It’s not quite winter as I pen this note, but the chilly wind and falling leaves signal its imminent arrival. I’ve just finished taking down our balcony garden, which is always bittersweet. I’m reminded of warm nights, alfresco dinners with friends and lazy afternoons spent reading in this quiet oasis. For the next six months, I’ll look out on this empty space and pine for summer. This year, I approached the task a little differently. Instead of hastily stashing the wilted and dying flowers and herbs into the garden waste bags, I took a moment to savour the scent they left on my fingers. It’s that scent—especially the basil—that will stay with me over the coming months. When I smell the store-bought version in December, it will remind me of the promise of spring. I credit Olivier Polge, Chanel’s perfumer, with inspiring me to take notice of this simple olfactory moment. In September, I met with Polge in the fields of Grasse in southern France where flowers are grown for their fragrances. When I asked him about some of his favourite memories associated with scent, he recalled a time 20 years ago when he was in southern Italy in a huge shed filled with bergamot. “In my mind, I remember that smell as if it were yesterday,” he said, smiling. “Sometimes [the scents you remember are simple], like when you put your hands on the leaves of a geranium.” While I was in Grasse, I also had a bucketlist opportunity to tour tuberose and jasmine fields with Joseph Mul, the graciously understated farmer whose family has worked the land for generations. In 1987, Mul started growing flowers that Chanel uses in its fragrances. Read “Bewitched” (page 60) to discover what bloom lingers most in his mind. Growing flowers requires patience and passion, but the payoff is a new crop each spring that is destined to live on in the fragrances we then imprint with our own memories and dreams.