And a very Happy Independence Day to you, dear readers. I hope your day is full of fun, family and friends. Don’t blow up the neighborhood, and don’t drink and drive. Here endeth your community service announcement.

I would like you to give a moment’s thought to science. Personally, I was supremely average at science at school, knowing full well that my possible career path, nay, verily, my future, was never going to be hunched over a microscope, nor was it going to be involved in the blowing up of anything. But I do doff my cap to scientists. Just think of the incredible inroads science has made to our lives.

Refrigeration, television, air conditioners (thank the Lord and pass the gin as we head full bore into summer), toothpaste for heaven’s sake, automobiles, airplanes – you name it, science had a hand in it.

Smallpox? Wiped off the face of the earth due to science. Antibiotics beating Berty Germs across the world. Vaccinations saving children from the horrors of complications of measles and chicken pox. It’s incredible to think what has been achieved.

But I feel I would like to metaphorically pull their heads in just a tiny bit. Just a wee bit.

What is more important to you – the perfume of a flower, or the beauty of it? How about a fruit or vegetable? Is it the size and shape, or is it the flavor you look for?

I will bet you my darling Sir (no, no, I’m not making a bet with Sir, I am betting you my actual Sir – you win him, or I lose him) that at least 95% will go with fragrance and taste.

But what have scientists done? Well, let me tell you. Sir – who is up on the auction block as I speak – sent me some gorgeous flowers last week because I’d been an extremely good egg, and he’d been a pain in the bum.

Magnificent lilies and roses. So lovely to see, but in burying my face in the bouquet, as one does – not a whiff of anything. Nada. Zip. At what point did science believe that we would rather look at a perfectly shaped and sized rose than to inhale the heady perfume? That’s right, science has bred the fragrance out of flowers, and I for one think it’s a crying shame.

I remember as a kid walking home from school and picking wild freesias to surprise Mum. Never mind that roots were still attached to their stems. These inconsequential flowers had the most magnificent scent. Now? Science has bred freesias on steroids – huge petals – no scent at all.

Now flip over to fruits and veggies. Tomatoes, fresh from the garden, are amazing. Let the scientists at them and what we have now are perfectly symmetrical, beautifully red orbs that taste of a vaguely acidic water. Heirloom tomatoes are exquisite, but the store stops buying them because they “look funny.” And don’t get me started on strawberries.

I think the Beatles said it the best, dear scientist.

Let it be.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at