The Scent of Lavender January 04 2014

Lavender Field in ProvenceLavender is one of the recurring themes that you'll find in a number of our French table linens, and with good reason - lavender has "roots" (so to speak) in southern France that go back thousands of years.  The ancient Romans used wild lavender from Provence to freshen their laundry and perfume their baths - in fact it's likely that the French words laver (to wash) and lavande (lavender) are descended from the same Latin stem (as it were). In the Middle Ages lavender was used to make perfumes and medicines. In the 19th century the cultivation of lavender helped drive (and was driven by) the growth of the perfume industry in the region of Grasse. Today the production of lavender and its essential oils is an important part of the economy of Provence.

When you are in Provence you will see lavender everywhere - growing wild, cultivated in large fields, and planted decoratively in private gardens.  And if you are lucky enough to have been to Provence, you very likely have had (or should have had) the simple pleasure of stripping the little purple flowers from a lavender plant, crushing them in the palms of your hands, cupping your hands together, sticking your face in them, and inhaling deeply. 

If you are longing for the scent of fresh lavender but cannot wait for your next trip to Provence, do not despair.  We recently discovered a farm in South Carolina called La Bastide des Lavandes that grows several different varieties of lavender right here in the US.  You can buy fresh lavender and many other lavender based products at their online store The Lavender Farm Shop. The farm and the shop are owned and operated by landscape designer Chris Pinard - a native of southern France who "transplanted" himself (if you will) to South Carolina over twenty years ago - and his wife Jackie.  Together Chris and Jackie have succeeded in creating a little piece of Provence in the heart of Dixie.