It is an interesting fact that our sense of smell is linked to our brains in such a way that it has the ability to remind us of the occasion when we first encountered the particular fragrance. When you smell a flower today you can be transported back many years and reminded of a person or place with which that scent is associated. I came across an article by Dr Rachel Petherman from the Learning With Experts website which explores this experience in more detail.
The Scented Garden Expert is a new MyGardenSchool course by Dr Rachel Petheram. Rachel is a florist and a gardener who grows her own flowers. In her new course she shares her knowledge of growing scented flowers for cutting and her love of fragrance in the garden. Few of us can resist a frilly, fragrant bunch of sweet peas or deliciously scented velvety rose. However we don’t choose the plants we grow for fragrance often enough.
I grow masses of scented flowers in my cutting garden. For me, scent is just as important as colour texture and form both in a hand-tied bouquet and in the garden. Scent has the ability to take us back to a forgotten moment in our past and to remind us strongly of people and places. I think of my mum every time I smell lily of the valley or of my grandad when I smell tomatoes in a greenhouse – we will all react to particular scents which conjure up places, people and the past.
The reason that scent does this to us is because, of the five senses, only our sense of smell is linked directly to the limbic lobe of the brain, our emotional control center. Fear, anxiety, anger, passion, love, hate and joy all emanate from this region of the brain and can be directly influenced by scent.
This explains why scent is a powerful tool for bringing back memory or eliciting an emotional response. No other sensory system has this type of intimate link with the emotional centres of our brain. It is particularly important for me as a wedding florist to ensure that I have plenty of scented plants to use – often weddings can be very overwhelming and couples may not notice all the details of the flowers around them but they will remember the scent forever!
See more at Learning With Experts