July 24, 2006


Gardenia by Lucy Raubertas
While at the moment I have a strong preference for dark perfumes, and a woody mossy  tone,  there are certain intense floral scents, such as the gardenia (and of course my obsession, rose) that are so individually magnificent that their striking quality overwhelms all resistance.

The touchstone is of course the flower itself. Potted plants are obtainable, but they are care intensive in a climate such as Brooklyn's, where I live, and even as an interior plant they need great attention and ingrained green-thumb talents.

So I took the easy way out and went to see them in bloom in the tropical greenhouse of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Opening that door to the tropics area brings up a wet earth fragrance, mixed with the blooming flowers and running water. The gardenia was one of the most prominent. The waxy white petals stand out as luminescent against the dark green of the surroundings.

We all know and appreciate the beauty of this flower as a decoration for black hair, as Billy Holiday's signature, the contrast with the silky dark skin emphasizes both the textural quality of the flower and the skin.

As with rose, there are many perfumes that use gardenia as a main element, and we would all do well by our bodies and souls to find out our favorites and keep a couple on hand for those deep summer moments we want to amplify with experience of this ultimately rich summer scent.

Above photo, by me, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden conservatory.

 They have conservatory rooms of the desert, the tropics, and the temperate zone.
 The fragrances hit you  as soon as you open the door.

Copyright 2006, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous said...


The gardenia is a magnificent flower. It evokes the passion of flamenco to my mind. It also seems the essence of pure white. Nothing else can quite compare.
Is there sometning lighter in impact; something more ethereal,more just a hint on a soft wind? I'd like an article on that someday.

Kala said...

the gardenia is such a nice smelling flower, my parents used to grow them in the yard so I had the privilege of smelling this wonderful smell - what would you recommend for a male - this is a bad question but I thought Id ask your opinion just coz it popped in my thoughts

Lucy said...

Let me think about that one, Kala. Gardenia I am not sure, I can look into it, but I know there is something spicy with floral out there I recently found, and I am getting a sample in the mail from Switzerland soon, it is supposed to be unisex, I will let you know if it seems like it could be good for you. Otherwise I might put something together and mail it off to you in Hawaii, it would be interesting to create something for a man for a change, a small personal sample, perhaps blend oak moss and vervain and then maybe I can get a bit of a tropical floral in there -- jasmine? My things tend to be strong but because they are made from natural essences they hold the fragrance closer in to the body than regular perfumes, which seem to leave a trail in the air when walking by...