Friday, August 15, 2008

A Note Of Provence

lavender and a busy bee in our garden


Aside from the warm weather, Roman vestiges like the Pont de Gard (a roman aqueduct) and the centuries-old arena at Arles, hilltop villages and the blue Mediterranean sea, Provence (a region in the southeast of France) is also known for its lavender fields. A cloak of blue–violet color covering a vast track of land with a stone cottage (and a cypress or two) in the middle against green rolling hills and a blue sky is the subject of many Proven├žal postcards and watercolor paintings. The fields, with its hue and the undulating movement created by rows and rows of lavender shrubs give me the impression of an inland sea coquettishly beckoning tourists and locals alike to immerse themselves in its delightfully aromatic universe.



We have our own piece of
this fragrant oasis in our garden. Even bees find our lavender bushes a haven in their quest for nectar. No need to go to the South to experience that marvelous assault on one’s visual and olfactory senses by the scent and beauty of lavender flowers. All I have to do is go outside, look at our row of nard (another name for lavender) and on a clear sunny day, I already feel like being transported to the warm, breezy Provence. Of course, nothing beats the real thing. But then, I’m quite content with having just a whiff of that delectable fragrance that evokes visions of balmy summer days, of afternoons spent outside under a shade of a tree, of traditional recipes and cures of yesteryears.



And speaking of popular remedies, lavender has been known for its therapeutic uses since ancient times. The Romans used it in their baths in the belief that the scent/essence would restore the skin; hence a pound of lavender is equivalent to a farm laborer’s monthly salary. And in Grasse (a town in Southeastern France, also known as the perfume capital) lavender oil was used in gloves with the intention of warding off The Plague. This idea seems sound for the scent repels fleas, and fleas are responsible for transmitting the disease.


And I think this belief has persisted for lavender is traditionally used in the modern times as an anti-clothing moth. Well, moth is different from fleas, but then, maybe lavender scent has the same effect on the former, especially for clothings made of wool. As for us, we harvest our lavender, preserve them in small sachets and put them inside our closets. Even if this is not very effective, I still do this. At least our clothes would smell good, especially those which are kept for long periods of time.

We still have yet to harvest our lavender flowers for this year. In the meantime, I’m letting the bees do their own “harvesting.” (Selerines, I don't have a picture of a rose with a bee on it. But I have these ones. They are not photos of roses, but lavender flowers have their own kind of beauty and bees love them).

6 comments:

Selerines said...

Lareine really i am telling.. I am searching for these kind of flowers so along.. I saw these things in many movies.. Thanks for it... It's looking so nice... Fine...

Kimberly said...

Beautiful! I can practically smell it (so wonderful) through my monitor.

Wendy Lopez-Redaon said...

i've seen many pictures of this lovely flower called lavender. never seen or smelled a real one though i dont think they grow here. when i get my english garden someday, i'll definitely plant some of these beautiful and fragrant flowers!

FRANCINE said...

oi lareine musta na? haiii ako busy. anyways, nag shopping ka na ba sa orleans? shopping mo ko ng marami ha promise i'll pay you through paypal.i'll shoulder the shipping cost

Gallicissa said...

Thanks for this informative post. I have never seen lavenders before and now I know how they look like.
I would love to smell one one day.

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I am back in the blogsphere and will update my blog soon.

lareine said...

to selerines: i read that they also grow in southeast regions of india... maybe when you get the opportunity to go there, you'll see many of the for real :)...

to kimberly: thanks! the scenery and the scent are more heavenly in lavender fields in the south of france :)...

to wendy: they also grow in pots... and since its fragrance is relaxing, it's a welcome scent after a stressful day... there are lavender seeds available here, but i haven't tried growing one from them... if you cannot find nurseries that sell lavender plants, you can try seeds :)...

to francine: i haven't been to orleans shops these past few weeks... but i'll look for items you might like when i go there next time...

to gallicissa: hope to see updates soon... i'm also a bit behind in updating this blog, so i'll try to at least write one new entry before the month is through :)...

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