All That Green

Most guests who come to my Summer garden are gobsmacked by the ridiculous profusion of lilies, peonies and roses – and for good reason:  I haz a LOT of them and the sight and smell is outrageous.  But a select few often bypass those flaunting beauties in favor of the subtler loveliness of my foliage borders.   Foliage gardens are interesting in their stealth-bombery; at first glance it’s just ‘oh.  some green stuff’.  But a well done foliage garden can hold your interest long after the exotic scents and showy blooms have exhausted your senses.  There’s a reason so many contemplative gardens are created solely of green (even to the point of clipping the fragrant flowers of hostas) – the repetitive colorway and general absence of scent removes the distraction of overt color and fragrance while still providing emotional cushioning; you can choose to explore the myriad textures and shapes or you can ignore it, allowing all that Green to blur, helping you to direct your focus inward.  Damb difficult to ignore a stand of intensely fragrant 8′ tall lilies.

And sometimes All That Green, especially in dappled sunlight, just flattens out the curves and spikes… and allows you to think of nothing at all… to just Be.  I’m a huge fan of that state, loving to sit in the garden and let the Green wipe every cognitive impulse clean out of my head.  Sitting there, in that green, I can feel my pulse slow, my breathing ease… and without even trying, suddenly the only thing in my psyche is the drone of bees or wondering whether I have 2 hummingbirds in the garden or 3 (it’s usually 3). I can’t force that state – I can’t even ooch it into thinking about happening- it only seems to exist in the afterthought of its having happened (does that make sense?).  And it can exist for 30 seconds… or 3 hours.  It is master of its own fate (at least until the phone rings).


I was trying to come up with a perfume or two to compare to that All. That. Green. feeling but am coming up short because the whole point of what I’m babbling about is NOT the green itself (is it?) – it’s more how the green (especially dappled in sunlight) works to soothe one’s soul.  Alas, most of the relentlessly Green scents I’m thinking of are, surprisingly, not that easygoing.  Ma Griffe, Vent Vert, Envy, Cristalle… all of them demand a decent amount of attention.  Do any of you have any thoughts on this?   Tell me about them and I’ll have TGirl poke. that. pawnail. for some fun samples.

Oh!  and I haz a winner for the Sol de Janiero!  kathleen

gmail your evilauntieanita with your deets, remind me of what you won (I think you’ll love this one – I did!) and I’ll get it out to you!

  • Dina C. says:

    Silences is a forest green to me.

  • Ariel says:

    Naomi Goodsir’s Nuit de Bakelite is a really rich and calm green on me (plus tuberose).

  • crikey says:

    Hmm. I like greens that bite back but… how about the not exactly soothing, but not spiked, and far more full of generous life than the mean greens: Papillon’s Dryad, which holds a long afternoon of dappled light? or, Eau de Jane for a mellowed out green god daughter of the old school?

    The sideways thought is the lush/gorilla perfume “the smell of weather turning” that is more the green of fast clouds moving over the hills than the deep foliage under a tree.

  • Maya says:

    What you’re describing sounds like a wonderful meditative state. I cannot seem to do it. When I try to meditate, I end up in a schizo state instead. My mind speeds up and I tell it to “shut up” and it says”make me”. Pretty funny since it’s all me. Perhaps a perfume that’s heavy on oakmoss like Rogue’s Chypre-Siam would have a soothing effect. I connect oakmoss with forests, all green and brown and still and quite magical at twilight.

    • Musette says:

      That’s what I meant about not knowing it’d happened until after it had happened – this is not a state you can will. There are times when I can’t believe what a fugue state I’d been in – but every time I try to relax it never happens. So now I just go out there with no expectations. Seems to work.


  • Cinnamon says:

    Hmmm… green for me in perfumery usually means sharp or that boggy thing. Eau de l’Artisan (I think that’s the name) tried to do interior of a florist but I recall it being a bit sweet. Your green just looks so lush and beautiful. Definitely good for the soul. My peonies (only one plant) are blooming. Very pale pink. I am quite excited about the dahlias, one of which has buds!

  • Jo Ann says:

    Hi Musette, think you are describing the “Flow State”. I’ve been there a time or two when gardening (or painting, or with dance long ago). Boy do I wish I could visit your garden. Each time you write of it, it sounds so lovely.
    All the best to you and Portia, and, March, and Cinnamon, and Patty, and Tara and all the rest of the P.Posse!

  • Portia says:

    Yep, got two dappled green scents for you Musette. They are quiet and reflective.
    Sampaquita by Ormonde Jayne and Peau d’Ailleurs by Starck
    I think they might work for you.
    Portia xxx

    • Musette says:

      oh! Those are on my ‘to try’ list! I should’ve known you would have some quiet and reflective greens! Thanks, honeydoodle! xoxo

  • Tara C says:

    I agree, green scents do not usually produce the soothing effect that a luxuriant green view provides. I can sit for hours and contemplate greenery, lowering my blood pressure and enjoying all that oxygen, no flowers required. Here on Vancouver Island I smell mostly delicate pine mixed with salt air, which is a wonderful combination. A bit of wild rose can be wonderful as well. DS & Durga Rose Atlantic comes to mind.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, I am seriously jelly about your living on Vancouver Island – so lovely!!! that DS&Durga sounds intriguing – I’ll have to see if I still have a sample (I used to have a bunch of DS&D samples) Thanks for the recommendation!