The power of aromatherapy - curated without compromise
On the last day of our adventure I drive with my Mum in the direction of the north Norfolk coast. This area is so familiar to us both, and when we drive down the little street where we used to live and later visit on vacation, I start to get flashbacks in the form of physical sensations and memories flooding my being. We stop for ice cream, and visit the site of Norfolk Lavender, the most famous name in local lavender production. It looks like they don’t grow lavender commercially for essential oil anymore, but just for garden plants, bouquets and dried lavender for the tourist trade. That trade seems to be booming in their gift shop, but what interests me is their “National Collection of Lavenders” which aims to be a living archive of all known varieties of lavender. They are doing a pretty good job so far, and I had to give up trying to photograph all the different varieties long before I had got to the end. These pictures will give you an idea of the breadth of the collection though.
After a lunch of locally caught crab, we head back to Welney to pay our respects at the graves of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents…not to mention numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. We arrive towards dusk and place little bunches of fresh lavender on the headstone of my grandmother, Bobby, and grandfather’s grave.
I take a moment to remember and reflect on the gifts they gave me, and how my love of plants was kindled running along by his side in search of rare and fabulous botanical wonders.
As we walk out of the little churchyard of St.Mary’s I hesitate, something inside not wanting to leave this place where, despite having spent relatively little time in my life, I feel so at home. I notice that the evening sky is looking really pretty after the rain showers that this day had brought so I walk a little hoping to get a last picture or two of the fenland in which the village is situated. To my delight, amid the beautiful cloud formations that hang over the lush landscape, a rainbow appears. I have always felt that a rainbow over the landscape at the moment of departure is a special indication. As I drove away from my now home town of Sedona, AZ after my very first visit seventeen years ago the sky over the red rock cliffs was brightened by a beautiful rainbow, and I knew I would be returning very soon.
We break for lunch at the local inn and enjoy all sorts of traditional English fare (bangers and mash, chocolate sponge pudding with custard, blackberry and apple crumble, and some great warm, flat beer… J) before heading out to the Chamomile fields. First stop is the newly planted English Chamomile field. Brushing the leaves of the [...]Read More
Our true destination in England was an area called the Norfolk Broads in the flat, lowlands that comprise the region East Anglia to the north and east of London. Here we are to meet with Ken Goodger, a grower and distiller of, amongst other things, English and German Chamomiles. When Ken and I first met [...]Read More
Arriving in England, we find the world opens up for us and everything flows with a delightful simplicity and ease. There is something about being on home soil that is nourishing in a way that seems never to change, but is difficult to pinpoint accurately. We glide from the plane to passport control, to baggage [...]Read More
Our botanical excursion day in France involved a trip to the Parc du Vercors, a huge nature reserve that stretches from the Drome Valley up and into the high areas of the Rhone Alpes.In discussions with Manu, our host for our stay in France, I discovered that there were many walks close by her farm [...]Read More
After our meeting with Veronique, we asked if we could tour some of the Lavender fields with her. We were joined by her colleague Remy, an expert in lavender production since many years. The first field we enter has an interesting mix of plants. As we stand at the head of the field, we see small, [...]Read More
Field of 2 year old MailletteThere are dozens of different types of Lavender, each with a different chemistry, scent and therapeutic potential. People generally think that Lavender is Lavender is Lavender, but nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of folk who go into a store to buy a bottle of Lavender essential [...]Read More
We arrive at our destination in the French department of Drome late in the night having driven around Geneva looking for a way out, and then negotiating rain and cloud as we headed south. Getting up the next day we enjoyed a typical French breakfast of coffee, croissants, toast and homemade preserves, made special by [...]Read More
We timed our visit perfectly to Croatia to coincide with the helichrysum harvest – almost too perfectly, as many of the people we wanted to spend time with were entirely taken up with making the most of the days allotted by the Croatian authorities for the collection of this healing herb. Nevertheless, we made new [...]Read More
The standout experience of our happy visit to Croatia came on our last day. We were grateful to the whole family Sladic for inviting us into their lives during the busiest weeks of their year.In Croatia, the helichrysum that is distilled for its essential oil is collected from the wild, and management of this valuable [...]Read More