Sketches of Scents


Yesterday I discovered my favorite plants. The ones which smell I have been chasing for ages. I clearly remember their smells embedded in my mind but and the impossibility to find their source; was it a tree, a shrub, a flower or a grass. The smell was floating randomly above the ground and could be experienced from all directions.

It was a long chase. It took me a couple of years to come into its trail again.

The very first time I encountered  the scent was in the South Coast of Portugal, in the dunes, at night. The vivid, crisp smell stayed with me like a dream I wish to recall again and again.

3 years later I felt the hint of the smell in the West Coast of Ireland but could not point to its source. This time the smell was very weak and while breathing deeply I felt drowsy and lost. After awhile the smell has gone or I could not find it anymore. How frustrating, I was walking up and down along that country road near the sea like a mad man.

Yesterday, I was cycling along the beach on my way home in East Scotland. The air was hot and heavy: awaiting for a summer storm to come. The sea and the sky looked purple in the late sunset, animated by the crushing white and the silver shine of the waves.

I was cycling along the houses and gardens and… the scent Was there. I pushed my bike from the road slowly and let it to lean on the nearest fence. The joy of a hunter following his senses forward the unknown species, immobilized near by, waiting to be discovered after such a long time of search, sweet prey fulfill me completely. I know that plants Cannot move, not quickly enough but the air that carries their smell Can and can mislead me in my adventure but not this time.

That day in my neighborhood I discovered two plants with the scent of the Mediterranean summer from my memories.

  1.  Kingdom: plantae, Order: sterales, Family: asteracea, Genus: helichrysum, Species: Helichrysum italicum or as know as curry plant and
  2. Kingdom: plantae, Order: lamiales, Family: plantaginaceae, Species: Hebe Amy known as Hebe Amy



The place I smell the scent for the first time (2008), I start dreaming of it wherever I go from now on.


The second time the smell was very weak I felt dizzy (2012)


The garden where I discovered plant #1 (July 2016)


The garden where I discovered plant #2 (July 2016)

images source: Google Earth



Author: nedyalkapanova

Visual Artist working at the interface between Art and Science. Current project: Artist as a materials scientist. Guest artist to Organic Semiconductor Centre, Physics Department, University of St. Andrews.

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