Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lavender country


The summer I was fifteen I went up towards the mountains for the lavender harvest. It was Marthe’s idea, she who persuaded our parents to let me go to see for myself how the ridged uplands had been transformed into purple carpets where the scent was born.

                                                             from The Lantern

The lavender harvest will begin in the next few weeks, so the end of July is the perfect time to see fields of purple. As the hills rise into mountains, the checkerboards of colour are grow more dense against the green and pale stone. The warmer the day, the more heavily the air is perfumed.


Ask anyone about lavender, and the chances are they won’t be able to give you a description of its aroma. But more often than not, they can give you some visual reference. Lavender is color, waving fields of purple, rich blues and faded mauve. It is the essence of blue and of the warm winds of summer, opulent against the yellow of the cornfield, mysteriously shadowed under the olives that are sometimes planted as its companion.


These fields are in Sault, in the great lavender-producing area of the north-west of Provence. This small town, built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the narrow plateau where the crops grow, seems almost entirely dedicated to its industry. Even the shutters and doors of many of the buildings are painted mauve:


Local produce in the butcher's shop includes pork with lavender honey:


There are lavender biscuits, and lavender teas...


And just look at the sumptuous purple of this tablecloth:


And shops entirely devoted to lavender and sunshine...


28 comments:

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Gorgeous shots. Just lovely.

Jennifer Perry said...

So beautiful, and uplifting. Glad this was the first blog I looked at today.

Blu said...

I bought two lavender plants yesterday and the aroma in the car was superb. BTW I see you have accounts on twitter but no tweets.

Best wishes lover of all things blue & lavender!

Richard said...

Je connais très bien ces magnifiques paysages. Je suis souvent allé à Sault, au moment des lavandes, et c'est là que j'ai trouvé mes plus beaux sujets de coquelicots...

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Oh it must be a bit like living in heaven.
So, so stunning and exuberant and almost surreal for those of us sitting Stateside.
The smell wafting from the fields at sunset must be absolutely intoxicating and above all, soothing.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Alcira

nerochronicles.com

Elizabeth Young said...

Oh Deborah, thank you for transforming our eyes and spirits on something almost other worldly this morning. What a heaven within a heaven! Oh that I could stand on that hilltop for a few minutes even, to view and breathe that stupendous elixir. You have provided the next best thing here. Thank you!!

Jennifer said...

Wonderful photos as always. That tablecloth is gorgeous. I am still enjoying my lavender candle and the memories it brings of your lovely book.

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Visiting the lavender fields of Provence has long been one of my top vacation goals -- and your lovely photos certainly reinforce that! Absolutely lovely. And the scent must be incredible!

Ann said...

I just made six attendant bouquets, all of which contained fragrant lavender.

I've always wanted to see the lavender fields and stand down wind and enjoy!

MuMuGB said...

I can smell it from London Deborah!

aguja said...

This must be a paradise of scent and colour ... the whole post is 'simply lavender'.

renilde said...

Looking at your great shots i can really smell the lavender!

Lisa Erin said...

Lovely post. Lavender is one of my favorite things...I am quite envious that you get to experience those fields. :) I think the only edible product I have tried was some lavender sugar I purchased at an English tea room and shop in Ojai, California. (I think that's where the shop is...it was awhile ago.) The lavender flavor was subtle, but very nice in my tea.

I am really looking forward to receiving the copy of your book I pre-ordered. August 9th is just around the corner. :)

An Eye for Detail said...

I love going up to Sault...but have never been there at quite the right time for the lavender harvest! Oh, I can smell it all right now. Thank you for bringing it alive, once again!

Kelley said...

I love English Lavender. I grow it to use in my ceremonies and enjoy. It's such a wonderful fragrance.
It's great to meet you!

brenda said...

In every one of you photos there is a story waiting to bee written. Love this about traveling, the endless stops at the side of the road, snapping away. Even getting lost was fun because of the fields of color.. Still excited about your book.

Angela Bell said...

Lovely post! I have just been massaging lavender oil into my husbands feet! too much info eh?

Doreen said...

I love lavender. Those fields were beautiful! I love everything purple. Great photo's:)

Shelley Workinger said...

I had no idea lavender was used in so many foods! Does it just add its aroma, or does it have a particular taste as well?

zizi bloom said...

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zizi
www.zizibloom.blogspot.com

Carol said...

Beautiful pictures and such a doorway into a new world for me. I never even thought of lavendar as a crop until I began reading your book, which I am enjoying.

zizi bloom said...

thank you for following!
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theoncominghope said...

So beautiful! I love Provence and can't wait to go back there...

...louciao... said...

I used to think lavender was for old ladies, but now that I am of a certain age myself, I have come to love it. I dream of one day seeing the lavender fields of Provence in person. Meanwhile, I will breathe deeply while gazing at your lovely photos and reading your description.

Brynne said...

Lovely post...soOo happy to meet you, Deborah...my new magic friend! Hugs from afar!:)

Jenny Woolf said...

I love the lavender fields in Provence.

vanessafrance said...

Very evocative, Deborah. I love lavender and it does reasonably well here, although the conditions aren't perfect. As you write in The Lantern, no one can quite describe the scent.

KalpanaS said...

Like the photos of landscapes -lavender lavished!

''mysteriously shadowed under the olives that are sometimes planted as its companion'' - would be interested to know a bit more about this.

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