Purple Prose

I. Hate. Everybody.  Y’all ever have That Day?  I’m in menopause, so I’ve been having them a bit more often than I’d like – and what’s interesting is, I have no real reason to be all Hatey.  I think it’s just the weather, which is absurd here – careening from the minuses to the mid-50s and back again, all within 36 hrs.  And according to March, Mercury is in Retrograde, which is never a good thing……

but hyacinths are saving me!   hyacinthI have 8 pots blooming in my dining room and 8 more just coming up on the plant shelves.  I only grow the purples since I find them to be the most fragrant.  But….what is it about hyacinths (and most Spring bulbs) …their scent is so elusive?  And, unlike roses and other Summer flowers, there is always the Dirt Component.  You know my adoration of Liz Zorn’s Violets & Rainwater, which combines the light sweetness of Spring violets with the ozonic splash of the first raindrops on concrete, with a ribbon of loamy dirt running through, like a pot of violets on a New York sidewalk in the rain…..(omg will you never shut UP about that, Musette?).  Hyacinths are much the same, in my opinion – I have never been able to separate the flower from the green stem – and the dirt.

What is it about Spring and dirt?   CBIHP’s Black March has that loamy, wet, dirt essence…..though I miss the flowers.  What is it about purple flowers and dirt?   Violets, Pansies (and some are stunningly fragrant), lilacs, hyacinths…all are improved with a touch of dirt.  There was this inexpensive, weird little wisteria scent (hang on, I’mo try to see if I can find an image ).  I can’t remember much of anything about it other than it came in an hourglass bottle and said ‘Wisteria’……squirrel!  While looking through Teh Google for that bottle….look what I found!   A wisteria necklace!!!  Lord ha’ mercy, isn’t this gorgeous?

Kelly Jones wraptillion.com

Kelly Jones wraptillion.com

But back to the perfume – what is it about purple flowers?  I only like it when they have green & dirt in the mix.  Tom Ford has a Hyacinth but the hyacinth is fleeting, with the green and other florals taking over (it’s very, very pretty!).  I wonder if that’s similar to the anosmia that ionone-rich violets engender that they short-circuit our sense of smell (per Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses, one of my favorite books about smell)  – I dunno and you all know I am not about to play the academic here – what I do know is that all purple flowers do better with the dirt.  A little rainwater doesn’t hurt, either!


Leaving you with this:



  • LaDona says:

    Peri-menopause has been….enlightening. No one really prepares you for the vast number of embarrassing things that go wrong…many times, simultaneously. On the bright side, every day is an adventure! Waking up, you have no clue if this will be that rare, “normal,” day. And if it starts that way, you can be sure that it may not end as such. Sweat suddenly springing forth from every pore! One second you are fine, the next you are hotter than the Gobi in summer! And bright red…always good to face the world looking like a boiled beet. Swearing loudly and creatively at strangers because they DARE exist in my universe. And the gastrointestinal vagaries, my personal favorite. Flatulence is underrated. Oh, and the persistent weight-gain. My ass is the size of Cuba, moving rapidly toward the Florida coast. It. Is. AWESOME!

    I have become, THAT woman. The good news is, there is wine…and while it will not get rid of any of the above, it can make you care a helluva lot less about them.

    At this point, I am even mad at the flowers, but perhaps something fragrant and vivid will take the edge off.

    Wait….what were we talking about here?

  • malsnano86 says:

    I love hyacinths. I love them. Every spring I buy the potted ones so I can have them in the house (yeah yeah, I do have a hyacinth vase but forgot to buy a bulb to prechill last fall)… then I plant them in the yard.

    I really did not like that TF Ombre de Hyacinth – it was so darn chilly and metallic. (Same deal with Bas de Soie, unfortunately.) My favorite fresh-hyacinth scent of late was Smell Bent’s Florist’s Fridge, because it was fresh and dewy with a bit of chill and a bit of green, but no dirt. Violets & Rainwater was sort of genius for that.

    • Musette says:

      If Liz never did another perfume in her life I would still laud her forever and forever more, for that dirt note therein.


      ps. this is the first year that I remembered to chill ALL the bulbs – I’m feeling a bit smug (so watch the Universe bite my bulby-butt come next year! bwahahaha!)

  • Caroline says:

    Vintage Silences features hyacinth and absolutely evokes spring–and is easy to find & inexpensive to boot. Hmmm, may have to dig for the springtime stash…

  • Tiara says:

    I am hoarding the last of my Violets and Rainwater….it has to be the right kind of day for me to wear it so I can enjoy it to its fullest. When it’s gone, it’s gone since Liz is no longer selling it which makes me a bit nuts. One of my all-time faves. (insert a heavy sigh here)

    • Musette says:

      Don’t give up hope. She has not completely ruled out bringing it back. I have a little scrab left and, like you, hoard!!!


  • mikasminion says:

    I was thinking of dirt perfumes just yesterday. Wild Hunt is my preferred poison but Black March and Under the Arbor are tied for second. It has been warm enough here for short sleeves and yard work so “we” tilled the big garden at my Mom’s yesterday. Talk about grumpy! Who builds a huge raised bed with perennials in the center and around the edge?! There is no way to till with a large tiller so the little electric one that has to be pulled has to work. That means that one has to carefully step backwards over the plants at the edge and off the foot and a half step to finish tilling a row on one end and find footing among the day lilies on the other. Oh, there are also permanent bean fences set diagonally here and there. Even the cat tired of my cursing and abandoned me fairly quickly and my husband didn’t last a minute being snarled at.
    Aaaaanyway, the up-to-my-knees-ness made me fantasize about dirt that smelled less like compost and didn’t make me sneeze and I will be pulling out my CBIHPs when I get home. Sorry all of you up north are so cold but just think of the work you would be doing if you weren’t.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! Been there with those ‘cute’ beds!!! Aiiiiiy! You are a good daughter! I would LOVE to be working in the garden right now but we had a thaw, immediately followed by a deep freeze. Just getting from the driveway to the porch is an exercise in terror!


  • Ann says:

    Hi, darling! Love those purple wisterias — gotta get my sniffer into some! Sorry to hear you’re cranky; me, too, but I really can’t blame it on hormones — can you say “ADHD teenager”? 🙂

  • poodle says:

    It’s gonna be a long time before I see any dirt or purple flowers. Well, that’s not totally true, I got dirty snow. That doesn’t count though. Would it make you happy to know that I’m cranky and hormonal too? Misery loves company right?

    • Musette says:

      Oh, sweetie…I feelz ya! FEEEELZ YA! I lost my mind in Autumn and started chilling hyacinth bulbs in both crispers – at one point El O threatened to EAT them! LOL! xoxoxoA

  • Portia says:

    You can be quite sure I’ll smell like dirt….
    Portia xx

  • Nina Z says:

    So interested to hear that you think the purple ones smell best! I’ve been meaning to buy a few for myself–as I love their scent–and now I know which color to get!