I never cease to be amazed by the way that certain smells evoke such strong memories that you are immediately transported to the place and situation where you first encountered them. Whenever I smell Cashmere Bouquet soap I am transported to childhood when I was in the Latrobe hospital having my appendix removed. Mum must have bought me Cashmere Bouquet soap or even talcum powder to take to the hospital and for the rest of my life I have associated its perfume with that time.
The first time I ever picked a freesia was on a nature walk with the Brownie pack. ( Brownie is now known as Junior Girl Guide).Mrs Walsh from Port Sorell conducted meetings of Brownies at the Wesley Vale Area School and I was a proud badge wearing Fairy as we gathered regularly around the magnificently painted red and white paper mache toadstool. I don’t remember how I got to be a Fairy or even what the other categories were and I have no recollection of the badges that we worked to achieve. But I do remember the little brown uniform and the big yellow tie with the gold Fairy badge in the middle.
Sometimes we went for short walks nearby and on one of these occasions we walked along a lane which was lined with freesias growing wild. They were the old fashioned ones that were mauve, yellow and white with the most beautiful strong perfume. I have loved them ever since. These days plant breeding has resulted in freesias of all colours with much longer stems than I remember and whilst they still have perfume it is not as overwhelming as the old fashioned variety.
My niece Nicola, and her partner Paul from Port Sorell grow freesias for the nursery trade and I visited their hot houses recently to enjoy all those beautiful flowers. But I have to confess in spite of all that plant breeding, I still prefer the old mauve, yellow and whites from years gone by.