One thing you can’t get away from in the floristry business is fragrance. In fact, when it comes down to beautiful scents, working at a florist shop is probably only rivaled by being on the perfume counter in a department store.
Indeed, many of our florists will tell you that the first thing nearly every customer says when they walk into their shop is ‘what a wonderful smell!’ We assume they are referring to the flowers of course!
Scented flowers add an extra-dimension to the beauty of flowers. Here’s a guide to our favourite varieties…
In most cases that distinctive sweet smell you get on entering a florist shop is due largely to lilies- usually the big showy oriental variety which has a heavy and unmistakable scent. Not all lilies are so strongly scented though, the longiflorum (trumpet shaped flower) have a sweet scent which is not as pungent as the oriental, and the Asiatic varieties, sometimes called Tiger lilies, don’t have a discernible scent at all, so if you’re a hay fever sufferer then those are the ones for you.
There is an old wives tale regarding lilies which warns that removing the stamens will shorten their vase life and reduce their scent. It doesn’t actually make any difference, but removing the pollen covered stamens does save you the trouble of getting your clothes and skin coloured bright yellow should you brush pass them when they are fully mature!
Freesias also have a gorgeous scent although inexplicably some colours smell more than others – yellow and white tend to be very strong whereas purple and lilac don’t seem to be as noticeable. They will also have a stronger scent in their natural season which is the spring, this rule seems to apply to most scented flowers.
Roses are also famous for their scent, although unfortunately many of the large headed Dutch roses have had the smell bred out of them in return for long stems and increased vase life. But there are plenty of other scented flowers out there which you may not be so familiar with, stocks, phlox and tuberose are just the most gorgeous scented summer flowers, as are peonies and there are some orchids, most notably the Cymbidium or Boat Orchid which has a delicate, lemony scent.
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