You would think that the white fleshy flowers that have a heavy, almost overbearing fragrance would be the easiest to extract perfume from, but it is the very opposite: lilies, gardenias, lily of the valley, tuberoses, honeysuckle, and jasmine are notoriously difficult to pin down scent wise, as their fragrances are almost universally altered by the extraction process. The old fashioned method of effleurage, which infuses deodorized animal fats with the scent of fresh picked flower petals, yields the best approximation of the actual fragrance. Any chemical processing that involves temperature and pressure changes or hydrocarbon extraction usually destroys the scent.

If the wonderful fragrance of lily of the valley, magnolia, gardenia or lily still lingering in the air brings a smile to your lips, keep in mind that they were most likely synthesized in a lab, the essential oils, if they happen to be true to fragrance, are prohibitively expensive.

This is why I do my best to enjoy the fragrance of these flowers while they are in season, outside, in the garden. Sometimes even cutting the blooms to bring them indoors will alter their scent.

If you really want to process your own fragrances, try steam distillation to make hydrosols from roses, chamomile, lavender or lemon verbena, which are pretty cooperative, or make alcohol tinctures from cinnamon, peppercorns, sandalwood and cloves. Citrus and pine oils are usually cold pressed, if you have the equipment for that.

Dried rose petals will hold their fragrance for some time if they are kept in an airtight container, but their fragrance fades away quickly once they are exposed to air.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.