A gift of flowers delights not only our eyes, but our nose as well. Floral scents may even help reduce stress. A study by Japanese researchers, reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that inhaling linalool, a compound found in many floral and fruit scents, reduced levels of stress-related immune cells in rats. Giving flowers that not only look beautiful, but smell nice, may have double the benefits for the recipient.
The gorgeous scent of roses is associated with love and romance. Attar of roses, from Bulgaria, is still an important ingredient in many perfumes. Alas, not all roses you can buy from florists have a scent. When shopping for roses, be sure to ask for varieties with fragrance. If you're shopping in a florist's, you can sample the aroma yourself. If ordering online, you should include a note with your order or call and ask questions.
Paperwhites are one popular variety of this spring bulb, which you can often buy either potted or suspended over water in special forcing vases. Narcissus have a rich fragrance that can fill a room with the smell of spring. They make a nice gift to brighten dreary January and February days.
Lavender has long been used in sachets to scent bed linens to induce restful sleep. You can purchase pots of blooming lavender to give as gifts. A pot of lavender on an office desk can provide a restful break from stressful situations. You can also make sachets from dried lavender to give as gifts.
Carnations have a fresh, slightly peppery scent many people find very pleasing. Carnations are inexpensive and can be dyed almost any color. Cut the stems of white carnations and place in a vase of water and food coloring. After several hours, the flowers will absorb the dye. Carnations retain their fragrance for a long time, even when dried.
Potpourri made from a mixture of fragrant flower petals and blossoms, often mixed with herbs and spices, is a long-lasting reminder of floral scents. Potpourri is a good gift to give when transporting fresh flowers is a problem, such as a going-away gift for someone traveling by train, or when flowers are otherwise impractical, such as a gift for a friend with a rowdy kitten. You can choose potpourri based on roses, lavender, jasmine or other fragrant flowers, or make a custom blend of potpourri from various dried flowers and herbs.