As I had been struggling to get over the final remnants of a flu virus this spring, I recently took a last-minute trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to “restore the soul and senses.” Santa Fe is full of vibrant southwest color and culture – but, especially in the springtime, it is also a feast for the nose, full of beautiful fragrances and aromas at every turn. Here’s a quick look at some of the springtime scents of Santa Fe.
Springtime Blossoms in Santa Fe
If you are lucky enough to visit Santa Fe in springtime, you’ll find the air filled with the fragrant aroma of cherry blossoms. Not only beautiful to look at, with small clusters of pale-pink flowers, the scent of cherry blossoms is intoxicating, too.
There are many varieties of cherry, belonging to the Prunus genus. Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus are two common species used to extract cherry kernel oil for aromatherapy use.1 The oil is extracted from the fruit of the tree, and not the actual blossoms.
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), that most elusive of aromas to bottle for perfumery and aromatherapy use, is also abundant in Santa Fe gardens and on street corners.
Fragrant Herbs in Santa Fe
It seems like every corner and garden is overflowing with fragrant herbs in Santa Fe, if you look closely. You’ll often find an unexpected delight on a street corner such as peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris); I found peppermint growing in front of one of many bookstores in Santa Fe.
Sage (Salvia spp.) was also abundant in places such as bookstore gardens (Santa Fe style), downtown gardens, and hotel gardens.
Spring and Summertime Favorite Scents in Santa Fe
Other springtime and summer scents I found on my trip included honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), and rose (Rosa spp.). Geraniums are spilling out of pots on window ledges and in cafe gardens; honeysuckle clambers over fences and gates; and roses were just starting to bloom, so I could only imagine the further abundance of color and scent if you were to visit Santa Fe in summer.
Traditional Pine Aromas of Santa Fe
Santa Fe is situated at an elevation of 7,000 ft. +, so it is no surprise that you’ll encounter tree species such as Pinyon pine on your trip. Cooling pine trees are found both within downtown Santa Fe (including the historic plaza area) and on the trails outside of town.
Where to Find Aromatic Plants in Santa Fe, New Mexico
As an aromatherapist and gardener, I constantly seek out aromatic plants on my travels, and you really don’t have to look hard to find them in Santa Fe. Located on street corners, down a hidden alleyway, in downtown residences and gardens, and in hotel and restaurant courtyards, you’ll find an aromatic scent wafting your way during spring and summertime in Santa Fe.
However, if you are a serious student of aromatic plants you might be interested in Santa Fe Botanical Gardens.2 Unlike Tucson Botanical Gardens, the gardens here are in their infancy and, although there isn’t much to see at the moment, they should become an educational and pleasant place to visit in a few years time. Santa Fe Botanical Gardens are open for visiting at the moment, and if you are interested in supporting the future work of the gardens, you can visit, contribute, and see the work being done to create Santa Fe’s prospective botanical education.
Learn More About Aromatic Plants with Sedona Aromatics
If you are interested in learning more about aromatic plants and how they are used in aromatherapy, take a look at the Sedona Aromatics Certificate in Holistic Aromatherapy.
Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead
Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, author’s visit May 2016.
Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.