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Scents Make Sense


The scent overwhelmed me as I stood with my back to the wooden door for support. The heavy fragrance of lilies, roses, and rhododendrons filled the air and my nostrils! Sounds like I am in a foreign country, doesn't it? I am in the centre of Dublin city in the Botanic Gardens!

Fragrance, scents and aromas have always been of interest to me as long as I know myself! The colours, beauty, and perfume all collectively transport me to a happy time and a place in my mind's eye where I regularly meditate. It is a great stress buster for me, the scent, the sense of peace, just wonderful.

The Botanic Gardens is a favourite place of mine to visit,  to admire the plants and shrubs, experience the different scents, and remember when my grandfather Roche, my Dad's father, took me to in summertime.  The glasshouses were just incredible, the temperature and the variety of tropical plants growing in there always intrigued me. Each time we saw a new plant or shrub he would tell me the name in English, the botanical name, what plant family it came from and then, of course, the name ‘as Gaeilge!’

When I got the opportunity to study aromatherapy, I was very comfortable with the botanical names of the plants the oils were extracted from, as my childhood was full of those references, thanks to my Grandad!

I am very particular about the perfumes that I wear. Many times I bought some to discover when I applied it, it wasn't what it smelled like in the bottle.  Well, everyone's chemical makeup is very different. The result we get when we apply perfume or a fragrant body creme depends on the chemical interaction between the perfume molecules and each person's chemical constitution as we are all unique and individual. The pH balance in the skin plays a role too. How acidic the skin is will play a part in determining the outcome of the scent. Myself I like to stay with essential oil perfume. I know a lot about essential oils as I am a trained Aromatherapist. I know the purpose of each and what blends well together.

Scents go a lot further than just a fragrance, they have the power to transport us back in time, to childhood, to a special event, or just a happy time. They also help us to relax and rejuvenate. The limbic system is stimulated by the activity brought about by our five senses. The memory of an event is then connected and associated with the fragrance and stored in the memory bank.

I loved visiting my grandparents' back garden, it was a haven of safety and contentment. They lived two houses away so I could go there every day if I wanted to. The key was left in the hall door and we could let ourselves in. My Nana was a sweet soul, I always wanted to be like her when I became a Nana. She loved us visiting and was a big fan of nature, sunshine seaside and playing outdoors. My Grandad was a super gardener and grew lots of beautiful flowers, vegetables, and berries in the garden.

Entering the garden the fragrance would just waft over me. I remember it every time I think of that garden, and every time I smell a lily or a rose or a rhododendron. An archway of pink wild roses brought you in and the plants of every variety were there right in front of you, the aroma and all the colours. Just heavenly.

The raspberries were picked of course every time I went in, when they were in season, the fragrance of them, and the taste, were just delicious.  The vegetables were way up the top of the garden, cabbage, onions and of course, peas, which we shelled when they were ripe to pick.

The little stone seat was made from a slate of rock mounted on two large stones. It was a magical seat. I played there with tea sets, dolls prams and my best friend and siblings. Nana would give us milk and bread with blackcurrant jam and sometimes allowed us to wear her high heels, which were not really high but very suitable for playing grownups.

So look already just talking about scents has stimulated my sense of smell activated my limbic system and brought me back some six decades to being a small child with no responsibilities other than how comfy my doll was in her pram.

So do your scents make sense, are you as connected to them as I am?

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