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Aromatic Impact

There's nothing better than getting a whiff of something lovely in a bouquet. British-grown flowers are more often than not full of scent and are a pleasure to every sense. The addition of herbs really makes an aromatic impact.   Eucalyptus has become the current favoured foliage in hand-tied arrangements, but there are many other culinary and medicinal herbs to choose from including, sage, rosemary, lemon balm and mint, packed with scent and sentiment.   Olfaction is so powerful that having a herb in a special bouquet can stimulate the mind and evoke many feelings and memories long forgotten. My own wedding bouquet was filled with greyish garden sage and every time I smell that herb when cooking I am transported back to that very special day. Aptly, for a wedding bouquet, sage is said to increase a woman's fertility.   Rosemary's needle-like evergreen leaves, moreover, are for remembrance. It has a long history of not only being worn by mourners and placed with the deceased for wishes of immortality, but also carried by brides taking treasured memories of their old home into their new marital abode.   And no herb is more recognised, both by sight or smell, as mentha – in particular peppermint. And it happens the mythology behind it is rather bittersweet: The young nymph Menthe caught the eye of Hades, the ruler of the underworld. Hades' wife, Persephone, was not amused and turned Menthe into a little, inconsequential plant that people might tread upon. Hades couldn't reverse the curse, but he did give her a divine, aromatic scent   Mint was given the 'herb of hospitality title', meanwhile, when two strangers – but really the gods Zeus and Hermes – were looking for food and were given a meal by an old couple who rubbed the dinner table clean with mint leaves. As such, it is given the meaning 'warmth of feeling'.   Maybe choosing greenery is not quite so simple after all! Who's for a herbilicious bouquet?   By Leonie Bennett