One waft of the right fragrance has the potential to bring cherished moments from the past zipping into the present. And floral designers can orchestrate a revival of the past and influence future memories with a simple aroma.
Smell is the most sensitive of the senses, and it’s been scientifically proven that no human detects scent the same way. With more than 400 scent receptors and the ability to recall more than 50,000 various aromas in a lifetime, it’s no wonder florists strive for perfection in every detail of their creations, down to the very fragrance of each stem.
The garden rose fragrance scale is as extensive as the varieties that hold each unique scent in their petals. Musky, complex base notes and floral middles with sprinkles of sweet top notes combine with the potential to complement an exuberant bouquet fit for any occasion and any nose. Selecting the perfect combination is half the fun and twice the reward when considering all the options Alexandra Farms has to offer in our extensive collections.
Fragrant Atmospheres - To Create or Not to Create
Before jumping into a pile of petals and overwhelming the senses, it’s essential to first consider the job at hand: Who? What? Where? The key to filtering non-essential and non-negotiable varieties will make the process of selection much simpler, and there’s no better way to do so than by first considering the event space, location, atmosphere and audience.
Other considerations to fragrance selection and intensity could entail the type of scent (earthy, fruity or traditional rose), season, and even conflicting aromas outside of the installation (dining, candle, and other perfumes).
Considering individual preference, it’s important to be selective when coordinating the nearly infinite combinations of garden rose varieties – color and fragrance – a process that can be both overwhelming and invigorating.
Highly Fragrant Garden Rose Varieties
Consider the size of the space where the bouquet or installation will be displayed: Is it a large space that can maintain strong, heavy scents without overwhelming those within reach? Is it a smaller, more personal space?
For larger spaces, it’s easier to play with fragrances and layering. The stronger the scent, the more evenly it can permeate a room.
We rate our garden rose fragrances on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the strongest scent. Our highly-scented varieties (ratings: 4 and 5) for those who can handle an exuberant olfactory punch:
Edith (Auspluto) – Strong, sweet and fruity with undertones of myrrh, this variety pulls shades of apricot, gold and yellow together to create a wild card among its counterparts.
Princess Miyuki (First Snow) – With myrrh and licorice to lead the way, this pure white garden rose emits romanticism with rich intensity.
Beatrice (Auslevity) – This warm yellow and cream rose has a strong, complex scent of myrrh with hints of fruit and almond.
Patience (Auspastor) – An ivory variety with an intense, clean scent of Old Rose and lemon.
Pink O’Hara – A pink-petaled, lavender-scented dream.
Vitality – A white and cream-colored variety with a heady lavender scent.
Low Fragrance, High Impact Blooms
Even with the loveliest of fragrances, overwhelming scent levels can become distracting and make the most meticulously designed installations a nuisance.
Here are our most mildly scented varieties (ratings: 1 and 2) for those who like a hint of intrigue without the overwhelm:
Sabrina – Light pink in color and lightly citrus in scent.
Darcey (Auschariot) – A light, warm and fruity tea fragrance with a touch of sandalwood emits from this raspberry red and rich berry stem.
Ashley – With a light rose fragrance, this sturdy intense pink rosette stem is a showstopper.
Caramel Antike – Lightly scented with traditional rose fragrance, this caramel and cream variety holds her spherical shape with layers of overlapping petals.
Sabrina garden roses, floral design by Katya Hutter Floral Design
Unscented Garden Rose Varieties
Our unscented varieties for occasions that don’t call for a fragrance or when sensitivity to fragrance is needed:
Baronesse – An unscented mild pink and dark pink variety, reminiscent of the classic garden rose.
Notre Dame – An unscented and uniquely colored garden rose with shades of lavender, sandy pink and gray blended effortlessly together.
Princess Midori Spr (Green) – An unscented lively green stem with rounded blooms that works in juxtaposition with any palette.
Wanted – Dark red and elegantly unscented.
Princess Aiko (Beloved) – A creamy peach-colored stem without scent.
Other unscented varieties include Blanche Spr, Bridal Piano, Catalina, Golden Mustard, Lavender Bouquet, Loli Spr, Mariatheresia, Menta, Miyabi, Miyabi Brown, Piano, Pink Piano, Precious Moments, Princess Fairy Kiss Pink Spr, Princess Hoshi Spr (Star), Princess Pinku Spr (Pink), Quicksand, Sahara Sensation, Sahara Sensation Spr, Senlitsu, Sola Spr, Special Bride, Sunset, Symbol, Wedding Rosever Spr, Westminster Abbey and White Cloud.
The Final Arrangement
There’s no limit to the number of ways in which these varieties can play together, crossing scent lines and creating layered fragrances or color combinations, and it’s important to remember there are no definitive rules. The consideration of others and the ability to intrigue or offend even the most scent-seeking noses is important. The choice is that of the visionary and the way in which all the senses come together to create the masterpiece.
Note: all varieties are current as of June 2023.