I’ve got a piece in the June issue of the BBC’s magazine Gardeners’ World—the one with the lavender-scented scratch-and-sniff cover. It’s called “The science of scent: Why do flowers smell?”
In a world of round-the-clock sensory bombardment, of the instantly downloadable e-book and iTunes, smell operates on its own time. The fragrances of the garden arrive on a schedule created before our species appeared on earth. Narcissus flowers release their scent near dusk, a daily pulse they maintain even in a vase in the living room. Apple blossom is available a few days in the year. The smell of wet, mouldy leaves is a long goodbye to autumn. These tidal rhythms of scent pull the gardener back into the natural world and away from the momentary distractions of modern culture.Gardeners’ World came up with some groovy visuals to illustrate the piece (sample above). Very psychedelic, no?