Monday, May 01, 2006

Flowers with fragrance. Eh?

A very strange thing happened to me yesterday. Strange on my scale of normality, that is, which may not correspond to the scales of others, but there's not much I can do about that...

I was in Botanic, a luscious garden centre full of trailing vines of seduction to make you spend and spend and spend. I was on a very simple quest - fragrant flowers for my terrace. Is that so odd? You would think so by the lack of fragrant flowers available. I had to ask in the end. "Do you have any fragrant flowers for my terrace?" I asked one small woman in a Botanic apron. She looked at me confused. I wondered where the confusion might lie in my question. I had spoken perfect French. I was not asking for an exotic and rare specimen of carniverous plant found only in the furthest reaches of the jungles of deepest Papua Guinea. Nor was I asking for the moon. In the end, dredging from the recesses of her memory she found two possibilites, one of which they had in plant form rather than seeds.

Has flower cultivation gone the way of tomatoes? Great to look at, but no depth in taste or perfume? I thought one of the points of flowers was that they had to smell good as well as look good, but if you want to check this out, go and smell some flowers - not bushes - flowers. Most will have no smell. Their beauty is only skin deep.

Is it a measure of our society that even flowers are now judged solely on their looks? I am perplexed. We have good-looking 'celebrities' with no talent, tomatoes with no taste and flowers with no smell. Where did talent, taste and fragrance disappear to? Wherever they went, I want to them to come back because blandness in life is a recipe for boredom and you know what the devil does with idle hands...

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