When I was in Sequim a few weeks ago for the Lavender Festival, I met a very sweet photographer who kindly took my picture. Her photos of me are below; to see more of her work, visit https://www.facebook.com/TanyaPilantPhotography
Every summer, the city of Sequim holds an annual festival to celebrate their lavender crop. Yesterday I cycled out there to see the fields, and had a lovely time.
"Lavender is an old favorite English perfume in which country it finds its best conditions of growth. It is also largely raised in France, but the product is not considered to equal the English. There are some four to eight grades of lavender oil in the market, the Mitcham and Hitchin, English, commanding the highest price. The French is very good however, the "Mont Blanc" being usually a fine article. Lavender enters into the composition of colognes, also into Lavender Water." - Good Houskeeping, May 26, 1888
 Dorman, Will B. "Perfumes and Perfumery." Good Housekeeping. May 26, 1888. page 30.
A Plea for the Old-Fashioned Lavender
By Mrs. H.E. White, Bryan, Brazos Co., Texas (1880)
...There is another flower, even dearer to me from the associations that cluster around it... and this much loved flower is the Lavender. It is called Lavendula from the Latin lavare, to wash - because the ancients used it in bathing and washing; and we all know the oil is used in medicine and perfumery. Lavender water and lavender tea are used to soothe the nervous and hysterical. These qualities give it a rank among doctors and perfumers. Now for its use in flower gardens. With its silvery, compact leaves, and purple blooms it makes a beautiful hedge, planted and trained and trimmed... I remember a garden I visited frequently while I was in Southern Europe, and to me, one of the sweetest, prettiest things in it, was a hedge tenderly guarding the flower beds, a hedge, all silver and purple, of modest, old-fashioned Lavender. Bring it from the kitchen garden and let it adorn our flower yards, where low hedges are wanted. In obsolete parlance to "lay in lavender" meant to lay away nicely and carefully, to keep sweet, showing that from time immemorial, lavender has been used to perfume clothing. Does not the dainty Keats tell us, in his "Eve of St. Agnes," of the "Lavender-scented sheets!" Does not its perfume bring to us a delicious dream of our childhood?
... We lay our loved dead, our holiest memories, to rest in sheets scented with Violets and Lavender; there is a holiness, a purity about these two modest, purple blooms, that no other fragrance can claim; other flowers smell stale after a time, these two always seem fresh and pure.
Lavender was, in old days, an emblem of affection, and Dryden as well as Keats, has embalmed it in verse.
"He from his lass, him Lavender hath sent,
Showing him love, and doth requittal crave."
Let us revive the ancient love and appreciation of this flower! Let it perfume our linen, our baths, and soothe our nerves with its fragrant tea. Let us honor our gardens with this ancient patrician plant that stands on its simple suit of silver and purple, and claims a place among flowers that gold and scarlet can never fill.
-White, Mrs. H.E. "A Plea for the Old-Fashioned Lavender." The Gardener's Monthly and Horticulturalist. Vol. 22. No. 263 (November, 1880): p. 325.
It's thimble-berry season! They're my absolute favorite berries, and they only grow in the Pacific Northwest. For those of you who live elsewhere: Imagine the sweetest strawberry you've ever tasted, crossed with the tartest raspberry you've ever eaten. Give it the texture of silk-velvet, and make it melt to sweet juice the moment it hits your tongue. They're too fragile to ship and too perishable to store, so they are one of those few precious things in life that can't be commoditized, and for me they always symbolize the essence of grabbing joy while I can. I look forward to this every year!
Photos by Estar Hyo-Gyung Choi, Mary Studio.
Author: Sarah A. Chrisman
(Known around Port Townsend as "The Victorian Lady"