What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


For the past week we have been having bitterly cold weather. Everything is frozen solid outside, and all of the plants with green leaves have that sad, beat-up, leathery look that they get when it’s freezing. In fact, they’re a good gauge of temperature because as soon as it warms up they start looking normal again. The air is perfectly still, the sky is perfectly clear and blue, The Olympics are perfectly white, and the sun is doing its best to peek over the southern horizon and shine horizontally on everything for a few hours a day.

The winter solstice is only two weeks away, so it’s not surprising that the days are short. What is surprising is all of the dry, cold weather we're having. Normally it’s cool, cloudy, and wet this time of year, but not freezing! Global climate change seems to have turned the Pacific Northwest into Siberia.

The saddest thing of all was seeing a little female hummingbird early this morning trying to drink at the feeder outside my window and realizing that the sugar-juice was frozen solid. I hope she managed to go up the street and find nectar in some of the winter-blooming flowers in the neighbors’ yards, but I’m afraid they were frozen, too. I brought the feeder in, thawed the liquid, topped it off, and put it outside again hoping the hummingbirds would find it before it freezes again. From now on, until it warms up, I’m going to bring it inside at night.

I hadn’t been in the greenhouse for a week, but did venture in there today to check the temperature and see what, if anything had frozen. Amazingly, a lot of my pleurothallids and other small-flowered orchids have burst into bloom! They must be enjoying the cold a lot more than I am. 

[Photos of Fairbanks, Alaska at noon on the winter solstice and a hummingbird at a red plastic feeder just like mine are both adapted from Wikimedia. Trisitella hoeijeri photo is mine.] 


  1. Hi Ellen,

    The frozen hummingbird juice happened at my mother's house too! She said they were looking in her window wondering what was going on.

    Our resident hummingbirds are usually feeding off the Fatsia Japonic this time of year, but that too is frozen. I just wish it would snow! That would warm things up a bit.

    1. It seems perverse to wish it would snow to warm things up, but I suppose even snow would help given how cold it is. Poor hummingbirds!