Spring is springing?

It was glorious here. Then, it wasn’t. Now, it appears we’re returning to glorious. Hoping it sticks this time.

Perhaps the week and a bit of sun and warm, then three days of colder and rain, and now back to sun and warm have spawned proper spring though. Besides the wildflowers, we’re now heavy into lilacs, wisteria, clematis and something very fragrant that may be crepe myrtle. And somewhere on the dog walks I can smell hyacinth, though I can’t see it anywhere. I’m very curious about the output of the two big jasmines in the little garden of the rental, but will have to wait a few months, I think.

(See weird lilac growing within another tree.)

I went to visit the house-house the other day. It’s totally gutted. No back wall in one place (where there are going to be French doors from kitchen into garden and a partial glass roof). You can see through the former kitchen straight up through the former bathroom into the loft space.

My garden there is working on opening up. The Etoile d’Hollande red rose is out and looks glorious. I should have clipped a few blooms to bring back here. Next visit. And I didn’t even manage to look to see how the yellow climber is doing.

In fact, roses are out all over the place in this village except the climber on the right side of the front here. I guess I’ll get a surprise. The wall is west facing so doesn’t get sun till afternoon. Does this seem early for roses?

My tuberoses are all in (fingers crossed now), I’ve got mint and some basil plants. Onward.

This is an old village. Per the village website the more ‘modern’ incarnation is based on a number of Domesday Manors*. Interestingly (or nor) a fair number of Grand Designs**-type houses have been built. Sometimes they work with the older housing stock; sometimes they don’t. But I think the ones that don’t work could be camouflaged adequately with lots of climbing roses, wisteria and clematis.

Anyway, it’s sort of too bad you can’t distil the smell of the village because it’s wonderful. But having said that, a lot of the time when perfumes aim to do just that (eg, ‘get’ the smell of a flower shop) they miss the mark. Some candles seem better at this (eg, Dans l’Atelier de Cezanne [no longer available] really ‘gets’ a painter’s studio; l’Artisan’s Parfum de Feuilles [also no longer available – sigh, these are two of the three candles I brought with me to the rental house] smells of the garden: green leaves, sap, bit of fresh tomato fruit).

Finally, there are horses here – or should I say people keep horses to ride (which they do through the village). I love the smell of horses plus hay etc. In fact, along with that travel size of Carnal Flower I’m still contemplating whatever is the smallest size of the Cartier L’Heure IV Fougueuse. Actually, that’s a fragrance that does fully ‘get’ the smells it set out to capture. Sadly, the 70ml (well, the 2.5 oz) is priced around £240. So, really not happening right now no matter my yearnings.

So, is spring springing where you are? If yes, what does it smell of and are there any perfumes/candles it makes you think of? Finally, which outdoor smell that hasn’t been tried as a perfume do you think should be?

PS Yeast reappeared here (after weeks of nothing anywhere). So, I made soft pretzels. Came out well – appearance: ok; taste: great.



*Domesday Book was compiled in AD 1086 for William the Conqueror. It records the number of households, the economic resources, who owned the land, and the tax paid to the king, for almost every settlement in England.

**A UK Channel 4 programme about self build projects.

Sourcing for all pics: cinnamon’s great camera skills.

  • Patty says:

    Spring smells are amazing – the green, the blooms. I have this lovely Elderberry tree that is pretty old and keep losing branches every windstorm – it’s Kansas, that’s every other month from spring to October – and it is loaded with buds right now, and they’ll be opening soon. when it blooms, I literally sit in a chair nearby and try to drink it in, save it all up for another year. I don’t have any lilacs save one here, need to fix that. I want to add cherry trees this winter. There are a bazillion pink ladies that keep multiplying. Coolest things – great green lily-like bunches of leaves sprout up early, early, spring, then disappear. In late July, a spire shoots straight up with an amazing lily-smelling pink flower on it. Love the things! My peonies I planted last year or the fall before survived, and they look healthy and like peonies should, so their sophomore year gives me hope that they will live. I’ve never had peonies live and bloom before, but am hoping! I can never find too many things that really capture the thing, it’s always close or more abstract, and that’s okay for me. I love the real thing, there is nothing else like it!

  • March says:

    There is the most INTENSE lilac blooming up the street…. I love watching as people walk past it, then lift their heads up and whip them around, trying to figure out where that fragrance is coming from! The property owner saw me out there admiring the blooms and promptly clipped some off and handed them to me. My bedroom smells glorious.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Lilacs are just glorious and it’s lovely that the property owner was happy to share. My mother used to steal branches from trees she liked after dark, so in theory no one would notice.

  • gwenyth2 says:

    I live in Idaho/Rocky Mountains. We are blessed with plenty of fresh air, trees, sagebrush and grasses. Currently, this is still “early Spring” weather with very crisp mornings which then warm up nicely (Still cool all the way through April)
    Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk captures the smell of a sun-warmed forest. Serge Lutens Chergui and Parfums de Nicolai La Vie en Chateau capture the mood of grasses drying in the sun. Maison Louis Maris Bois de Balincourt (in the far drydown) captures the scent of dry air and trees.

    • Cinnamon says:

      What does sagebrush smell of? Chergui is amazing, though not on me. We’ve still got a lot of woodsmoke smell going in the evening as things cool down a bit by around 7 pm.

      • gwenyth2 says:

        To me, Sagebrush is the smell of the American West. It grows over huge parts of the landscape from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. The fragrance is clean, sharp and as cool as the smell of winter. Call it camphor blended with a touch of Christmas. Crush a few leaves between your fingertips and the scent is suddenly somewhat bitter and more pungent. Let the sprig dry for a few hours and you’ll find that the fragrance gradually loses its bite, softening to crisp evergreen with a hint of berry. If one brushes against the leaves, the smell will transfer to clothes and skin….some people call it “Cowboy Cologne”. 🙂

  • Dina C. says:

    Hi Cinnamon! Here in Virginia, the early spring bulbs, cherry blossoms, redbud trees and dogwood trees are all done now. We’re into iris and azalea time now. Everything is vivid green, and oak tree pollen is in the Very High range unless it’s just rained. Some iris have a faint, wonderful scent, but azaleas have almost none. Fresh-mown grass is the prevailing scent I guess.

    • Cinnamon says:

      We’ve got the beginning of irises as well, but none seem to have a scent. Heavy pollen here too and all kinds of little annoying flying things. Sometimes you can hear the horses running behind the hedge rows — can definitely smell them — that leather, sweat, hay scent.

  • Musette says:

    your village sounds glorious! I’m in a small 1,400 person village (though it calls itself a city, bless its hort) and we have horses on the streets, especially during Sale Barn season. Narcissus season is coming to a close here – I just spent a lot of ‘bending over’ time deadheading daffodils, thinking that it would be a very difficult scent to replicate in perfume. For example, the Jonquilla (division 7) daff ‘Sailboat’ smells like lemon chiffon pie, hay and a faint touch of scat. Sounds awful – but it’s quietly lovely!

    No roses here for another month. But when they do pop, Therese Bugnet will fill the air with fabulousness!


    • Cinnamon says:

      I’m not sure about the population size for this village, but I’m pretty sure it’s bigger than 1,400. How can yours call itself a city??? Will have to look up the rose. The daffs are done here, but I passed a wisteria that smelled of pepper, like a lily, and a bit of cardboard.

  • Bee says:

    Spring definitely here in West London. Tons of blossom on trees – and brambles everywhere! We don’t invest much in the garden of our rental house. We bought a rose bush for a container so it will travel on with us. It’s a hybrid tea called’ Dawn Chorus’ which has lovely fragrant orange blooms – or will do eventually. It’s in memory of our beloved Keeshond Katy who died last year at the grand age of 16 and a half! (Very old for the breed) Her kennel name was Liefkees Dawn Chorus – she and all her littermates were named after roses. She always smelled of wonderfully of vanilla musk and bread. I hope the rose survives the greenfly and all the other bugs (I am spraying with dish soap + water) to live as long and joyfully as she did.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I love the idea that Katy was named for a rose and that once she was gone you could actually buy the plant in her memory. Fingers crossed regarding green fly etc. Maybe also try wiping down leaves with isopropyl alcohol. I recall my mother doing that with plants.

  • Ariel says:

    Re: the hay smell. Have you tried Equestrian from Sonoma Scent Studios? It’s been my go-to during this hay-fever week 🙂

    • Cinnamon says:

      Alas, Ariel, I don’t think SSS is available here. Especially post the changes to what could ship where. I’ll have to look it up.

      • Ariel says:

        Arrrrrrrrrg. Sorry to recommend something that may not be available. Let me know if I can be of help.

  • Portia says:

    Heya Cinnamon,
    I can feel the blooming of spring in your article as we head into the cooler months and our trees are colouring up.
    Also, we love candles around here too. There are always a few stuck around the place at various levels of burnt.
    Village life looks so good but I’m not sure Jin is cut out for it, nor me if I’m honest. Though having just spent 5 weeks within a one km radius, except for three trips (two family, one shopping) outside it. It may be doable.
    Enjoy spring.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      it is a strange thought — that as we move towards warmer weather, you move towards colder.

      I wouldn’t have believed years ago that I’d be content in a village, but I am. But sometimes I yearn for the city, mostly with regard to friends still there and food 🙂