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tamrasue
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Why does my lilac bush smell like moth balls?

I have always wanted a lilac bush because the smell is a little piece of heaven. However, since I live in Texas it is too hot for most varieties. I finally found some that would grow here and have nurtured them for about 8 years now. A few years ago they started blooming, but the flowers all smell like moth balls. Is it the variety, or is there something I can do differently to make the blossoms smell like heaven instead of my granny's linen drawer?

Thanks for any suggestions, Tamrasue

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applestar
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Re: Why does my lilac bush smell like moth balls?

That's kind of interesting that you said "my granny's linen drawer" because I think of lilac and lavender ...and maybe violets as typical fragrances associated with grandmothers -- old fashioned linen closet and drawer potpourri scents. Did your grandmother use natural or artificial scents for her linens? I believe most mothballs have artificial fragrances of one of those or cedar that are probably strong enough to at least compete with the naphtha and other volatile chemical smell. Same industrial fragrances might be used for Laundry products.

I wonder what your grandmother used for her linens?

If this is your first actual lilac, where is your impression of "little piece of heaven" coming from? From the northern climate varieties? Also, what is the variety that you can grow in Texas?


...also as an aside... very early on, my MIL was trying to be helpful in our garden and without our knowledge scattered mothballs all under the shrubs and among the perennials. She firmly believed they helped to protect the plants from pests. Aside from the toxicity to the environment and not wanting them near any edibles, I am sensitive to the chemicals -- DH had to go around picking them all up and dispose of them. My reaction that day was "WHY does my garden smell like mothballs" ...I'm telling this story just in case you have a well-meaning relative as well.
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told2b
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Re: Why does my lilac bush smell like moth balls?

https://boisdejasmin.com/note/indole

Indole is often described as “fecal and animalic,” which is a complete misrepresentation. In its pure form, indole smells like moth balls, possessing the same heavy, sweet, tar-like pungency. In fact, it is so strong, suffocating and diffusive that smelling it pure one is hard pressed to imagine that it could be a lovely floral note. Yet, indole changes dramatically in dilutions. It suddenly displays its radiant, floral quality. The suffocating moth ball effect disappears to give way to a completely different image–a handful of gardenia petals or a branch of jasmine flowers. The opulent, narcotic effect of indole is employed whenever a perfumer wants to create a floral effect or else to give a lift to a heavy, oriental composition.

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