greentapestry : 'Led By The Nose'

Friday, 28 January 2011

'Led By The Nose'

Long before I had a garden, I used to treat myself sometimes at this time of year to a little posy of snowdrops, from a local florist which was on the way home from work. They were tightly wrapped in a large deep green ivy leaves. When I bought my very first bunch home and placed then in a small jug, I was amazed to discover that these little flowers are quite highly scented. In the garden the scent of snowdrops can be elusive unless it is a particularly still, warm day or you can still perform the contortions needed to bring your nose to the flowers. Although I have my own garden now, I still pick a few snowdrops each winter to bring indoors so that I can  appreciate their scent at close quarters - to my nose it is a subtle but delicious honey scent. Some snowdrops are said to be more scented than others and exude their own distinct perfume e.g. galanthus 'Ginns' Imperati' smells of bitter almonds.

The title of this post was inspired by Jenny Joseph's (she also penned that well known poem 'Warning : When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple') book 'Led By The Nose' which takes you through the year in terms of the smells that you encounter in the garden, not only through plants but also through the various cyclical activities that go on in most gardens. There are various lists towards the end of the book including one of the twelve months and what you might be smelling in each. The list for January is thinner than many other months but there are still a surprising number of pleasures to be savoured.

This is my first entry for Blooming Friday over at Katarina's 'Roses and Stuff' blog - the theme this week is scents.


  1. Snowdrops.Fantastic flowers they bloom while the snow is still left.

    Have a great weekend

  2. Yes I agree with Gunilla. I love this little flower and I am so glad that I have a double snowdrop in my garden.
    I wish you a happy weekend.

    My entry is here

  3. Hi Anna,

    The book sounds lovely, and as I become more experienced with gardening and discovering the delights some plants offer in terms of scent it is certainly I can imagine I would enjoy reading!

    I'm currently looking forward to my Sweet box flowering, then the Skimmia, Forsythia and so on! :D
    Can't say I've noticed Snowdrops have a scent, but I'll check tomorrow or when they're next fully open!

  4. Have you ever tried growing them in pots to bring indoors? I know people do this with crocus so I wonder if snowdrops would work or whether the house would be too warm

  5. I love the honey scent of Galathus elwesii, too bad I have to practically lay on my belly to get a whiff. I don't think florists around here sell snowdrop blooms, or I'd buy some. Mine are under a foot of snow now.

  6. Sometimes I like to stand in my garden, shut my eyes, and concentrate on what I can smell. My favorite plants are those that have wonderful frangrance. Amazing that a plant's smell has the power to stay with us, evoking memories many years later.

  7. I haven't seen any snowdrops in bloom yet this year, something still to look forward to.

  8. Åhhh lovely flowers!
    Have a nice weekend!

  9. I adore snowdrops. We don't have many, but the clumps are slowly clumping. I must remember to try smelling them when they bloom. Last year I was amazed at how the perennial wallflowers perfumed the whole garden for months. I'm currently trying to chase down the source of a lovely and delicate perfume in my garden. I have no idea what it is. The book looks delightful, I shall add it to my list, probably for my next garden.

  10. Hi Anna, I'm a relatively new convert to snowdrops and like Liz I never associated them with scent. I love the image of your snowdrop posy and you walking home with it. I must lookout for them in florists here to see if they sell them.

    Nice to see you joining Katarina. I keep meaning to and then the week runs away from me. Wishing you a great weekend. Enjoy your birdwatch if you do it :-D

  11. It's true that the scent of Snowdrops can be missed..unless you bend down or, as you say, put them in a vase. -I do long for my snowdrops!
    The title of that book makes me want to read it!

  12. I hadn't realized snowdrops are scented. As soon as the buds are fully opened I'll be down there chin on the ground sniffing!

    The book looks good - will try and get it from the library - I do love garden scents.

  13. Yes I can't see many people getting down on their hands and knees in January to smell Snowdrops - the bunch indoors is a much more attractive option!


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- Anna.