Longwood Gardens is a beautiful space of conservatory and display gardens located just outside Philadelphia. Known all over but especially in the Mid Atlantic area as a must see, Longwood was acquired and developed by Pierre S.DuPont in the early 1900s. The main conservatory dates to 1921. Since this past Sping they've had a "Making Scents" exhibit dedicated to the art of perfumery and the plants used in it. I finally made it to the exhibition this week, squeaking in only a little over a week before the exhibiton closes to make way for the annual holiday blockbuster display. This time of year is also the Chrysanthemum festival so huge mums both in groups and individually were all over incuding a hand grafted 991 blooms on one plant stem.
The fragrance exhibit was centered both in one room showing a movie featuring famed perfumers and a display of some of the biggest perfume releases both new and old, and throughout the Conservatory gardens in the from of descriptive signage and actual specimans of the plants of perfumery. I was able to see and sniff live patchouli, jasmine, vetiver, plumeria, ylang, vanilla , many varieties of mint and more.
Vetiver is a grass type plant that actually doesn't smell. It's the roots that provide the essence here. Patchouli smells far less strong in plant form than the extract does in fragrance. Jasmine is as heavenly as you would imagine and it was tempting to buy a jasmine plant to take home. Plumeria was softer than expected as was Ylang, but all were still a rare treat to see .
This is not an exhibit made to appeal to only the perfumistas out there. It is geared towards everyone with components kids can enjoy as well. There is a mix your own fragrance tool that spits out a scratch and sniff card of your blend( from a small selection of top, middle and bottom notes) as well as a sticker guide book to encourage their explorations.
As I said the Making Scents exhibit only runs through Nov 21. However, Longwood Gardens is open year round with something beautiful in store. The upcoming Holiday display is legendary so if you are in the area, it's well worth checking out .