The windows are all open, though it’s been pouring for days. The lilies are in bloom and I can’t resist the fragrance. The whole house smells like sweet perfume.

This Newsweek article discusses a new book about the “science of smell,” describing the effects this sense has on people in everyday situations. Can certain fragrances encourage people to be nicer, make you seem more attractive to the opposite sex, or lead you to buy more of certain products? And what happens to people who lose their sense of smell? It’s fascinating, and I think most people underestimate the power of this sense!!

What I found most interesting is that “commercial flower producers have bred roses for traits like color, shape, disease resistance and vase life. Fragrance has been a casualty.” My favorite flowers are lilies, sweet peas, lily of the valley, roses–not just because they are beautiful to look at but because they smell heavenly! I have lots of other flowering plants in my garden but I don’t feel the same way about them. Marigolds are nice, but kind of stinky, and cosmos and zinnias bloom in gorgeous colors but there’s something missing. I picked a dwarf sweet pea yesterday (something new in my garden this year) and was disappointed to find it had no fragrance. I won’t be planting them again. For me, the sweet pea “experience” has to include a fragrance! It’s the same with lilies and roses and my other favorites.

How about you? Do you grow flowers? Which are your favorites? Do you choose them because of their shapes and colors, or do you follow your nose?!