Dedicated to perfume and scented plants, our Botanical Collection is the experimental centre of Parterre Fragrances – a collection of rare and unusual plants, where the key ingredients for our perfumes are grown, harvested and distilled.
The Botanical Collection is where we research, trial and grow our rare ingredients. Our Collection and gardens also help us to bring to life the fascinating history of scented plants and some of the stories behind perfume making.
CREATING PRECIOUS INGREDIENTS
The ingredients define the perfume. Transforming rare and important plant varieties into perfume oils requires dedication and skill.
The intensity of the scent is achieved through nurturing the plants, picking at the optimum moment and distilling with care. Ingredients can take 7 years to grow and prepare. Distillation may take days, producing just a few teaspoons of oil. Truly as valuable as gemstones.
The oils produced are then sent to our Master Perfumer in Grasse, where they become signature notes in our fragrances.
RARE PERFUME PLANTS AND INGREDIENTS
What do we mean by a rare perfume plant or ingredient? These are plants that are not commonly used in perfume for various reasons.
Genuinely rare plants like Vetiver, that have a small population or are only grown in small quantities around the world.
Unusual ingredients like Shiso that are not usually associated with perfume, or being grown in England.
Plants where it is difficult to extract the oil, like Iris or Rose, and therefore it is expensive to produce.
PLANTS AND FRAGRANCE FAMILIES
We organise our Collection in a number of ways, creating compartments for each type.
By fragrance family. This is how the perfume world thinks of different notes, ingredients and accords. How they smell and the type of ingredient and extract, such as floral or spicy.
By environment. From a botanical perspective, we need to ensure each plant is cultivated in its optimum environment. Collated from around the world, our Collection contains a wide range of varieties and types. From sub-tropical to temperate, annuals to perennials and trees. These determine where and how we nurture those precious plants.
The floral compartment focuses on the floral family of fragrances, and the design is based on the Orto Botanico, the oldest university garden in the world, founded in 1545 in Italy. Many of the flowers have scented petals eg. roses, jasmine, sweet peas, and lilies. The scent of other plants such as santolina and hyssop may not be apparent until you rub their leaves.
SUB-TROPICAL AND SPECIALIST
Many perfume ingredients are grown around the world in different climates and conditions. Increasingly Parterre is building upon its early success with unusual ingredients, such as Vetiver, and cultivating more specialist plant varieties. Some of these are not usually grown in England and this creates many challenges for our team.
The perfume crop fields are reached via The Avenue, and this is where the perfume ingredients are grown. Depending on the time of year, you might see the fields being ploughed, or the crops being planted, tended or harvested. Beyond, The Avenue leads on to the Lost Orchard where our bees are happily and productively located, and the River Meadow, a natural area and haven for wildlife which is perfect for relaxation.