The Gardenias Are Out! And a Few Perfume Recipes Too


I’m so happy its getting warmer and the heady, intoxicating scent of gardenias is everywhere. So fragile, so pretty and oh what a scent! And the good news is you can buy gardenia absolute – it’s more expensive like the other floral extractions of rose, jasmine and neroli – but worth every scent (get it? cent/scent). What can you do with gardenia absolute?



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the beautiful gardenia

the beautiful gardenia


Because this floral scent is so special and so unique, you don’t need to mix it up too much. You could treat it in the way you use jasmine oil, as it has an exotic white floral scent indicative of summer evenings somewhere delightful.

Here a a couple of recipes you try with this precious oil, and my general rules for making an anointing perfume:


Pure Pulse Point Perfume

In a little dish mix these oils and anoint your pulse points or chakras – 3 drops of essential oils and dilute with a few drops of carrier oil – always patch test first!


The classic Duralex glass dish is handy to make oil blends and quick perfumes in

The classic Duralex glass dish is handy to make oil blends and quick perfumes in


“An Evening by the River”

gardenia absolute             1 drop

cedarwood Atlas               1 drop

palmarosa                         1 drop


” Being”

gardenia absolute             2 drops

bergamot                         1 drop




“La Verite”

gardenia absolute             1 drop

jasmine absolute               1 drop

orange                               1 drop




gardenia absolute             1 drop

lime                                  1 drop

ginger                               1 drop

mixed into some coconut oil


“Femme Fatale”

gardenia absolute             2 drops

sandalwood Mysore         1 drop

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair


“Holiday: Madonna vs Billie”

gardenia absolute            1 drop

peru balsam                     1 drop

patchouli                         1 drop


Have you ever used gardenia absolute? I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

copyright 2016



My Flowering Happy Plant, The Unexpected Gifts of Nature and Other Amazing Scents

My Flowering Happy PlantDracaena fragrans CV Massangeana,

My Flowering Happy Plant
Dracaena fragrans CV Massangeana,

The other night while walking through the back streets of Redfern, my friend and I were stopped in our tracks by a wall of sweet, natural, heady, flower perfume. We looked around, expecting to see a Murraya (I’ll talk about that later) but were amazed to see a few very tall “happy plants” with a mass of flower stalks emitting an entrancing pungent scent. It was a balmy quiet night, and we were blessed.

A day later I looked out my window into my atrium of happy plants to see 3 flowers. I was thrilled and amazed at the same time. Up until a day ago I never knew these plants flowered at all and now I was sleeping in a cocoon of scent. I lay under the mosquito net feeling like I lived in a tropical paradise. I’m only 10 minutes from the centre of Sydney. Lucky me! If only this could be distilled into an essential oil ……

Do you ever have those moments when you are blessed with something wonderful? Perhaps we need to be more open to the abundant nature of the universe so we can allow magic moments to happen more often. We tend to be quite narrowly focused – with mobile phones, computers and TV. They literally narrow our vision, and tend to narrow our other senses too. When it comes to scent I feel that we are so bombarded with synthetic scent it compromises our ability to attune to the scent of nature. I would take 1 single drop of essential oil over ANY perfume created in a lab with a marketing machine and a billion dollar company behind it. Nature is simple (in it’s complexity), and it codes the secrets of the universe in flowers, trees, crystals, the sand on a beach and the waves in the ocean.

Wake up! Open your senses, be stunned by the beauty of nature, and discover the reason for your existence!

The "Golden Ratio" seen in the centre os this sunflower is a code found throughout the universe

The “Golden Ratio” is seen in the centre of this sunflower – it’s a code found throughout the universe

There are a few other flowers I love too, that are not distilled into essential oils for various reasons – the main one being that it’s not economically viable. Perhaps no one has put the energy into it, or they are seasonal and it’s hard to gain enough flowers at a given time, to distill.

the beautiful gardenia

the beautiful gardenia – Gardenia jasminoides

Aaaahhhh the divine gardenia. What a scent! Billie Holiday wore gardenias in her hair (see my article and I do too, whenever I can. It’s the intoxicating scent of promise, the scent of spring and new beginnings. It is unique and hard to describe in words, but once you’ve smelt one you will never be the same again. If only it were an essential oil …..

Murraya paniculata - the flowers even look like jasmine

Murraya paniculata – the flowers even look like jasmine

This is Murraya and some call it Orange Jessamine. It usually blooms early and late summer and has the depth of jasmine but with a particular hint of neroli (or orange blossom). Sometimes I’ll just stand near the flowering bush for a while to try and absorb the scent into my pores. Like jasmine and gardenia, it is pungent and emits its divine scent into the environment just because that’s its mission. I feel it’s my duty to pay homage to this beautiful entity, whether on paper and words, or when I stand by and deeply breathe it into my lungs. If only it were an essential oil……..

One of the magnolia flowers - this is the flower I see the most around Sydney

One of the magnolia flowers – this is the flower I see the most around Sydney

The magnolia tree is quite magnificent, even when it’s bare. The flower which blooms in late winter/early spring is soft, sweet and subtle. There are many species and sub species of magnolia and they all differ in look and scent. Some trees lose their leaves and other don’t. I love the bare magnolia tree – it makes us wait for the magic! I’m always thinking of the mauve/pink flower when I think magnolia. The colour and the scent go hand in hand and it is obvious to me that the flower is worth waiting for – it’s almost regal. It’s a bit hard to wear one of these flowers in your hair because they can be quite large, but to scent your space with magnolia is like giving thanks to Mother Earth through scented prayer. If only it was an essential oil……..

If only they were essential oils….


copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Really? Perfume for clothes? Yuck!

Scented washing liquid

Scented washing products

In the commercial for this product (a scented fabric softener), the gorgeous woman in her LBD (see my article on the LBD ), has run out of all her glamourous perfumes. She looks everywhere. I think she lives in Paris and wears designer clothes. She’s wearing stockings with a seam at the back and maybe she’s going out for an intimate dinner. Oh no, what is she going to do without her perfume? Here’s a brilliant idea…… take off your dress and wash it with this fragrant product – just like perfume for your clothes. NO!!!!!!

Have you ever smelled these vile, toxic, synthetic, over-scented products? They are so strong and so false, they exude out of the container and assault you when you are walking down the laundry isle in the supermarket. It’s not just this particular brand, but many brands. Clearly I can’t stand them. Any of them. My recommendation is to buy an unperfumed washing soap, and if you really feel you need some fragrance, chuck in a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. Or even just the juice of a lemon – and squeeze the rind into the juice too (as this contains the essential oil).

the lovely lemon

the lovely lemon

We have completely gone overboard with synthetic fragrance. It screws with our sense of smell and interferes with healthy living. It prevents us from turning scent into valuable information. It dominates over the beauty of nature and our divine natural connection to the earth. Chemicals are absorbed and stored by our bodies – is it any wonder that western society has sickness and disease? Don’t for one minute think that a little bit of perfume won’t harm you. Extended exposure to toxicity within and without, is bad.

So what could have our glamourous lady from the ad, scented her beautiful skin with? In a couple of minutes our lady –

* could have found some citrus fruit, cut some rind, and squeezed the essential oil on her skin and hair – grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, mandarin.

the amazing vanilla pod

the amazing vanilla pod

* could have used some vanilla extract from the cupboard and dabbed a little on her wrists, behind her ears. Or rubbed a vanilla pod on her wrists.

* could have bought or picked a single scented flower for her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

* could have ground up some black pepper, cinnamon or any spice with a little oil, and used that as a perfume. How delicious would a little bit of nutmeg and pepper be?

I’m sure you can think of a few more too. But if she didn’t have the scented fabric softener she probably could have sprayed her highly toxic, scented deodorant all over her – yep that would have worked!

Hey – instead of fabric softener use half a cup of bi-carbonate of soda. It works and you can always add some essential oils to the mix.

Please be mindful, and informed. Choose wisely.