As fate would have it I spent my career as a professional horticulturist which included starting a fresh and dried cut flower farm with my mom in the Sierra Nevada mountains, working on a farm in India from 1971-1976, establishing a food producing and ornamental landscape for Village Homes in Davis, California and serving for 10 years as a lead gardener and assistant garden superintendent on the Filoli Estate south of San Francisco.Those who are interested in gardening may enjoy looking at the Village Homes and Filoli websites.
Even now Suzanne and I enjoy having a large ornamental and herb garden around our house in Port Angeles that is populated with conifers, heaths, heathers, peonies, many varities of thyme, maple trees etc.
This intense involvement with flowers, shrubs, vines, trees, herbs, etc brought me in contact with many old fashioned flowers which possess wonderful odors and last year I decided to try my hand at recreating these aromas using natural absolutes, essential oils, attars, co2 extracts etc. The idea behind these perfume creations was not to perfectly duplicate the fragrance of each flower but rather to capture the spirit of the flower in the settings in which I experienced them. Daphne, White Magnolia, Sweet Pea, Freesia, Lilac and several others are ones that I have created recipes for along with small batches of the perfumes themselves and I will be sharing this information over the next year.
My first experience with the celestial scent of daphne flowers came while working on the Filoli Estate. I was in charge of the area around the mansion and on the north border of the house was a border containing a large number of daphne shrubs. One cool morning in early March, I was planning out my days schedule and as I moved towards the north side of the house a wonderful lilting, sweet divine odor engulfed me. As I had never smelled daphne flowers before I did not know where this scent came from but its pure, sweet, innocent nature captivated my attention and after a short search I found its source. There was in the midst of its elegant, sweet, jasmine-neroli floral bouquet a light, fresh ethereal citrus note intermingled with a delightful vanilla accord. The memory of that experience remains etched in my mind and from that time onward I cherished the experience of inhaling this precious essence in the early spring. Today we have several species of daphne in our garden which provide a fine spring aromatic elixir.