) was Alexander Rose, who was the ‘founding father’ of the Edinburgh Geological Society. I was fortunate enough to have inherited an old book about him and his grandson Robert Traill Rose (an artist) from my father, who had done some research of his own about this side of the family. I have just spent a rather emotional time pondering genealogy, re-reading this old book – and thinking about its author, Mary Stoddart Tweedie Rose, also an artist and the wife of Robert. I am left wondering if many of my own passions and interests are, in some way, her legacy… Anyway, with this rather tenuous link, let’s explore another aspect of the ‘Roses’, not my ancestry, but their ancestry, symbolism and scent.

Roses have captivated mankind for thousands of years. A quick look reveals just how Continue reading