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"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)


Thursday, 31 July 2008

daphne ~ in a vintage garden

I know that i have mentioned daphne before... but I could not ignore posting about it again.. bringing back more memories of my fragrant childhood garden memories...
I can't remember either of my grandma's having this plant growing in their own gardens (although I am sure they did), but I do remember the plant growing at Auntie Elsies place.. she was my Nan's sister and lived in an old federation house in a suburb of Sydney. She was 'proper'... when we went to visit her, we had to be on our best behaviour and wore our good clothes. We weren't allowed to run amok in the garden but had to behave like ladies.

We were given lemon cordial served in a glass jug with matching glasses. Lunch was always in the 'formal' dining room, never on the scrubbed pine table in the kitchen. The table was set with various knives and forks and the cucumber was peeled and scraped with a fork, putting ridges in the slices... onion was served in vinegar and sprinkled with sugar... as only the rich do. Oh yes, Auntie Elsie certainly had airs and graces. I was in awe of her. Smelling very much like ladies do, of lavender and violets..
her garden was a delight.. we were allowed to wander around after lunch...I remember when we arrived at her home, the brick fence with a gate that opened onto a path that lead to the front door... a gorgeous russet and cream tesselated tile path... and my little feet would walk up that path, feeling very grand in their patented leather shoes, with white lace topped socks of course. I can remember wanting to skip up that path but the serious, perfect little capricorn in me, would not allow that... oh no.. I had to behave so that I would be a good little girl... so, I walked demurely along, trying to stop those shoes from dancing! all the time, tut-tutting at my sister who let her inner child run!
at the step grew a magnificent daphne plant that greeted you with the most delightful perfume. a perfume that after all these years, still whisks me back to my little girl memories. Auntie Elsie had a cut glass bowl that was placed in the middle of the dining room table, filled with daphne during winter and gardenias during summer.

I found this in my research on violets, it seems easy enough.. I might just make some for that dreadful dry winter skin that I seem to develop in this cold windy weather...

a simple recipe for violet salve which can be applied to the skin to help sooth it.

8 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon natural bees wax
1/2 Cup fresh violet flowers
2 drops Roman camomile 1/2 teaspoon honey

In a sauce pan or small pot, heat oil. Add flowers, wax & honey. Mix until well incorporated. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn heat off. Let stand for another 10 minutes. Strain off flowers & add essential oil. Pour into a clean container & let cool in the refrigerator.


Life at Inglewood today is cold, bitterly cold. My fire has been going non-stop for a week. Oh I know, it is not cold compared to many of my friends who live in the Northern hemisphere, but to us who live in the Land of sunshine & flowers... well, it is cold. I have been puttering around my home over the last week, seeing it with different eyes. I do love my home, but lately it has taken on an extra sacredness, like it is cocooning me from the world... I come into my own space that is my yard, surrounded by fences, close the gate and shut out the worries of the world. Then opening my door into my inner sanctum and come into my place of peace. Looking back over my soul journal the past year... I wrote: 'what do I wish to create?..... I wish to create a peaceful haven in my home......' and you know, I think I have done it.

The garden has virtually stopped, come to a standstill... resting, as it should in winter... the little finches are back, feeding on the grass seeds that are my lawn... I don't mow the grass during winter as the finches depend on it for their food...in one area of the grass, there is a whole patch of a tiny blue flower, I haven't a clue what it is.. but it is sweet, although a 'weed'.. I have seen it before.... perhaps in a previous life somewhere. Yesterday, while i was outside, I noticed the calendula and borage flowering in a tumbled confusion... blue & orange... such a perfect combination by Mother Earth... the daphne is still flowering profusely and the perfume is intoxicating... I can never understand why there wasn't a perfume made with this flower... or maybe there was...

20 comments:

Amy said...

It's been non stop rain here too, flooding, excessive winds and dreadful weather. My poor garden is feeling all the moisture. I am actually looking forward to spring (I can't believe I said that lol)

Lady Laurie said...

I am so glad you have created the haven you longed for within your home.
I am trying to do the same with our cottage, it has a very different feel, or energy then previously(sp?) and sometimes I miss the "feel" of our old home. It will never be the same, but hopefully I can turn it into our own enchanted cottage someday!

Kathryn Knoll said...

Next to gardenia, this is one of my all time favorites! It's one of those scents you can never sniff a deep enough sniff. I love reading your description of it, too and the scene you have painted of your childhood memories. You will do very well, in Inglewood, should anything happen to the powergrid. You have a safehaven that is so beautiful. I love come by here! hugs, Sr. K

A bird in the hand said...

I'm very prone to memories through scents. Mine are jasmin, lily of the valley, lavender. But you've got me wanting to find some daphne since I don't know their scent. Anyway, this whole post was a joy to read. xoxo

Cat said...

Wow, that was beautiful!

Thanks for the recipe.

amelia said...

It's so good to read that you have found a little peace in your corner of the world. We should all be able to do that at some point in our lives.

I just LOVED reading about the visits to your Aunt when you were a child. It took me right back to my Nans house. It sounds almost the same although they were very simple folk.

Caitlin said...

It's cold here too. We just had a big thunderstorm and hailstones.

Brrrr.

It's lovely by the fire though.

Pam said...

It's funny how we equate plants with people ie.Daphne with your Auntie Elsie. I cannot see a lemon tree without thinking of the one at the back of my grandparents house,and my mother had a thing about crepe myrtles and Geraldon Wax trees.For some reason I always tie in Hoyas with old ladies - they seem such an old-fashioned plant, but Daphne seems to be popular with everyone.I think I'm probably more a herb person.

Sacred Suzie said...

Blessed Lammas and new moon to you Robyn! Oh how I adored hearing your story of tea with your dear aunt. What a beautiful memory, I was there with you. It was like a trip to another time. I love that tea ritual.

I hope you manage to stay warm and conserve your energy like your garden.

Thank you again for your beautiful gift and words and generosity. You make life wonderful.

Ruth said...

I've got borage and calendula growing together too. Today I picked a bunch of orange calendula and nasturtium to celebrate Lughnasadh.

Gemma said...

Oh I'm unsure what the scent of daphne is. Surely I would remember if I'd smelled it. It must be wonderful. If you find out a perfume that has that scent, please let me know.
PS My aunt Ruth was proper like that.I have an aunt Elsie too but she was down to earth!
:-)

tinker said...

You paint such a pretty picture with your words, Robyn, I almost feel like I can see it...

Creating a safe haven in your home - that is what I wish to do, myself - and you inspire me, whenever you talk about yours.
Thank you for the violet recipe too~XOXO

linda may said...

I love the scent of Daphne. It is up there with the best of them isn't it. I have a plant in a big red & green pot that was a present from my friend Lucy Locket in Junee. What about rose and boronia, they would be on your list of best scents. MMmm...lovely idea "Grandma's Garden"

kim said...

I love how you describe your home and hearth. It always brings such beautiful and peaceful images.

Bollinger Byrd said...

What evocative words... takes me back to going to my Granma's for afternoon tea on a Thursday. You couldn't have cake until you had eaten the bread and butter.
xx

Pear tree cottage! said...

Dear Miss R, this is a lovely post and I can see that little girl in her beautiful "Sunday best" trying so hard not to "skip" (smiles)

Your memories are so sweet and daphne being such an "olde world" fragrance how could anyone not fall in love with it's fragranced perfume that brings back to us those times gone bye.

Daylesford, is a beautiful place and at times you will find me there doing my weekly shopping so yes it is but a short trip to there from here.......when in Jan. will you be here remembering that the very special Antique fair at fryers town is on on the weekend of Australia day....just a thought for you. We will be more then happy to come over and see you when you let me know your dates you will be here......Daylesford is SO! busy at that time of the year so book your stay very soon.

Lee-ann

Diana said...

What a lovely website you have! I'll be back to visit again soon. thanks.

Bimbimbie said...

You had me smiling over your mention of the little white socks with lace trims, It brought back a memory of me having some that also had either lemon, pink, or blue trims to match whichever Sunday best dress I was to wear. My potted Daphne is just opening the last of it's blooms*!*

peppylady said...

Oh I love reading about your Auntie Elsie.

It been hot and dry here for the month of July...there a brief weather report over on my blog.

Julie said...

Grass, calendula, borage, daphne? I know you are really cold Robyn, but I would trade your winter for ours any day. During winter here, there is not one single, growing, green or colored thing. They are all either dead or dormant under a thick blanket of snow.

Stoke up that fire, have a cuppa and think of me sending balmy ND breezes your way.

Love, Julie