They Can’t Take The Smell Out Of Carnations


Have you ever noticed that when you buy a bouquet of flowers from a florist or even a grocery outlet that the flowers have no smell?

There is nothing more disappointing than to be given a gift of flowers and to plunge your nose into them to inhale their scent and nothing.

Only the feeling of soft petals against your nose.

Flowers that you expect to have a smell like roses are fragrant-less.

So, I went and did a little research and found that it’s because of us that they are losing their scent.

People are buying flowers for their appearance so growers are catering to the trend.

Over the years the scent has been taken out as hybrids are produced to have a better appearance and lifespan and that doesn’t seem to include the smell.

In wildflowers, the smell is used to attract pollinators and is therefore needed to produce food for humans and feed for the birds and bees.

But in hothouse flowers, the animal attractions are merely a nuisance that might get someone stung.

Can you imagine a wild rose or a sweet pea with no smell?

Chances are they would die out rather quickly as they need pollinators to reproduce.

And right now… the world needs a lot of bees as the honey bee population is declining at a rate of 41% per year in America according to this article.

I’m so thrilled every year when I see the number of bees in my yard.

I’ve even set aside a wildflower garden specifically for them.

In order to know how important they are in the grand scheme of things, I did an interesting experiment this year without even realizing it.

I planted broccolini, cauliflower and cabbages in one of my raised garden beds and then planted some squash plants underneath them.

This way, I figured that once the brassicas were finished the squash would have filled in and I would get two crops from one bed.

I’m so clever I thought!

But just because I think I’m clever doesn’t mean I am. 🙂

Because what I proceeded to do was to cover the brassicas with netting to keep out the cabbage moths.

Which… it did.

And while it did such a good job of keeping out the moths it also did an excellent job of keeping out the bees.

Looking at my squash plants I would notice lots and lots of blossoms on them and then they would just fall off and no squash appeared.

Thinking it was because I was using a new seed supplier and that the seeds just weren’t any good I contemplated writing the seed company as I was so disappointed that my butternut squash wasn’t producing.

And it wasn’t until I was taking the netting off the raised bed that I realized what had happened.

It wasn’t long after that I started noticing small gourds at the end of the blossoms as the bees had been busy doing what bees do but it was too late.

Although the squash started to grow it was mid-August and they never got big enough to harvest before fall set in.

That made me realize just how important bees are to our food supply.

So… how did I get off on the tangent of bees when the title of this article was about carnations.

Just happened and I went with the flow.

It all started when Rob brought me home a beautiful bouquet of flowers which consisted of red roses, chrysanthemum, alstroemeria and carnations along with some cedar boughs and salal for greenery.

And none of them had any scent except for the white carnations which smell like honey and cloves.

In trying to find out why they still have their smell when all the other flowers didn’t, it appears that they look just fine with their smell and still last longer than most other flowers in a bouquet.

Yes, they have lost the really intense smell that you would get if you had them growing in the garden and there are some carnations that have been modified like the tiny button carnations that the smell has been taken out.

I’ve always thought that carnations were a filler in a flower arrangement as they are cheaper, last longer and provide colour.

But, I’ve been known to be wrong.

Now I see that if you are lucky enough to get a flower arrangement with carnations in it you will be guaranteed a smell sensation.

What more could you ask from a flower?


  1. Interesting, interesting article. I’m so glad you did the research for the rest of us. Let us not underestimate the power of bees.
    Thank you thank you.


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