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How to Bring the Scent of the Garden Into Your Home

How to Bring the Scent of the Garden Into Your Home

Our gardens are rich with scent, from the bitter fragrance of woodsmoke in winter to the tropical perfume of ginger flower and gardenia in summer. On fine days we can throw open the windows and let the scent drift in, or on rainy days fling open the door to breathe the earthy scent of petrichor as quenching rain falls on dry ground. But, what are we to do when the wind blows, the blossom falls or we venture far from home? The scents of the garden are fleeting, precious, and poignant. In this article, I’ll explain how to select and use them to exhilarating effect in your home.

We all experience scents differently, often making powerful associations between scents and memories. Accordingly, there are no set rules about which home fragrances to use. Just as you might choose a fragrance to wear, you may select a different one depending on your personal preference, mood, the time of day and what impression you are trying to create. You may fall in love with a fragrance for a while and then move on. I like to keep an open mind, challenging myself to reappraise fragrances I’ve not appreciated previously. I’m often pleasantly surprised. Even coffee, which I can’t abide the taste of, works for me as a fragrance. At the same time, it’s also comforting to stick with what you know: the choice is always yours.

Choosing the Right Scents for You

Over years of filling my home with fragrance, I have come to understand its importance, both to my home, my guests and my personal sense of well-being. I’ve become intolerant of synthetic smells and poorly performing products, preferring to spend a little more on home fragrances that are made sustainably and with a good amount of perfume.

Accurately capturing the scent of flowers, fruits, herbs and woods is an art form, refined over many centuries by generations of perfumers. For Dan Cooper Garden I have set the bar high, selecting candles and diffusers from brands that work with the finest, most sustainable ingredients to create refined scents that garden-lovers will easily recognise.

When choosing a home fragrance, first ask yourself what it needs to do for you. Are you in need of an energising boost, or would you like to feel calm and relaxed? Is the scent for a special occasion or to accentuate a decorative scheme? What season do you want to bring into your home and which room are you fragrancing? (Perhaps your purchase is a gift, in which case, imagine yourself in the lucky recipient’s home instead.)

Perfumers typically use a fragrance wheel to group fragrances into families. Each family has a set of distinguishing elements that identify them as fruity, fresh, spicy, woody or floral. Here are a handful of examples:

  • If you want a boost, go for a citrus-based fragrance such as the Carrière Frères Siracusa Lemon Candle. Characterised by its fresh, dynamic scent, wafts of sun-soaked lemon will bring an invigorating freshness to any room. The same goes for orange blossom, only this is sweeter and more effervescent. I use the Carrière Frères Orange Blossom Diffuser whenever I need pepping up.
  • The Carrière Frères Tomato Diffuser would be ideal for bringing the scent of summer into your home. The moment I discovered this fragrance I knew it was special. Its familiar green notes smell as good as a tomato freshly picked from the vine and it immediately transports me to my greenhouse on a warm day.
  • Sometimes we’re seeking a clean freshness, especially in a bathroom or utility room. Here a scent with a mineral or herbal note will sparkle. Since we’re talking about garden scents, I’d recommend Carrière Frères Spearmint Candle or diffuser which will make any room smell like it’s just been spring cleaned. 
  • I mentioned selecting fragrances to elevate your interior decoration. If your dream scheme is a classic combination of polished wood floors, white panelling and Venetian glass, then something like the Carrière Frères Gardenia Candle can only accentuate the sense of quiet grace and opulence. In a country cottage, humble scents such as lavender, rose, mint and sandalwood lend a timeless, unpretentious feeling to a room.
  • I like my living spaces to feel comforting, established and inviting. Woody fragrances such as ebony work beautifully, but my favourite scent is Carrière Frère’s Firebrand. This evocative blend fills a room with a fragrance that’s somewhere between a stately home, an antiquarian library, a church and a mediaeval hall; warm, cosy and slightly smoky.

Choosing the Right Fragrance Format

When you’re choosing which home fragrance format to buy, it’s not simply about the fragrance but also its suitability for the room you are scenting. Consider your space and decide what format would work best for you: think about where you will be placing it, the size of space you’re filling, whether you have children or pets and if you want a sudden burst of fragrance or a continuous, gentle scent.

My collection includes a choice of candles, reed diffusers & scented wax palets, each one selected for its individual attributes.

A candle is not just about fragrance but also ambience: nothing says romance or cosiness like a flickering flame. I like to wind down from a hard day’s work by grabbing a book, pouring a glass of crisp white wine and sitting in peace whilst watching a comforting flame out of the corner of my eye. However, candles do require constant supervision, so they’re not for every occasion.

Reed diffusers are the perfect no flame, no bother alternative to a candle. You simply add the reeds to the fragrance oil and the rest takes care of itself. The reeds act like a flower stem, drawing up oil from the vessel, holding it and allowing the scent to be slowly released into the air. Reed diffusers provide a consistent background fragrance in a room for up to 12 weeks. They can be revitalised by carefully flipping the reed sticks over; just be careful of your home furnishings when you do 'the flick' as the oil can leave marks on fabrics and polished surfaces. To slow the rate of diffusion, add fewer reeds and keep the bottle of oil away from sources of heat such as radiators. I keep a Carrière Frères Lavender Diffuser in my bedroom - the soothing, familiar fragrance helps to calm my overactive mind when I go to bed at night.

A combination of candle and reed diffuser in the same scent will provide a reassuring background fragrance with the option of a powerful boost when the candle is lit. If you have large, open-plan spaces to fill, you may need two or three reed diffusers and a couple of candles positioned strategically to spread the scent throughout.

In the collection I also have scented wax palets in cedar and rose and peppercorn. Although tempting to associate these with an age gone by, they are so useful for small spaces such as linen cupboards, drawers and wardrobes. Wax palets could also be hung in a car as a very classy air freshener, taking the scent of your garden with you on your travels. You can pop them in your suitcase when you go on holiday too. Just like the candles, they are made from 100% vegetable wax infused with perfume oils. Each one contains a natural botanical element, so they look especially pretty.

Become a Scent Landscaper

Choosing fragrances for your home is not a science, it’s more of a gut reaction. Just as in a garden, different spaces will suit different styles, treatments and levels. Big fragrances suit living rooms and hallways, welcoming guests into your home; layer up and don’t be timid. Kitchens and bedrooms demand subtler scents, there in the background but gentle and unintrusive. Scents can alter the way food is tasted, so be especially circumspect in the dining room, where I prefer no fragrance at all. Dial fragrance up for special occasions and romantic nights in.

Fragrance is a real gift, as those of us who lost our sense of smell and taste during a bout of Covid-19 will heartily acknowledge. Thanks to the talented candlemakers and perfumers featured here, we can all enjoy the panoply of scents we enjoy in our gardens from the comfort of our homes.

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