How to turn garden plants perfume and weeds into
It seems every celebrity has their own scent to sell, but you could make your own with a unique Kiwi flavour.
Perfumes have enjoyed high regard in every era, from the earliest frankincense and myrrh offerings, to the celebrity fragrances of Beyonce and David Beckham.
Today, it’s even more so if the ingredients are natural. Global sales of natural cosmetics were close to $US30 billion in 2013, growing by 10.6% according to research by the Kline Group (2014), and continue to grow ahead of the average rate for the cosmetics industry as a whole.
It’s something you might be able to take advantage of if you head into your own backyard and find a plant with a perfume – subtle or otherwise – which acts as an aromatic ‘tonic’. Bottle that scent by way of distillation, tincture or enfleurage (see page 42) and you could find yourself in the perfume business.
Artisan perfume maker Vanessa York creates enticing scents in her microperfumery in Waiake on Auckland’s North Shore. Her perfumes contain no synthetic products, but the raw scents can be as beautiful and evocative as perfumes that do contain synthetics, she says.
Anyone can make natural perfumes from plants in their backyard. Flowers, foliage, seeds, bark, resin, roots, rhizomes and rinds can all be used. Even weeds can be turned into remarkable scents.
“Jasmine, honeysuckle and wild ginger flowers all smell amazing,” says Vanessa, “And by harvesting the flowers you’re also helping to stop the spread of these pest plants.”
If you look at the price of jasmine absolute on the market, you might think you’re on to something. For 25ml you’ll pay around NZ$370.
But the sheer volume of blossoms needed may put you off. It takes up to 1000kg of jasmine flowers to make 1kg of jasmine absolute – or 8000 flowers to make 1 gram – and they must be hand-picked in the dark and early morning when the perfume is strongest.