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Sweet Pea Perfume Newsletter

sweet peasThe season of fragrant sweet peas is upon us in the Pacific Northwest. This spring I helped my mom plant a long row of the old fashioned climbing types and now they are in full bloom exhibiting their rich fragrant beauty and elegant butterfly forms with their rich pastel colors. This flower and its fragrance has been dear to me since the time over 25 years ago when my mom and I had a small half-acre flower farm in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sweet Peas were one of the first flowers we grew for the local farmers market. In the beginning our land was very deficient in organic matter and nutrients and in the space we allotted for growing sweet peas, we only were able to pick 25 bouquets the first year. But within a couple of years the same area was yielding 250 bouquets of exquisite fragrant blossoms due to improving the soil with compost and grew manure crops. One of the vivid memories of that era was sitting in my room on the 2nd story of our turn of the century renovated farmhouse in the evening as the cool of evening approached and being washed in an aromatic bath of sweet pea aroma as it wafted into the room on the breeze.

This perfume has been created to commemorate the wonderful experience of being in the presence of Sweet Peas over the years--a delectable, rich sweet ethereal fragrance with a fine green/earthy undertone. These small experiments in natural perfume making are a treasure to participate in. Even though one might not be able to capture perfectly the multidimensional experience of garden-grown Sweet Peas, still one can endeavor to paint and aromatic picture of their beauty and fragrance using the wonderful palette of natural essences now available to the aspiring perfumer. There is nothing quite like the simple joy one gets of endeavoring to creating something elegant and beautiful to share with others.

Sweet Pea Perfume recipe

6 oz. Champa White Leaf eo
1/4 oz. Tuberose Abs.
1/8 oz. Rose de Mai Abs.
1/8 oz. Rose Otto
1/8 oz. Orange Blossom Abs
1/8 oz. Neroli eo
1/8 oz Genda/Tagetes Attar
1/4 oz Jasmin sambac co2
1/16 oz Kewda Ruh
1/4 oz Lemon verbena eo
1/4 oz Champa White CO2

Sweet Peas in Literature

Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.
--from "I Stood Tip-Toe Upon A Little Hill"
by John Keats

There is something so utterly gentle and tender about sweet peas, something so endearing in their clinging , winding , yielding growth; and then the long straight stalk, and the perfect winged flower at the top, with its soft, pearly texture and wonderful range and combination of colors, all of them pure, all of them satisfying, not an ugly one, or less beautiful one among them. And in the house, next to a china bowl of roses, there is no arrangement of flowers so lovely as a bowl of sweet peas, or a Delf jar filled with them. What a mass of glowing, delicate colour it is! How prettily, the moment you open the door, it seems to send its fragrance to meet you! And how you hang over it, and bury your face in it, and love it, and cannot get away from it
--from The Solitary Summer
By Elizabeth

The sweet peas stood up in long trellised rows on either side of a tiled sweet peasgarden path. They were so high they hid the two women from each other. Pale yellow and mauve, scarlet and the blue of summer skies, flesh pink and deepest violet, the sweet peas made a wall of dancing, tip-tilted color.
It was like being surprised by an army of butterflies. The garden beyond them was drowsy with the humming of bees among the lavender bushes.
--from The Kingfisher
By Phyllis Bottome

There came a puff of wind fro the end of the garden, and next moment the whole air was redolent with the scent of sweet peas. Sweet peas! How strangely, vastly more intimate is the sense of smell than any other. How at one whiff of an odour the whole romance of life, its beautiful joys and scarcely less beautiful sorrows, the dust of struggle and the glory of it, rises up, clad not in grey robles, or standing in the dim light of the past, but living moving breathing-part of the past, perhaps, but more truly part of the present.
--from A Reaping
By Edward Frederic Benson

From the tangled garden where once the Doctor's mother had wandered in so many conscientious hours, diffusing harmony with soft hands, and bending stubborn herbage to her gentle will, the girl culls blossoms from the pouting wilderness: marguerites and pendent fuchsia; roses and blue borage; snap-dragon and aerial sweet peas, hovering in great scented clusters like tinted butterflies; so numerous that the morning dew lies littering on their wings till noonday.....
--from The Doctor's Lass
By Edward Charles Booth

And you can put bowls of flowers there, strong, sturdy, velvety wall-flower that burst into scent when the sun touches it; many coloured luminous sweet peas, with petals veined as a baby's temples, and with a breath sweet as a baby's sigh....
--from More Letters to My Son
By Winifred James

She was strolling bareheaded down the long paths, with her face turned slightly upward that the sunlight might fall there, and she was drinking deep of the sea air, mingled with the fragrance of sweet peas and of tall yellow lilies. Who made this enchanted garden, she was wondering, with its high walls of stone that reached to brown rocks, beyond which the blue sea rolled in? It was guarded by spruce trees and cedars, of deeper and softer green than those farther inland, breaking the splendor or its color where beds of red or yellow roses lay.
--from The Coming of the Tide
By Margaret Pollock Sherwood

Soon she went downstairs. All was silent in the house as if it had been the timeless hour before dawn, but through the open door and open windows there poured the warm fragrance of the flowering and fruitful summer and west wind into which had been distilled the smell of newly-mown grass, of crimson rose, of sweet peas, and all the scents of the summer garden.....
--from Margery
By Edward Frederic Benson

For those who wish to enjoy the deep pleasure of growing their own sweet peas, they may wish to explore the catalog of Fragrant Garden Nursery. They specialize in Sweet Peas: