The lilac season

As the lilac season has just ended, I realized how I have missed seeing this flower blooming around the city. For those who do not know, early this year marked my fourth expatriation. After spending three years in Asia and two in the Middle East, I am back in Europe and specifically in Berlin, Germany. A new adventure, which although may be less exotic, I must admit that regaining the rhythm of the seasons is probably the aspect that has pleased me the most.

Also during the past few weeks, I have truly rediscovered lilacs. Observing these purple, white and crimson bushes forming along roads and alleys, flourishing at the bend in a garden fragment that can be imagined behind a wall, and especially feeling its perfume exhaled in the quiet air that reaches your nostrils long before you are able to see any flower. Thick and light all at once, heavy bunches of flowers emit their fragrance as the wind comes to brush against them. I became drunk with this almost forgotten scent revealing a feverish joy brought by the spring that I had not expected.

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Hanami

It is midnight on a Friday in Tokyo. I am in the subway that connects Haneda airport to my hotel in Aoyama. Immediately strong smell of sake reaches my nose. I have just arrived in Japan and I am submerged in feelings of both impatience and excitement. For years, I had dreamed of visiting the land of the rising sun and it took months to prepare for my journey.

Like many others before me, I have come to Japan during the month of April to experience the renowned cherry blossoms. Following months of bare branches and fallen leaves, Hanami, as it is known, is a hugely popular time of year in which it is tradition to observe and pay tribute to the natural and ephemeral beauty of flowers.

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The frangipani, flower of temples

Situer Bali et Jimbaran sur une carteLet me take you back to small but sumptuous Bali. This destination has already been tackled on the blog, but there is still so much to say; I was fortunate enough to visit Bali four times in less than two years (thanks to living within 3 hours by plane!) And I still feel the same excitement each time I arrive! The island, the sea, the Balinese, their smiles, temples and flowers … So I thought I should speak of a flower rooted in Balinese culture and well-known among perfumers: the frangipani flower.

Plumeria is a botanical genus consisting mainly of deciduous trees and shrubs, with contorted look, native to Central America and widely naturalized in Asia. Its common name “Frangipani” comes from a sixteenth-century Italian marquis, Frangipani, who created a perfume based plumeria (already!).

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Le Lotus Bleu, la fleur nationale du Sri Lanka

Après la découverte de ces nombreuses épices, il ne faudrait pas croire que les fleurs sont inexistantes au Sri Lanka, bien au contraire. Les fleurs de jasmin et de tubéreuse, pour ne citer qu’elles, ornent les jardins, parent les chevelures féminines et fleurissent les autels. Mais s’il est une fleur omniprésente dont on ne peut que croiser le chemin : il s’agit du lotus bleu la fleur nationale du Sri Lanka.

C’est lors de visites de temples que j’ai véritablement pris conscience de son importance. Le lotus bleu (nymphaea stellata) est véritablement vénéré par le peuple sri lankais. Largement représenté et utilisé, il doit sa popularité notamment à sa forte symbolique dans la religion bouddhiste.

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