Monday 10 May 2010

The Côte d'Azur - Flowers in Spring

The Peace Rose has the most incredible story and family history which I first read about it in the book by Antonia Ridge 'For the Love of a Rose.'  I defy anybody not to find it totally captivating! 
The Iris is the original Fleur-de-Lis of France, defined by its elegance and statuesque beauty and whose three points represent Faith, Wisdom and Charity.
A little valley at the far end of the Villa Ephrussi is a very welcome relief to the stylised gardens - you are magically back into the original landscape of Cap Ferrat. Everywhere you look flowers are celebrated and enjoyed, hanging in baskets or cascading over walls and up against shutters.  Paintwork reflects the colours of the earth and minerals found around here - ochre, umber, viridian and they all balance and complement the landscape and her flowers.
Sweetly scented jasmine, whose fragrance drifts across the air in the evenings and in through wooden shutters, adding its exotic fragrance to cool rooms.  This is a memory for me from my twenties when I was staying at an old country house one weekend.  I had arrived late at night and there had been a storm and a power cut so no electricity.  I went to bed in darkness but with the most  wonderful and incredible fragrance in the room only to awaken to sunlight steaming in through my open window together with the dawn chorus and the wonderful discovery of jasmine, which had been allowed to scramble through the open casement window to tumble into the bedroom.  Heaven.  I've planted jasmine wherever I have lived even if simply in a pot on a window ledge. 
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