Monday, May 9, 2011


Is there a scent from your child hood or just in your past past that haunts you?  Mine is the smell of orange blossoms.  Some people find that aroma overpowering and headache causing especially when a large orange grove gets going but I find it very nostalgic and wonderful.

I was living in Key West and was going steady with my first official beau at the tender age of 10 when I was introduced to this scent. 

My little boy friend, besides being a good kisser, was very generous.   He lavished me with dime store gifts like seashell bracelets and  perfume. Hopefully  he had a good allowance and wasn't stealing them.  That thought has no business in a sweet memory.

Anyway,  first came "Evening in Paris" (remember that ladies) which was OK  but then he found "Orange Blossom" perfume and I was hooked. It became my signature scent.

I probably should have been offended that he kept buying me perfumes but since I was a member of the horsey set, I most likely needed a little freshening up. 

I don't really recall actual orange blossoms in the Keys and it wasn't till I moved farther up the state that I discovered what a heady scent a whole grove could produce. So much better than that 25 cent bottle.

A grove in bloom can make me light headed with pleasure and sweet memories.  There were large groves all around me when I lived in Florida and was doing my animal thing of either rescuing dogs or bottle raising calves.  A sweet scent in the air was really appreciated with those two professions. 

Then I moved to Arkansas and I really felt the loss of the beloved orange blossom smell.  When I learned of a shrub called Mock Orange that would grow here and could theoretically provide me with that lovely aroma  sans fruit, I was really excited.

Last year I ordered four, planted them in strategic places so that no matter where I sat on my porch, I would be bathed in the aroma.  So I waited and babied my precious plants, anxious for the first blooms.

Recently the blossoms appeared and I was so excited.  Till I stuck my nose  in the petals and drew in a deep breath.

Nothing, nada, zip.  After hitting the Net, I learned that some of the new ones are scent free.    WHY !!!!! That makes no sense.

I realize they have done that to some roses, which I still don't understand.  To me, breeding the fragrance from a flower is criminal. I did not know, so I did not ask and now I am really disappointed.

I would hunt for the scented variety but I all ready have 4 bushes that can grow to 10 feet tall.  Also I haven't the heart to wait another year.   Now they should become a nice  looking shrubs but I will no longer baby them like I did. They are pretty much on their own now.


I did check with Amazon and sure enough they sell the Orange Blossom perfume though it is no longer twenty five cents. I swear the bottle looks just like what my little fellow got me.   Perhaps, I can dab a bit behind the ears when I sit on the porch and pretend. Yep, I ordered one.

It all comes down to investigation and reading the fine print which I didn't do when I bought the plant.  You would think someone my age would have learned that by now.  Sigh.

What scent instantly takes you back to a pleasant memory ?? 


  1. Lilacs. Those always take me back to my childhood because the front of our house was lined with them.

    After traveling to Florida in the wintertime, I also fell in love with the scent of orange blossoms. And strangely enough, at the very first house I owned there was a huge mock orange bush beside the front porch (I had to ask my elderly neighbor what the bush was that smelled so good). My husband and I placed a porch swing (it was an old house with a covered porch) right beside the bush and I would sit there in the swing inhaling the lovely scent in the evening after work. Later when I married Denny, I bought and planted a mock orange bush to bring some of that lovely fragrance back into my life--it took several years for it to bloom, then a couple more before it developed its fragrance but it never smelled as good as the one I knew those many years ago.

  2. Lily-of-the-valley and lilacs are scents I love that always speak of springtime in New England to me. I do love the orange blossom scent, too. There was one planted in the back yard of the house we rented this past winter and I loved to drag a lounge chair out there and read and sniff.
    I think you brought up this concept a while back--I am definitely a sniffer. Flowers without scent--horrors!

  3. Hmph - I had no idea there were purposely scent-free flowers! For me, the smell of gardenias takes me back to walking home from elementary school and sniffing flowers along the way. My favorite was a big gardenia bush about a block from my house. Hopefully the new gardenia bush I just got won't be the scent-free kind!

  4. Lily of the valley in my mother's garden always take me back there.

    The rose growers don't set out to remove fragrance from their roses, but in the quest of fewer thorns and longer stems and vase-life, something has to go. I prefer the old-fashioned garden roses, which have a fragrance so heady that you almost pass out from dizziness. They cost more, but the difference is definitely worth it!!

    Another aroma that takes me back is my grandmothers chicken and dumplings!

  5. They makes no scents! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I feel a bit guilty that it might be because of people like me who sometimes hardly breathe when someone's perfume fills the room. But flowers is another thing altogether. I love the smell of camellias, but they can quickly overpower me.

  6. Cape Jasmine blooms and honeysuckle.

    Scents are being bred out of genetically altered roses. It makes no scents.

  7. Fresh cut grass and watermelon....reminds me of summers on the farm...

  8. Oh I love this post. I too loved the scent of mock orange because I had a bush in yard of my first house. Heady, wonderful, soothing. But as far as childhood scent....sweet william (dianthus). My Mom had them growning all around our back patio and the butterflies and I shared them. Huge Monarch and big black butterflies that I don't know the name and small bright yellow with white spots. Because I sat out there so much and played, I remember them landing on my dolls and I. Thanks for the memories and a wonderful post.

  9. Hi Patti, I love the orange smell also... We get a little of it from our Confederate Jasmine bush--but not too much...

    We only buy roses now which have a fragrance... I have two right here next to my computer and the smell is heavenly.

    From my childhood, my favorite smell was Gardenias. I had a Gardenia corsage for my Sr. Prom --and it was heavenly.


  10. I don't know about pleasant. But I can rocket right back to grade school with a combination of sour milk, bananas and Lysol. I think I may have had a crush on the janitor.

  11. Oh do you bring back the memories. I too loved Orange Blossom Perfume. My first visit to Fl from WI, was when I was about 9 or 10. I had trip money I could spend anyway I wanted. Oh goodness did I get hooked on Orange Blossom Perfume. Now that I'm thinking about it; I wonder how my parents managed to put up with the smell going back to Wis, in that little mint green 1954 Dodge. Thanks for the memory.

  12. Pizza! A heavenly tomato and melted cheese smell, with a hint of garlic sends me back home to Italy, in my Mother's kitchen full of flour and pots of tomato sauce.

  13. What a sweet post -- with memories of that first boyfriend and a lovely scent. There's nothing quite like orange or lemon blossoms. When we lived in California (until last year), I had a little grove of citrus trees in the front yard of our house and the scent in spring was absolutely delicious! Gardenias are also wonderful. We now have jasmine growing outside the little guest house that is my office here in Arizona and that scent is wonderful, too.

  14. RV Vagabonds,
    The orange blossom smell was always so heady in the evening wasn't it? Mine bloomed in a year, maybe like yours, they won't get fragrant till the second blooming. I can hope.

    Yes,you ole sniffer you, how lucky that you had one in your yard to enjoy. Read and sniff---aahhh.

    I think they tried to breed the invasiveness out of the Mock Orange which cancelled the fragrance. I know that happened with my coral honeysuckle.

    We mess with Mother Nature and screw her up. We have done it with our pets, now our flowers. I guess in your business it was necessary but like you, I love a fragrant flower.

    I have a good friend who is really allergic to fragrances so I do understand and is why I don't wear perfume willy nilly anymore. Just wish they would have told me.

    I adore honeysuckle also, bought some for my fence line. They are really pretty but have been bred not to be invasive and have lost their smell. The hummers don't seem to care.

    Blue Ridge Boomer,
    I love fresh cut grass also. After mowing, I sit on the swing and sniff.

    Linda in NM
    Goodness, I have dianthus everywhere but never noticed an aroma, Think I will go give them a good wiff.

    I should have known George would plant the sweet smelling ones. Your yard must smell marvelous.

    Murr Brewster,
    Ha, me thinks you might be right though that does have a lunch room flavor also.

    Wasn't that stuff wonderful. I imagine the windows may have been down on the return trip.

    Ok, now you have made me hungry. Lots of garlic please.

    Dr. Kathy,
    I hope that is Confederate Jasmine. I love that scent.

  15. I don't know of any scent that reminds me of any time in the past. I do remember "Evening in Paris" perfume but don't remember ever hearing about "Orange Blossom" perfume.

    Sorry your bushes have no scent, what a disappointment. I did not know they were growing plants with no scent either.

    Glad you were able to find the "Orange Blossom" enjoy that scent behind your ear while sitting on your porch.

    This was a very interesting read as all your posts are. Hugs

  16. Awwww, it has to be the scent of Old Spice that takes me back to the lap of my Pappy Walden.

    Oh that Evening In Paris!!! Yep, remember it well. The local Ben Franklin store sold it, that and Ben Hur. Far cry from the Cinnabar I spot now! Heeehehehe!

    The farm I grew up on had a mock orange in the back yard. Ya need to find someplace that sells vintage plants. I turned my rose garden around several years ago plantin' Old English and own root old roses that really smell like roses.

    God bless ya sweetie and have a beautiful week!!! :o)

  17. Well in my younger day before I found out scents usually were the cause of my sneezing seizures it was roses, but then I never sneezed at the aroma of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!.

    I gave my Mother tons of Evening in Paris perfume until Dad started trumping me with a certainly more expensive variety.

    Dad and husband used Vitalis Hair oil. Yes it is still made. They never learned the new fangled idea of mousse etc.

  18. PS there were two mock orange shrubs on our lot when we moved here. The certainly did have a scent, whether orange or not I don't know. But I did not appreciate the bees, and messy bird nests. We finally killed them, but it took a whole bottle of Brush Killer full strength. They were quite resistance and sturdy. You could whack up up trimming and not deter re-growth.

  19. TEN? TEN? REALLY? That was sure young. Now as for the flowers, I say rip those nasty bushes out and plant scented ones in. They are freaks of nature - I mean humans. Get the real thing you have lived to long to live with fakes. :-)

  20. I LOVE that Amazon still has "Orange Blossom"...Do they have "Evening In Paris", too? I think that is still made, though I'm not absoultely positive...
    There are certain Food Aroma's that bring back good memories for me. Brownies Baking, for one....Childhood. My mother and Grandmother cooking in the Kitchen---making EVERYTHING from scratch---no boxes of ore-packaged stuff....! There are many other things too.....But Brownies was the first thing that came to mind.

  21. Baby lotion - takes me back to when my little ones were yes, still little.

  22. Ah...Evening in Paris in those bright blue bottles. Takes me back a bit in time.

  23. Mumsy,
    Thanks, it was a shock to me also. I understand the original could be invasive and to correct that (like we know more than Mother Nature) they lost fragrance. At least it is attractive.

    I still love Old Spice and sometimes dab a bit on Mighty Dog after his bath. He does not share my enthusiasm.
    I will look for the vintage plants. Thank you.

    Mercy, you murdered a nice smelly Mock Orange. If I had known, I'd have dug it up--if possible.
    I do understand that a lot of people react badly to fragrant plants. I have a friend who is probably thrilled I have the scentless variety.

    Well now GQ, he was ten also. We went steady for 2 years. Quite the little Romeo he was.
    Doubt I can murder what I planted, but I am thinking of searching for the fragrant variety.

    I checked and Evening in Paris little blue bottles can still be found on eBay. As they are classed as vintage, pretty sure the fragrance is gone.
    Brownies baking is a good one.

    That is a good one also. I didn't have children to rub it on but in my day, that was the sun tan lotion(aka cooking oil for human skin) of choice.

    I had forgotten that they came in little blue bottles. It can still be found on eBay as a vintage item.

  24. Patti,

    What a sweet story about your boyfriend.

    The scent that takes me back is the scent of a Daphne bush in bloom; it reminds me of my Mom and of the house that we grew up in. When she bought my Grandma's house and moved around the corner, I gave her a money for Mother's Day to buy a new one for her new front yard. She didn't really see the sense in it and said that she didn't really have room, but she did it anyway, for me.

    That is the pretty smell that makes me think of home.

    Sorry your new roses don't smell like orange blossoms. Bummer.

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

  25. The smell of corn dogs and Indian tacos reminds me of the state fair and being 15 riding a farris wheel with a sweet boy of 16.

  26. My mother's favorite scent was that of orange blossoms, and it's one of my favorites, too. Reminds me of Mama.

    Watch out for those mock oranges, Patti. If they are of the same variety as ones I had at a former residence, they grow thorns long enough and strong enough to pierce a tire! Ask me how I know.

  27. I had no idea that they have been able to produce roses, mock oranges, etc. with scent. I agree. What is the purpose? I would feel as disappointed as you do. I also would be kicking myself for not doing my research better. I guess you got all caught up in the anticipation of looking forward to the scent.

    I also go back to a sweet time in my life and a wonderful memory with the scent of gardenias. My hubby, then my high school prom date, gave me a corsage of gardenias.

  28. I had a funny thought reading your blog. Supposing we could order orange blossom scent thruough Kindle. (You know i have had a rough day)

    My Mom wore that Evening in Paris crap when I was small. I hated the smell, but when I was a kid I must have liked it. One evening when she was away, I bathed my sister's hair in Mom's perfume, and we vomited the rest of the night. So much for big sister attention. Life was better when Mom began to wear Channel #5 Dianne

  29. Thanks, Patti. It doesn't hurt,and, yes, it IS impossible to keep my tongue out of it. It is so sharp that I am afraid of cutting my tongue on it, but I still manage to feel it every few minutes.

    I have to take my car to be inspected tomorrow morning, and to the dentist in the afternoon. I sure hope that neither place tells me I have to have a lot of work

  30. P.S. Regarding evening in Paris; I once posted about the time I went to the 5 & 10 cent store to get mom a birthday present. She let me walk there (age 8) because it wasn't far.
    I bought a small bottle of EIP and while walking home, I attempted to cross the street and got knocked down by a car. The bag containing the bottle was under my belly and it broke, so that I was covered in the eau de toilette (EW). I was across the street from a hospital, so I was taken there for xrays. I think I made all of them gag before it was over! LOL

  31. I'm so sorry. Roses too. You have to plant the old fashioned ones if you want scent and what are roses without scent? I found "Evening in Paris" perfume in the Vermont Country store. I sent for some for my daughter. She loves it. I did an early post on
    E in P when I first started blogging. I used to love to wear scent but now I'm kinda afraid to because people are so allergic to fragrances.
    I also remember the orange blossoms snowing all over. Is that happening about now?

  32. I used to buy "Evening in Paris" for my mom for her birthday, Mother's Day, etc. She always acted excited about it. Hmmmm...

    Fresh cut grass and ripe peaches do it for me.

  33. Oregon gifts.
    Hum, I am not familiar with Daphne. Will have to check that out. Aren't you glad she agreed to plant it.

    Don't suppose that sweet boy was Ron??

    I think the one with thorns is Osage Orange which is a different animal. Mock is benign and friendly, Osage is lethal.

    Thanks. I am a just a softie about plants.

    Retired English Teacher,
    I think a lot of us got gardinia corsages. They went with everything.
    Trying to make plants better often is at the expense of the fragrance--darn.

    Well she really stepped up in class with Channel.
    Has your sister forgiven you?

    Goodness gal, hit by a car yet!! Glad you were OK but that is too funny about the EIP soaking you and you fumigating the ER.
    Hope your get good news on both accounts.

    You know, I never was considerate in my youth. If I liked the perfume I was wearing, surely everyone did.
    Like you, I am considerate of my friends now, but I wear the heck out of it at home. Mighty doesn't seem to care.

    I think we all bought that for our Moms because we could get in the dime store and it was cheap. Bless their hearts for acting pleased.

  34. Aramis, a men's cologne. When I was a young married woman I worked on a community college play and got to be friends with the director. He was fascinating and he wore Aramis. I even bought some for my then husband but it didn't smell good on him.

    The director went on to a solid career in TV and the movies. His name is Sam Anderson.

  35. Strangely a cheap men's cologne called "Brut". Everytime my husband shaved he would splash on his "Brut", come find me and run his nice smooth cheek against mine. Now it was not the best smelling stuff, but it was the gesture. About a year after he died, I passed a man wearing "Brut" and had all I could do not to throw my arms around him.

  36. Oh - too bad, but perhaps you could douse the blooms with some of the perfume. The blossom is quite lovely. Indeed the scent seems like it would be a major reason you'd want the bush. What are they thinking? I love the scent of fresh wash off the line but haven't smelled it in many, many years.

  37. I don't think I've ever smelled orange blossoms. I have heard that they've taken the scent out of a lot of flowers. It's such a shame.

    I think one of the scents that I really love is white or yellow ginger. It reminds me of the Hawaiian rain forest.

    I love that sweet baby smell too. I miss it now.

  38. Wet pine needles....odd I know. Reminds me of my childhood. I was outside a lot with my friends, walking trails, building forts, looking for frogs, turtles, snakes, etc. I can still smell them and smile. We had a good time.

  39. I'm going with Pine trees. It take me back to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and happy times with my sons....

  40. Pine trees and gardenias are the scents I love. I've planted them in every garden I've had...all 28 of them. Have my pines in here and soon to get gardenias. Star Jasmine mixed with pool clorine always reminds me of my mother's garden.

  41. I lived in So. FL for a long long time and my boss had an orange grove. I will always remember that smell! Sometimes just peeling an orange will take me back to those days when my kids were young and we practically lived on our boat!

  42. Oh honey I hated reading this about your beautiful plants. I felt your pain not being able to smell the orange scent you were longing to smell. Why would they take the scent from a plant. I don't understand that either. Look how old I am and never would of thought to ask that.
    My scent is fresh peaches. Our granddad had a peach orchard and I still to this day long to be standing in the middle of it picking one of his fresh peaches. The smell was just as sweet as the peaches.
    I had to laugh at the comment you left me about my lawyer. Ride her like a lazy horse. hahahahha
    You my friend are one of a kind and I love you

  43. Lynda Myers,
    I looked him up and I have seen him before in movies. Couldn't smell him though. Google has its limits.
    Would that have make your nose unfaithful? :))

    Grandma Poppi,
    Aw, what a touching, sweet memory for you. I might have done it anyway and explained later. Don't think any man would object.

    I get that scent when my brother comes to call for his wife still insists on hanging their clothes out. The dryer just can't replicate that smell.

    Somehow it surprises me that there are no orange trees in Hawaii. Funny the misconceptions we have about an area.

    Hum, next time it rains, I will have to go smell my pine needles. Sounds like you had a super childhood.

    Another pine person. That really is a clean smell of the outdoors. Water, canoes, and pines, what is not to love.

    I do believe the pines have it as the favorite along with gardinias second. So nice that pool clorine has a good memory attached to it.

    Rocky Mountain Woman,
    Lucky you practically living on a boat. I do love the water. You got the best of Fl.

    Grandma Yellow Hair.
    Peaches is a great smell. I have one scraggly peach tree that delights me each year.
    Serious about that lawyer, they are famous for putting you on a back burner. Get Pearl to don the spurs.

  44. Oh that is so sad you got a scentless mock orange. I once planted what was supposed to be a low growing night blooming jasmine under my bedroom window, it grow more than 15 feet and was so pungent at night I could barely stand it, so it would be best planted away from the house with plenty of room.

    The scent of white ginger from Hawaii sends me to heaven. I lived there in the fourth grade and loved and remember it to this day

  45. Linda Starr,
    Several have mentioned White Ginger. I looked it up and while it is a tropical, someone in Marshall which is close by is successfully growing it up against their house for protection. I may give it a try. Thanks.