The Fun, Flirty Scents of LA


Four Ways California Native Fragrances Go Straight to Our Hearts

February 12, 2018, By Cassy Aoyagi: We’d know a California native with our eyes closed. Every time we brush past one, we remember there is just something distinctive about their scent that both intoxicates and feels like home.

When it comes to fragrance, California natives…

…Tend to Be a Little Fresh

The natural scent of Los Angeles is every bit as fresh and flirty as the service at The Ivy. Most authentic native plants carry a scent somewhere in the minty to clean range. The fragrance dances on the sea breeze, bringing levity and joy without demanding too much attention for itself. Unless you care to give it!


… and you might. Even when not in bloom, Mondardella macrantha and Coyote Mint have charming greens likely to catch your eye. While he’s not a bloomer, California Sagebrush tends to wave a lot. If you stop to say hello, you’ll leave elevated by his lighthearted scent.

…Know How to Give a Complement

While light hearted flirtation seems to be our baseline, there are natives who bring seasonal sweetness. As a composition, the scents of Hummingbird Sage and Ceanothus add depth and substance even those accustomed to the indulgent scents of rose and jasmine can enjoy. Then, just when you begin think their sweet fragrance could get cloying, it retreats and leaves you yearning for more.


Other Angelenos, believe it or not, are quite down to earth. White and Pitcher’s Sage fit this profile. After wandering through the flirtatiousness of mint and the absorbing the sweetness of Ceanothus and Hummingbird sage, their sensual, savory scents are grounding, almost heartwarming.

…Bring it All Year

Yes. We brag about the longevity of LA native gardens all the time. Not that we’re competitive, but we love that LA blooms year round! That said, bringing sensational scent is about far more than the (spectacular!) bloom show.


Because many LA native plants carry their fragrance in their foliage, they hold a baseline scent. Individual blooms, like Salvia clevelandii, may intensify the baseline fragrance of their foliage. Others, like Hummingbird Sage, bring notes that add a seasonal sensuality to their scent.

…May Even Make Us See Greater Beauty

Recent research shows that our brains process all sensory feedback in the same area. It turns out what we hear can impact what we taste! While we haven’t seen any data to prove it, we feel the visual beauty of a garden is enhanced when we are captivated by its scent! What do you think? Try wandering through an authentic LA garden or two, and let us know!

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