Spring Scapes




by Musette

I hope everyone has recovered from the sweat and skank and sex of last week’s posts!  I had to take to mah faintin’ couch, I was so overcome.  When I came to, it was Spring in the Illinois Valley, serious weather moodswings and all the weird hail, snow, wind, rain…and then, suddenly, the trees are beginning to bud and bloom and I got the Easter gift of tulipa tarda blossoming under my dining room windows.

I will now commence with the blathering.

The thing I love most about Spring is the element of surprise.  If you are a careless gardener (me), it’s always a crapshoot, these early days – watch what you hoe, Cochise – what looks like a dead piece of stick one day will suddenly push forth chartreuse shoots the next –what is it?  Who knows?  I always mean to do a chart of what I planted in the fall .  Of course, I always mean to learn Mandarin, too.  Uh huh… Nothing scented is up – it’s a chilly spring so the buds and beds are taking their sweet time – it’s actually nice to watch Spring sloooowly unfurl itself, rather than racing up through the dry ground and dying in 36 hrs, as it does when it warms up too fast.  The one scent I am getting a LOT of is…frog.  Yes.  Lots of frog.   I should bottle that and send it to March.

The weather is still too mercurial for complicated scents; I’m loving those quiet, relaxed irises and lilies of the valley – heck, I almost forgot!  It’s time to break out En Passant.  Perfect for a blustery day, with a glass of white wine and a baguette toasting in the oven and a bowl of lilacs on the kitchen counter…yum!  Whenever I try to wear this in winter it brings up my lunch a little – maybe the forced-air heat?  On a rainy, 50F day, it’s just perfect.

Speaking of food Victoria started a lemming for one of my favorite Spring dishes – lemon scented risotto with asparagus – absolutely divine.   And garlic scapes!  I wait all year for Lyn’s crop – like asparagus, they are a harbinger of Spring – and they make a great soup, with toasted croutons and a little shaved Gruyere.  Oh, I’m droooooling.   Could we make a perfume from that?  I would wear it, I swear!


So what says Spring to you?  Perfumewise, foodwise, flower, whatever.   I know we’ve done this before but it’s always fun to see what it means to others. Where I live right now, it’s frogs and the Annual PuppySpitOutTheToad Day (he’s still young – the toads just laugh as they hop away)


  • Kathryn says:

    A symphony of spring peepers at night tells me it must be spring. That’s against all other evidence since there’s still more gray and brown than green here in central Maine and a little pile of snow remains on the north side of the house. I can’t remember a later spring, but nonetheless during the day, the recently unfrozen wood frogs (rana sylvatica) in my pond are making quite a racket. They sound like a flock of turkeys. You can see and hear for yourself at

    However, what is prompting me to write is to say many, many thanks, Musette. for introducing me to the thought of lemon scented risotto with with asparagus. I made some tonight for the first time and it was the best thing I’ve eaten in ages. !’m looking forward to garlic scapes, too. Mine, sigh, are as of yet only about six inches tall. Since it’s still pretty much mud season here, no spring florals for me yet. I’m still clinging to winter comfort scents and when it’s dry enough to work in the garden the woods and orris root of VCA’s Bois d’Iris feel quite harmonic.

    • Musette says:

      Well, we both need to thank V, over at Bois de Jasmin. ’twas her post that reminded me of that beloved dish – it is wonderful, isn’t it? Especially with a glass of crisp Pinot Blanc! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I just talked to my asparagus farmer and we are hoping for them in about 10 days – like you, we are experiencing a cool spring so stuff is a bit behind.

      =)) on the frogs! I feel your auditory pain, though it is nice, in a weird way – we’re right by the river so they are all over the place. Alas, it is Eau du Frog around here, whether we like it or not.

      xo >-)

  • March says:

    Frog!!! What did we find frog in? I forgot.

    • Musette says:

      could it have been an Hermes? I think it might’ve been the Monsoon one ….or was that the Mouse Sex?

      I dunno….but it was funny!

      xo >-)

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    I am keeping an eye out for fiddleheads. You know: the first green shoots of the bracken fern, before they uncurl. Some people call them croziers. Our local food markets carry them, although they are getting harder to find these days, I guess because someone has to go into the swampy woodlands of rural Maine and hand pick them. Still, as long as I can find them, they will be our edible harbinger of Spring, along with rhubarb. Fiddleheads are best when steamed lightly and drizzled with a little lemon butter. They should be showing up any day now…

  • nozknoz says:

    I appreciate the flowers and sunshine, and the departure of cold, but what really thrills me in the spring is the return of green life. I just abhor the gray deadness of winter – dead grass, for crying out loud! – for months at a time :((((((( And especially all the brief special shades of green in the spring – tiny celadon velvet oak leaves, acid green, as Gretchen mentioned, that fresh tender light green of young leaves, and lush dark green grass with dandelions, buttercups, or wild violets in it.

    Finally got some really nice vintage Diorella EdT that I wore over the weekend – perfect spring scent – but suddenly it’s in the 80s and time for hot weather scents already. Crown Bouquet was perfect today.

  • Winifrieda says:

    Aaah spring is two seasons away down here! And like the Florida person above for us it is usually very short, segueing quickly into summer, and tending to being dry…my garden here is established now, but it used to need watering a lot. The birds go mad in the spring, and a few migrants add a different timbre to the chorus.
    On my early spring shelf are the irises, lilacs, Diorissimo; mid spring has the greenies and florals like Chamade. By late spring I have started on the jasmine whites. ‘Love and Tears’ was one of my biggies for the spring-summer transition last year, really beautiful.
    At the moment we are into our warm rainy autumn; its quite hard to break into a routine with the right ‘fumes…seems to need the chypres and patchoulis the most I think!

    • Musette says:

      Oh, that’s right (head smacking!). It’s winter where you are! Still…your winter is my idea of the perfect summer!

      Chypre is perfect for autumn imo!

      xoxo >-)

  • Flora says:

    Of course, my ultimate Spring perfume is Jean Patou Vacances – lilac, hyacinth, mimosa, cut grass, and all the other lovely things it contains. Some others have approached its magic but never very closely.

    I have a large garden so there are plenty of flowers to choose from, but what I really love in the earlier part of Spring are the fragrant Narcissus – some of them are not even really sweet at all, and I don’t even know how to describe it, it’s like cool air rushing past your face, but it’s a smell. Try smelling the one called ‘Cheerfulness’ and you will see what I mean. It’s the real breath of the season to me.

    • Musette says:

      You and I both ^:)^ to the unparalleled beauty of Vacances. You know, I’m actually glad they haven’t reissued that. A poor formulation would probably kill you and me, eh?

      What you get in narcissus is what I get in hyacinth. It’s more about the ‘idea’ than the scent, isn’t it?

      xo >-)

      • Flora says:

        I adore hyacinth too, and it does have that same quality of something not quite sweet, just piercingly fresh and atmospheric. I have noticed that only Spring flowers do this, at least in my experience. and they are always bulbous types.

        I agree, a bad “copy” of Vacances would just about do me in, better to have the memory of its perfection. I still have a little bit left, and I treasure it like gold. (Sobs quietly)

  • Julie says:

    Back home (MD), spring was forsythias, grape hyacinths, crocuses, LotV, and daffodils. Now in San Diego, it’s a bit different. While we do have seasons here, it’s just 2: spring/summer and fall/winter. Spring happens when we get 3 or 4 days in a row over 70 and means star jasmine and jacarandas and loquats and no rain for the next 5-6 months and us poor Southern Californians can go back to wearing flip flops and no jackets!

    But even though we don’t really get spring, I still wear spring scents this time of year. Vintage Diorissimo today, also Kelly Caleche, Cristalle Eau Verte & En Passant.

  • mary says:

    Wisteria. Rhododendrons. Apple blossoms. Lemon blossoms. All the flowers are out, tulips are done. Roses are starting t to peak out. That glass of white wine with abiwl of lilacs on thecounter sounds good! Cheers:)>-

    • Musette says:

      Wisteria. I need to plant a wisteria….:-? ..just need to find something strong enough to attach it to! Where you are is sooo beautiful this time of year.

      Our roses are nothing more than a twinkle in the canes’ eye for now. We’ll see, come June. I have some early tulips but the others are just beginning to think about budding. We’ll see, come May. Ditto lilacs.

      Wine? Now.

      xo >-)

  • Tiara says:

    Spring here in the Ohio valley always means rain. But this year we’ve had more than our share. Rivers are running at or above flood stage. I have to admit I’m a bit tired of the moist earth smell at this point but the azaleas are stunning. They’ve had time to slowly bloom with the cooler temps along with abundant rain.

    I’ve been wearing Défilé New York and Voyage d’Hermes the most. Allergy season is in full swing and thankfully these don’t aggravate mine.

    • Musette says:

      Dang on the floodwaters. Keep your powder dry! We’ve been fortunate here – the Illinois has only hit flood stage once so far and the Mississippi, over by the QCs hasn’t wreaked the havoc She is known for, though they’ve had some flooding already.

      [-o< for drier days for you! xo >-)

  • jen says:

    Ripe mangos.

  • Gretchen says:

    Spring is a prolonged, leisurely season in northern California. In late January, ornamental pears and deciduous magnolias (both much used horticulturally) blossom. A few types of fruit orchards start flowering in February, then different species and varieties continue the blossom parade through April. Lots of soft rain if we’re lucky – if not we have a week or two of sudden summer weather (save those 90F degree days for July, please!) or worse yet, end up with a drought. If the rain is fierce and cold, winter seems to have returned.
    I think after all it’s the return of longer daylight hours that means spring to me – that and the continued flourish of that bright, acid “spring green” in the landscape. Appropriate scents depend on the temperature and relative proportion of sun and cloud; my choices include Chanel no19 and SL Bas de Soie, with Chanel no5 if a colder, more wintery rain storm sets in.

    • Musette says:

      Northern California is beautiful at any time, save the rockslides in late Jan/early Feb (depending upon how north and how coastal you are) – actually I am channeling my early PCH days in Santa Monica, where stopping at the lights was an exercise in terror.

      Then you get to Santa Barbara with that gorgeously weird lilac sky…and it only gets more beautiful as you head north…


      xo >-)

  • Shelley says:

    Smell of frog. I am going to be pondering that one for a while. Yes, please do package it up for March. With one of those surprise snake things in a can. ;)

    I, too, am relishing this slow-developing spring. Nothing crushes me like a 3+ day heat wave in spring just as things were starting to open…everything suddenly opens and wilts and then all you’ve got left is waiting for summer. Something glorious…and much greener…about a slowed-down opening of spring. It’s not majestical–typical word–more meditatively magical, I think.

    Anyway, a few scents of spring, perfumewise. Early spring, still earthy, more about the dirt being exposed and getting wet and things starting to poke up: Silences. Head on spring, with smelly blooms starting to open, but green still thick in the air: Chamade. Won’t commit to fully appearing though you know it will fully enter spring, the kind that can really hang you up the most: En Passant.

    • Shelley says:

      Happy Spring, by the way. :) I am now allowing that yes, it has arrived. :)>-

      • Musette says:

        I was hoping you would weigh in with Chamade. It is beautiful, the epitome of an elegant Spring day!

        And I originally wrote a note to you and March to get up off the floor at my admission that I appreciate, nay, WELCOME a slow Spring.



        and Happy Spring to you, too!

  • Teri says:

    I moved to the Colorado high desert, where I live now, from a little town on the extreme southern tip of Lake Michigan. In the Midwest, spring means lots of moisture, lots of grey skies and thunderstorms grumbling their annoyance at being awoken from winter’s sleep. The Midwest is verdant. You know it’s spring there when you look at a stand of trees in the distance and see the faintest tint of green presaging visible budding and releafing. In the Midwest, spring can come slowly, but it comes in logical steps.

    Here in the high desert, Spring is a herky-jerky affair. One day it’s 80 and sunny, the next day it snows and barely breaks 40. Then suddenly, one day, it’s full summer. You never really know how that happened. Just that it did. The high desert is, by definition, neither moist nor verdant. But occasionally, for a brief moment in Spring, it will rain. Not a lot, maybe a 1/4 over a few day period, if we’re lucky. But to this Midwestern native, that signifies Spring has arrived.

    In the Midwest, we always complained about the rains because they were so often with us. In the high desert, they are a gift. Often, the end of a brief shower is accompanied by a spectacular double rainbow, as if Mother Nature herself realizes what an event rain is here.

    Spring still smells to me of lake water, damp sand, and damp earth; of wet pavement and earthworms chased out of their underground burrows by a soaking rain; of the musty dankness of a Michigan basement and the musk of a dog’s wet coat; of fecundity and of beach detritus.

  • Tom says:

    Here you know spring has really sprung when the Jacarandas bloom. Two streets in my area have them and they have the most gorgeous violet blooms. Blooms that are total butt-pain when they fall, because they leave a sticky residue all over.

    But they are pretty.

  • Alice C says:

    Yes, Spring! In the South it brings Dogwoods, Azalea’s and air conditioning as Ann said! Thunderstorms on the horizon again today with threats of hail and tornadoes…We’ve mowed our grass twice already! The pine pollen has fallen painting everything yellow and the rain has washed it all away! Vivara by Pucci reminds me of all the colors coming out! Yellow, green, orange, white, pink, all over the place. A good Spring scent on this stormy Spring day!

    • Musette says:

      Ooh! sounds perfect! I love Pucci colors, don’t you? With all the rain I have cut our grass twice, too! I use a gas mower (walker) but with gas hitting $4/gal I’m thinking of looking for a reel mower at the next round of garage sales…:-?

      xo >-)

  • mals86 says:

    Ah, spring…

    Lilacs. Dogwood, wild cherry, redbud all in bloom, a hazy wet chalk drawing of purple, green and white. Tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. As the ground warms, the grassy smell of dry manure comes back, and the fresh smell of rain too.

    Little girls in pastel dresses and Mary Janes. Calves running in grass, kicking up their heels.

    Asparagus and strawberries and ham; Aunt Doris’ lemon-coconut pound cake. Wilted lettuce salad.

    The thock-proingggg! of boys playing basketball on the driveway, the mad shrieking of birds when the cat goes outside, the bawling of calves and their mothers in the field behind the house.

    I’ve been wearing every floral scent I can get my hands on! Happy spring, everyone.

    • mals86 says:

      Wilted lettuce recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Wilted-Lettuce-Salad/Detail.aspx

      (except that we southerners use cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar!)

    • Musette says:


      I got such a visual treat yesterday – HUGE parkland across the street (my neighbor’s property). They had family Easter at their house – little 6-7 yr old girl, in an aqua dress with a crisp white sweater, her brother (3?) in yellow and blue plaid shorts with white vest and the other little boy (4?) in lilac and blue (oh, he’s gonna hate his momma later)…anyway, set against that lush green backdrop, it was just gorgeous!

      Most of the cows around here have calved and they are bouncing around the fields like mad.Lots of fun to watch!

      xo >-)

      • mals86 says:

        Oh, goodness… little kids dressed up in Easter egg colors, how adorable!

        Somewhere I’ve got a photo of Bookworm in lilac gingham with puffy sleeves, and Gaze and Taz both in short-sleeved blue shirts and khakis, standing in front of Easter baskets on the hall table…

  • Kate says:

    Spring is my favorite season and here in the mid-Atlantic it starts with the periwinkle, daffodils, tulips and azaleas. We have a gorgeous azalea-scape. Then in true form the spring leaps into 80 degrees! Which makes me a bit cranky. Scents start with En Passant and any and all osmanthus I can find. When it gets hot I reach for Cologne du 68 and Vetiver pour Elle.

    • Musette says:

      Like the PacNorthwest, you guys really know how to ‘do’ azalea! Here we are a bit less focused on them – often it just gets too damn hot. Plus we don’t do the specimens like y’all do. Shame, because they really are beautiful!

      xo >-)

  • EileenS says:

    Spring is an earthy wet green — we can go from bare garden soil to damp and weed-filled in a week. The other prominent note is pollen, clouds and clouds of it.

    If I were to design a scent to match this, I’d take CBIHP Black March and clean it up some (not so much dirt), add a lush green, and then a hint of iris to be the pollen. If Fate is in a good mood, there will be some daffodils to add to this. Sometimes they get beaten down by the rain and give up.

    • Musette says:

      Hon, if you pull that scent together, you save me a bottle, okay? I will be lining up with the rest of us junkies to buy it!

      Pollen….yah. I am being tortured by farmers tilling and laying down anhydrous – it’s pretty brutal. I’ve so appreciated these past few rainy days – no field work and the stuff is out of the air!

      xo >-)

  • capillary says:

    Spring! I’ve developed a sudden taste for florals this year, and am bathing myself in En Passant, OJ Frangipani, Iris Poudre, and Le Parfum de Therese (I’m having a Malle moment, I suppose. If only I could afford full bottles…) I’m also enjoying a strange layering combo of Apres L’Ondee and no. 5, which JCE wrote about once in a magazine and that Bois de Jasmin reposted recently. It’s fun, a bit less shy than A l’O on its own and not as sharp as no. 5 can be on my skin.

    • Musette says:

      That’s a magnificent Malle Moment and I am now….:-? Apres and No5? well, why the heck not? I am not an A l’O fan overmuch because of its slightly cloying shyosity ;)) – but I think I will try that combo out tonight!

      xo >-)

      • capillary says:

        Let me know how it goes! I’m with you on the cloying shyosity ;) – I have to be in the mood for that kind of wilting violet vibe.

  • Catherine says:

    I opened up a new bottle of Mona di Orio Amytis the other day. That scent is only for early spring, so that gesture meant a lot (particularly in MN where we got snow twice last week). Then my new-to-me bottles of A la Nuit and Fleurs d’Oranger have been screaming spring flowers at me for a few weeks now. I love it!

    I also love the scent of mowed grass. I’ve smelled it once so far this year. Nothing is like it!

    • Musette says:

      Aren’t you moving to OK? This should be your last snow-season, right? I so feel your pain on the snow, C. I dunno if I could stand it!

      Are you going to come down before you leave? Let’s chat!


  • Ann says:

    Yep, spring is full of some lovely surprises, although here it’s been in the mid-to-upper 80s and the usual suspects (dogwoods, azaleas) have already bloomed and are now pooped out. I shouldn’t complain but it bugs the stew out of me to have to turn on the A/C in April already, especially knowing it’s going to have to run full-tilt through at least late September, if not longer. OK, rant over.
    The past few days I’ve been wearing Untitled by Maison Martin Margiela and its mix of lovely green, followed by soft incense has been just the ticket.

    • Musette says:

      You will think I am a total loon but the idea of a 90F house, with nothing but fans going, fills me with joy. I loathe A/C.

      UbyMMM sounds like just the ticket!

      xo >-)

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Well, here it Florida it is 87-90F and this week we are having a chance of afternoon thundershowers. In other words: summer. (Without the possibility of hurricanes and the hysteria on the part of the weather reporters attending hurricane season.)

    Regarding toads, aren’t they poisonous. The toads here make the dogs foam at the mouth. Our rat terrier will kill anything but toads because of the foaming mouth thing.

    Florals in general make me think spring, but I only have summer perfumes. These I wear in the heat and humidity of July, August and September, when I am just over it. They include Miel de Bois and NR for her.

    • Musette says:

      Yeah, toads are poisonous. And puppies are stupid! The poison means that all but the most insane dog will immediately spit out the toad. B doesn’t get it in his mouth fully before he’s dropped it, doing the ptui! thing! He only does it once or twice before he gets with the seasonal program…./:)

      xo >-)

  • rosarita says:

    I love April days of showers, then sun, then showers again. The best part of such days (imho) are the maple bud casings all over the sidewalks, meaning the leaves are juuuust ready to finally emerge. Spring is full of surprises, which makes it so special. You never notice a red bud tree in the woods in the summer after all; only in the spring is it outlined in that special purple. I love watching the buds and blooms come out in their special order. Chanel 19 gets wear from me all year but I esp enjoy it in the spring. I have recently been digging out bottles from the back of the cabinet and found Bulgari Omnia & Etro Shaal Nur, which both smell satisfying in changeable weather. Cheers to you, Ms A – maybe the snow is over at last??

    • Musette says:

      I dunno, babe. It’s not July yet – plenty of time for snow to ambush us one last time.

      I KNOW! on the redbuds. This truly is a magical time, innit? Magnolias, redbuds…I have a live oak across the street that is so perverse – I cannot figure out when it actually means to leaf out. But it’s got a maple neighbor that is just starting….:x


  • Fiordiligi says:

    Spring in England is of course flowers, but also very important is the arrival of English asparagus and Gariguette strawberries – oh, and baby Jersey Royal potatoes. All of a sudden it is a pleasure to be vegetarian again after the dull root veggies of winter!

    As for scent, for me it is Chamade with its hyacinth note that reminds me of this season, although I don’t consider myself a “seasonal scent” wearer.

    • Musette says:

      I always wondered about hyacinth and didn’t realize Chamade had that note (No Note Musette, that’s me :”> ). I am digging out my scramb right now and am going to wear it today!

      xo >-)

      Spring produce is the best, innit?

  • Francesca says:

    We’re about a month behind on spring here on mountaintop northern CT, but what says spring to me here is the mingled smell of spicebush and skunk cabbage. Nicer than it sounds.

    • Musette says:

      I know that combo! :d I’m allllll about the spicebush – we yakked about that on the Iris post last week. Funny how it can hit me like a sledgehammer on the wind, that scent, but when I’m right in the bush it’s like I’m anosmic to it.

      xo >-)

  • Meg says:

    I am from Vancouver, so spring usually means “rain” to me. Where I live now, however, it is almost a non-existent season, and I miss it (grass is always greener). It was snowing here only a couple days ago and now, out of nowhere, it’s 65. It’s going to be hot and dry fast, and I’m not sure that anything in my little collection will be up for the challenge..!

    • Musette says:

      I always go for heavy-hitters in the hotter weather (like Tribute Attar in 90F). But that’s me – YMMV!

      What’s in your collection?

      xo >-)

      • Meg says:

        Maybe I will just go with the heat, then! I have lots of gourmand/ ambers frags: Back to black, l de lol, original prada, etc. But it’s also sort of a lie, because I do have some lighter florals: si de lolita, violette in love, and fleur de liane. I think I am just trying to convince myself I can buy more perfume.

  • Daniela says:

    Hmm, eau de frog? Best seller right there :)

    Nothing says spring to me like little crocuses popping up out of the ground. I’m a careless gardener too so I never know what’s going to bloom where, but I think that also adds to the element of joy and surprise. I really love accidentally coming across a happy little bunch of yellow crocuses that have tenderly, hesitatingly come up from the recently frozen ground… not sure what they are going to encounter outside (hail? snow? freezing rain?… sun?), but they are still bravely pushing through. Beautiful!

    On an unrelated note, I tried “Breath of God” today and thought wow… what a killer men’s scent. If a guy came round wearing that, women (or at least me) would swarm him like purring kittens. Very Johnny Depp-esque. Like incense in a wood cigar box.