In a Vase on Monday: Les Parfumiers

With minimal blooms available to fill a January vase, it was not a difficult choice to cut three of the seasons most scented blooms to grace us with the presence on IAVOM today. The Hamamelis x intermedia witch hazels generally do not have a strong fragrance, but on a mild day or in a warm room there is neverthless a distinct sweetness to them, so I am hopeful that this sprig of ‘Jelena’ will pull her weight alongside the stronger and more noticeable fragrances of winter flowering honeysuckle Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ and Sarcococca humilis when their buds open, to create a delectable perfume from Le Jardin Parfumerie: ‘Janvier’ (January).

Finished off with a green note from useful Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’, a small gingerjar style vase from Ainsley China’s Pembroke series holds the fragrant stems, the unidentified bird  and its tiggy persch nicely reflecting the style of  the two Chinese perfume bottles that accompany it.

Sweetness making up for its lack of stature, my simple vase highlights some of the pleasures to be found in a winter garden – perhaps there will be pleasures to be found in your gardens too, even if only a leaf or a shapely twig. If you would like to share your finds with the rest of the IAVOM community, please leave the usual links to and from this post.


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42 Responses to In a Vase on Monday: Les Parfumiers

  1. pbmgarden says:

    The promise of such fragrances is enticing Cathy. Love the orange shagginess of your witch hazel and your beautiful collection of containers. Thanks for hosting each week!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – the witch hazels with the shaggiest shreds are definitely the most appealing! I was really pleased to have thought of these perfume bottles as a prop, as they led me to the vase too, all of them together with other vagely Chinese-y things!!

  2. Noelle says:

    The collection of shrubs with their spring flowers really do your little vases and scent bottles justice. The artist certainly captured the beauty of trees in a natural landscape on the far left one. Here are more fireworks this week:

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Noelle, I think both the perfume bottles will have been made for the export market so will be nothing special, so perhaps the finess of the painting is all the more to be admired in that case

  3. I can imagine the scent or scents. I love Winter Honeysuckle. The Arum makes a wonderful foil for the finer textured flowers. The vase collection is so sweet. I bought a Ylang Ylang tree for myself for Christmas! Here is my vase

    • Cathy says:

      After a couple of weeks of temps barely above freezing it was around 5 degrees C today and there was a definite hint of fragrance in the air although I am not quite sure where from but it was probably the lonicera. I am sure you will enjoy the ylang ylang – how tall a shrub/tree will it be?

      • Witch Hazel is wonderful..I have never seen a Ylang Ylang tree and am on the extreme northern fringes of where it might grow so no clue on the size. It is a major component of Chanel No. 5 and has flower buds….waiting breathlessly for a flower to sniff!

        • Cathy says:

          Haha – planting a Big Unknown, never mind a Ylang Ylang! Does it have buds? I hope you are not waiting long to check out the fragrance. I am not sure if I have ever smelled Chanel No 5 but it’s always interesting to find out the component ingredients of a perfume

          • It’s a huge unknown
            My mother traveled in clouds of chanel. The tree looks good and supposedly flowers year round… there are buds but I can’t tell if there are leaves or buds.

  4. Hi cathy, it’s been a while but it’s nice to be back. I like your vase, and the little collection of perfume bottles – very oriental. Normally, I’d be looking forward to the perfume from the sarcococca too but Long Covid19 has left me with an unusual side-effect, parosmia, that distorts my sense of smell. Here’s the link to my vase:

    • Cathy says:

      Hello Elizabeth – so lovely to have you back, and I am so sorry to hear about the effects of Long Covid, which I suppose are a big unknown until they hit. We probably don’t properly appreciate our sense of smell until we lose it…

      • Hi Cathy, you are so right – I was missing not being able to smell my roses as they, and summer, came to and end. Hopefully, I’ll smell them again this summer. And, yes, the nursery is on the north side of the loch. We enjoyed, with the owner’s permission, walking up through the garden and down through the woods around the nursery and look forward to returning one day. Your tip about preserving the beech leaves is in a new book I got for Christmas, Making Winter by Emma Mitchell. It’s been raining all day but I think I should give it a try when it’s dry out again – I imagine the leaves should be dry.

        • Cathy says:

          I remember the nursery had an extensive plant list although I don’t think I bought anything at the time. My Mum preserved beech leaves that way some years ago and they still look as fresh as they did. then. I think she got her glycerine from a chemist but it should be easy enough to buy it from eBay or Amazon I expect. Hope your sense of smell returns soon!

  5. Kris P says:

    Simply lovely, Cathy! I continue to be impressed by your props too. It’s early morning here and I’m already on the run so here’s my post:

    • Cathy says:

      I have finally convinced the Golfer that he ought to read my blog (especialy with all the praise he gets!!) and when he read this post even he didn’t recognise the props, whch perhaps says something about the amount of ‘stuff’ we have in the house!!

  6. Pingback: In a Vase on a Monday: A la soupe! – Annettes Garten / Annette's Garden

  7. Annette says:

    Oh that’s lovely! My Hamamelis haven’t started yet. Everything is shock-frozen here so my contribution sits safely inside near the fire with the head gardener watching over it 😉
    Greetings from Siberia and have a good week xx

    • Cathy says:

      Ooh, you make it sound really cold, Annette! Some of my witch hazels were breaking into flower before our colder weather came along, but here it was never colder than about minus 3 C, and that was only briefly. Feels almost balmy today at 5 degrees!

  8. Hi Cathy. The witch hazel is a lovely, spidery thing, and it goes well I think with the charming little vases/perfume bottles. I am jealous that you have one in the garden. I have to go to my local park to pilfer a few branches, to make witch hazel skin tonic!
    So I finally got out again to make a vase:

    • Cathy says:

      I must be honest Sel, as it not just one witch hazel, but a ‘few’…! 😉 They are such delightful and colourful winter shrubs and bring me much joy. Most began as small specimens but I will admit to paying a lot for two of them that I had to source from a specialist, which may or may not have been worth the expense. I am curious aout you making a skin tonic as I used to assume it was perhaps the native specimens that were used, rather than these cultivated crosses. What ‘recipe’ do you use? And you have made a vase today – hurrah!

      • I think they must have been worth the expense, you are getting the most out of them. For the witch hazel tonic, I followed a recipe in Kew’s book on Medicinal Plants (a lovely book btw). If I make some this year, I will put up a post about it. You make a good point about species vs cultivars, I will look into that…whatever I made last year seemed to work!

        • Cathy says:

          If what you made seemed to work then presumably it doesn’t matter – I made the comment out of genuine ignorance because it was only when a visitor asked if could make witch hazel extract from them that I even thought about it…it hadn’t occurred to me up till then! I kept meaning to find out more and hadn’t got round to it so do let me know if you post about it – and maybe I will get round to looking into it myself too! Thanks 😊

  9. Cathy says:

    I am glad to see you have brought some witch hazel indoors to enjoy close up. I am afraid I have to miss another week – it remained at -6°C all day today!

    • Cathy says:

      Minus 6 – gosh, chilly indeed! Do you have blue skies with it? The witch hazel I picked was a twig growing literally a couple of inches above ground so will not be missed 😉

  10. tonytomeo says:

    Hamamelis was fun while we grew it. It was discontinued because we did not sell enough of it. Not many here are familiar with it. I intend to plant some in my own garden, as well as the ‘common’ (but locally very rare) witch hazel.

  11. Cathy a vase painted by a Chinese artist full of scented beauties, I love it. Hamamelis Jelena is the queen with its color and the shape of it, I love it. Winter honeysuckle is divine. I really like the arum leaf. I love Chinese painted perfume bottles, they form a set with the divine and enchanting vase that Spring inspires you: I love them. Here in Spain the storm Filomena has left us, especially in the Autonomous Community of Madrid (like a state) from Friday at 7:00 a.m. to Saturday at 5:30 p.m. without stopping snow leaving a thickness that reaches you very above the knee and I am 1.80 m tall. We are below zero during the day, tonight we have been at -10ºC. The Army Emergency Unit has come to help clear the snow-ice, but they are cleaning only the center of Madrid. The area where I live continues the same as on Saturday: the neighbors have cut paths in the snow with brooms and have cleaned sections of the sidewalk with shovels. You can’t get your car out, they’re buried, and the streets are impassable. There is a fallen tree since Sunday morning on the street in front and they have not come to remove it, well, nobody has come here to clean anything: nobody has come, it is a shame. I am worried that something will happen to my dear Mother, because an ambulance or a doctor could not come or take her to the hospital. For the rest, we are at home warm and safe, with electricity, gas and water and internet. Take good care of yourself and the golfer, Cathy. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      There was a picture of the snow in front of the Royal Palace in Madrid in the Sunday Times newspaper this weekend, Margarita, and of course I thought of you. It said it is your worst snow for 40 years…. I hope you and your mother continue to stay safe and warm – and not in need of food or a doctor. Take care

      • Cathy thank you so much for caring for my Mother and me. You are a friend. We continue in my area of Madrid trapped by snow-ice, but we are at home very warm and safe. Tomorrow I will have to go to the market for food, thank goodness it is five minutes from home, that at a normal pace, now with the snow-ice it will take much longer. Let’s see if I can find everything I need to buy, because the supermarkets and markets are very short of supplies in the areas that are not clean of snow-ice because trucks and vans cannot pass. It is dangerous to walk down the street, but with my hiking boots and with great care I will hope not to slip. Thanks again Cathy. Take good care of the golfer and you. Hugs from my Mother and me. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

        • Cathy says:

          I read on Karen’s blog that you managed to get to the market – I thought it was very brave of you to go out in those conditions and I am glad you got there and back safely.

          • Cathy thank you so much for calling me “brave”. But it was not courage, it was necessity, we had run out of milk, bread and bleach; but it is a small store that is three blocks from home. Yesterday, Thursday, we had no food and we had to go shopping at the market, which is a five-minute walk in a normal situation. That was an adventure. The truth is that the road was very bad because nobody has come to clean, the few clean pieces of sidewalk have been cleaned by the neighbors, but the hiking boots helped a lot. I bought everything (vegetables, fruit, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese …). I came with a full shopping cart and bags: super loaded. And yes, I returned home safely, with my jeans wet with snow-ice and as it takes a long time to come and go because I walk very slowly and with the sub-zero cold it was, I have cooled down a bit. But we already have supplies for more than a week. Thank you very much Cathy for worrying about me, you are a friend. Take good care of the golfer and you. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

          • Cathy says:

            Good to know that you ahve supplies for at least a week, Margarita, and I hope conditions improve before then

          • Thank you very much, I hope so too. On Wednesday the rains come, but since the sewers are covered with a lot of ice, I think there will be floods, because nobody has come yet to clean the snow-ice. What happens. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  12. Chloris says:

    Lovely to see your witch hazels having a star turn. The beauty of having several is that they bloom at different times and so extend the season. I love the little pots.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – I can usually find a wayward stem to cut that won’t be missed…this one was growing only a few inches above ground level

  13. Anna says:

    Oh what a lovely gathering to bring indoors to appreciate close up and inhale the scent. Your post has reminded me that my sister bought me a little perfume bottle back from a trip to China many moons ago but it has gone absent without leave 😢

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna – it was a frined that brought me these bottles back from China, or one of them at least. I have to confess that if they weren’t with my grouping of Chinese bits I might not have even remembered I had them – I certainly don’t spend much time admiring the contents of our shelves!!

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