Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Writing, Gardening, & Post Officing

This week I'm expecting more raw materials to arrive. Yeah, I know, more stuff to stuff into this already over stuffed space. I've got some student papers to review, a soap class to format, some orders to fill, some post officing to do. I'm going to be busy the next month or so restocking perfumes (making them, actually), and coming up with some online classes and workshops based on the new book. I'm also dusting off the old incense manuscript and beginning work on that again. I know I said I wasn't going to write for a while, but I can't help myself. The exhaustion, confusion, and sense I loss I felt after finishing WTBII have diminished and I'm ready to tackle another project. With all this new stuff coming in, I'll have plenty to talk about.

I'm still thinking hard on that studio space. It may have to wait a few months until I get my bearings again, but it's always there in the forefront of my mind.

I wanted to talk about something I just received last week: Enfleurage's Linden Blossom (Tilia cordata) CO2. Amazing! It is sweet and succulent and warm -- parts of it remind me of damp tobacco, other parts remind me of dried fig, and there is this overall tone of fruitiness that is astounding. It's much louder than linden blossom absolute, much better defined. It smells like the little pink and yellow and white mimosa flowers from mum's yard -- the flowers that she railed against in the spring and summer when they'd fall indiscriminately down onto the carefully tended garden below. I can see this CO2 adding a lush, deep, dark floral and honey quality to a perfume.

I've been planting bergamot seeds everywhere! There is a 99% possibility that not a single one will grow, but I can't help but give them a chance anyway. Every time I use bergamot, I extract the seeds and poke them in one of the many empty planter boxes outside in hopes that the freezing temperatures will spur their germination. I still have quite the stash of seeds sitting damp and cold in the refrigerator. Soon they will go into the soil too, but in a more disciplined manner. Basically on purpose. Watch, those will be the ones that never germinate, while the ones I poked in the dirt in a hurry -- the dozens and dozens of them spread across the gardens -- will pop up like weeds. Whatever works, right?

Sooooo, I've been keeping a close eye on the planter boxes lately in hopes that the bulby things will show signs of emerging, and just the other day I was honored with the appearance of the pokey tip of a hyacinth! They seem to be right on time as hya's are typically in full bloom in mid- to late-February. The paperwhites already made their appearance just before Christmas and are still going strong, but I don't have nearly enough of those yet to enfleurage. Each year they've doubled up, so maybe next year or the year after I'll be able to get a wee pommade from them. For now, they're just looking pretty and stinking up the porch.


  1. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Hi Justine,

    I too put citrus pips (and apple seeds) in my indoor pots and let them take their chance to grow. They do grow, reach a few inches in height, and they then give up the ghost. Tomato seeds, sweet pepper seeds, mango pits and date pits are happier to keep growing here and their plants are more determined to live, I've found! I'll take any handy hints you've got to keep the citrus and apple plants growing:-)

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  2. Ooh, I've never tried mango pits -- that's something newly on the agenda (thanks). In the past I've gotten four bergamot orange pips to grow. They made it to the three to four inch mark, and I left for a three-day weekend and came home to them dead and withered -- the folks I'd left in charge of watering the wee babies didn't. That was also the weekend I had to resurrect nearly all the plants on my front porch as nothing was being taken care of while I was gone. Depressing, that. I haven't tried growing bergamot again because I didn't have the opportunity until now to get the seed. We'll have to wait to see how it goes. Something's got to grow, right? I mean, I planted the seeds from nearly 20 pounds of bergamot all over the place here.

  3. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Ah, it was leaving the leafy lovelies in the tender care of my Other Half that did for them - they'd been neglected for weeks and then guiltily drowned in too much water too late when I was due to return!

    My only lesson concerning home-grown Mango plants is that they really don't like to have their rootball disturbed when you have to pot them on, so no teasing out the roots for them; they seem happiest here when they are busting out of the pot! Finicky about water too - not too little and not too much. Definitely Goldilocks plants (and the OH did for one of them as well now that I think of it!).

    Good luck with your bergamot babies!

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

    1. Thank you for the information on the mango. Very useful. I'm still waiting for some of the seedy things to pop up. If I remember correctly, the bergamot took a while and I actually thought it wasn't going to happen, and then it did.



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