The first real snow of winter has been falling outside our studio in Perthshire recently and with stunning clear blue skies, it’s been very picturesque. Sadly, it was short-lived and nothing like the snowfall in the image above, taken nearby a few years ago during a ‘proper’ winter.
For many of us, this time of year – with its short days and long nights, particularly here in Scotland – seems like the best time for lighting candles. Although the festive season is behind us, brighter days still seem far off, so it’s comforting to close the curtains, light the fire and cosy up with the warming scents of spicy Cranberry, Orange & Cinnamon or deliciously fruity Black Plum & Rhubarb.
But who said candles are just for winter? Scent, while seasonal, isn’t restricted to just a few months in the year, so why not bring it indoors all year round? Someone asked me recently what my favourite season is. My reply? “All of them.” It’s not a case of being indecisive – every season and its associated scents is special.
For some, winter is the time of year they wish away – it’s cold, bleak, never-ending and lifeless. Or is it?
We’re surrounded by countryside here and blessed with numerous walks on our doorstep. There’s no better way to spend a morning than walking through the woods, branches heavy with ice and the sounds of the forest dampened by a blanket of snow.
Deer, red squirrels, pheasants and hares all live in these woods and it’s fascinating to see their tracks in the snow as they go about their secret lives. Take a deep breath of the cold air and the scent of pine fills the lungs – fresh, invigorating and clean. Perfect for blowing away the cobwebs.
Nature springs into life
There’s always an excitement about the arrival of spring. In the garden, plants – long forgotten during the depths of winter – begin to peek above the soil. Snowdrops are first to arrive, followed by daffodils trumpeting their arrival with a sea of bobbing yellow heads.
There’s an earthy smell as the ground slowly begins to heat up and indoors, in a frenzy of spring cleaning, freshness is the order of the day. For me, a scent like Fresh Linen is the essence of spring – if we’re lucky, it’s warm enough to hang out the bedsheets to dry in the breeze. Who can resist burying their nose in freshly laundered and air-dried washing? It’s impossible, like trying not to chew a fruit pastille!
Summertime and the living is easy…
Summer – where to start with the scent of summer? It’s a positive flurry of fragrance. Every flower in the garden throws out its scent to entice the bees and butterflies. Some, like the heady aroma of carnations, is almost overpowering, but it’s a joyous season for the nose. Fresh-cut grass, sweet pea, barbecues, the seaside – that’s what summer smells like!
Our northern latitude here in Perthshire might bring us long, dark winter nights, but in summer, it rewards us with an abundance of daylight. Despite the rumours, the sun does occasionally shine in Scotland and to sit out in the garden at 11pm, still in daylight, is something special.
Even the late hour doesn’t dampen the scent of summer. Phlox, tobacco plants and honeysuckle come into their own as dusk falls. All that’s needed is a G&T with a slice of lemon for the perfect end to the day. And if it rains? Well, simply put a Paradise Beach wax melt on your burner and imagine you’re lying on a tropical beach somewhere!
Autumn arrives… and autumn leaves
What is there to commend about autumn? It’s damp and windy, the shortening days remind us that winter is just around the corner.
But it’s also harvest time – Perthshire is prime farming country, perfect for growing wheat, potatoes and, most famously, soft fruits. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries – in fact, if it features the word “berry”, it more than likely grows here! Our nearest town, Blairgowrie, even goes by the nickname Berry Town. Yes, berries are summer fruits but they also straddle into autumn, so they deserve their place here!
If fruit is too light a scent for your autumnal tastes, try pumpkin – sweet and warming. But for me, nothing sums up the scent of autumn more than bonfires – rich, smoky and woody.
As we say here in autumn, the nights may be fair drawing in, but the smell of an open fire reminds us that summer is over, winter is coming and with it, the fabulous scents of a new season as the cycle begins again.
So no matter the time of year, light that candle, put on one of your favourite wax melts and bring the scents of the seasons indoors.