In which Stella gets green fingers

Essential oils are the heart and soul of Stella Says: The search for quality, ethically produced oils with the right fragrance notes and their careful, painstaking blending to find the right balance, occupies almost as much of my time as the process of creating the products they go into.

As any fan of Stella’s will know, the blend in every one of our products is combined by hand, using the power of my nose (and those of some willing friends) to ensure a perfect blend every time, in every batch.

So this year I decided to take my knowledge of these crucial ingredients a step further, by using a small corner of my garden to grow my own plants. As well as introducing some beautiful, scented flowers to my environment - and helping our vital pollinators to boot - I hoped this would help me to understand and appreciate the fragrances more.

I must say that the entire process has been more satisfying than I could have imagined: taking seed and nurturing it in trays of compost: Planting young seedlings in the spring earth and then watching, day by day, as the light grows stronger and the plants mature, flower, set seed and finally, as the light levels begin to decline and the temperatures drop, decay back to the earth.

From the bright, bold orange of Calendula, to the gentle purple of Lavender, from the pungent, piquant fragrance of Geranium leaves to the dusky, sultry musk of a rose, being able to interact with these plants has given me a greater awareness of the source of the fragrances which make up my blends, and I think, made me appreciate them all the more for that.

Being able to see, smell and touch the plants and flowers the oils originate from in their ‘living’ form, has connected me to their fragrances in a more immediate, 'natural' way.

I believe that the experience is reflected in some of the subtle changes I have made in some of my blends, but you dear customers will be the judges of that!

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