Saturday, August 24, 2013

From my English Country Diary: Fields in Bloom! (and a New Cover).

Before I show you some recent pictures I took around here, that reveal that Autumn is definitely upon us in the Cotswolds, I really wish to share another of the amazing discoveries I've made living my new country life.

I feel so lucky to have a lavender farm within easy reach from where I live, and you bet it's very exciting! Not only I do love lavender, both as scent and color, but hey, walking among a sea of purple is not something common to do (especially for someone who spent the majority of her life in an arid, urban environment dreaming of the countryside). It has been such a magical experience...

It was the very end of July and early morning when I jumped in the car, and started to drive along country roads, up and down the hills, to reach the farm, situated in Gloucestershire, at Snowshill. Lavender is usually at its peak of beauty in mid June, but this year, due to a long, cold winter, the show was postponed of an entire month.

As soon as I entered the car park, and parked my car, I saw this.


There were a couple of tractors in the field, and as they brushed against the bushes, wafts of inebriating scent reached my nose. The air was truly permeated with the sweet scent of lavender! I had never experienced anything similar before.

Magical!

Walking towards the entrance of the fields, I started to spot rows of colored lavender... And my heart started to beat truly faster. I had been at the farm previously, at the end of June, to see but the "purple haze", as they call it (just light brushstrokes of purple over the fields) because of the unusual season this year. But now, oh my! The colors were amazing.

It was sunny, with some light clouds in the sky, which worked as a photo lighting umbrella and made the light perfect to photograph the fields. The below pictures are not enhanced in any way, so you get the idea of the real color of the flowers.


And I also learnt that lavender comes in a variety of colors! From proper "lavender", to white, to pink, to purple.

Varieties of lavender have names like Granny's Bouquet, Little Lady, Little Lottie. How cute is that?


... So finally, there I was, walking among a sea of purple! I've dreamt of visiting a lavender farm forever, and now I happen to live close by! Had no idea lavender grew so well in the British Isles, as we usually think of it like something very mediterranean!

It was incredible. I stopped for quite a while in complete awe, just a few people around as it was opening time (mostly photographers with their heavy camera gears and tripods)- and total, amazing, comforting, joyous, beautiful silence


The only sounds I could hear were the happy buzz of the thousands of bees, bumblebees and all kind of insects happily flying from bush to bush, from flower to flower, and that of a few tractors working in the distance. 

Not photo edited. This is the real color!

Everywhere I could lay my eyes on to, there were millions of purple, divinely scented, flowers.




Everyone on the field seemed to experience such a joy. I couldn't help but taking a picture of this Mom and daughter walking between the rows.


They were soaking up the colors, fragrance and Beauty of that place, and nearly disappeared among lavender.


I walked slowly, completely absorbed in active meditation, and noticed every single detail, every single sound. I sniffed the air exactly as my Kim would have done. You definitely can learn a lot of things from the smell of the air! 

I then started to see there were other colors apart from purple, like the light pea green of the opposite hill, that worked as a fantastic background for all of that lavender, the antique white of the farm and the raw umber of the roof. Can you imagine how happy and inspired the inhabitants of that house must be?


And then started noticing more and more hues, and wanted to incorporate all of them in my photographs.

Why the other photographers on the fields were paying attention to the purple only? They seemed to not notice the amazing painter's palette you could admire from more unusual points of view! They were all in the middle of the fields, while of course, I took the less traveled path.



From there, the landscape looked like a painting of a Macchiaiolo painter. There were patches of lavender, with quick and heavy strokes of different shades of green, a bit of ochre and a dash of sienna...


... and the more I ventured into the fields, the more colors I noticed and the faster my heart was beating.

Then I noticed the shapes, the textures... everything was like watching the world with new eyes.


Those black spots flying in the air are just huge, happy bumblebees!

Wild daisies always remind me of my country walks with my Kim.
















I'm going to make a corner of our home "smell" of lavender with some framed prints of my photos!
After I took something like 600 photographs, I just had to take a selfie, to remember this amazing, unbelievable experience... Jumping for joy!!

Unbelievable, the first jump came out well! :)

If you are in the area, this farm at Snowshill is definitely worth a visit. I love their shop too, where they sell many products made with lavender, like natural creams and soaps, lavender sugar and teas, dried bunches, microwave pads, dried buds and on and on. I just love anything made with lavender, and had a really hard time deciding what to buy! ;)

*
And speaking of lavender, I am honored and smitten by this new cover! My Grandfather's (on my dad's side) vintage camera and a bunch of French lavender, styled over a vintage map of my huge Atlas I found in Italy a couple of years ago... chosen to grace the cover of the Washington/ E.Oregon/ S. Idaho "Antique, Vintage and Collectibles" issue of The Country Register. Isn't it just perfect as a conclusion of this post?

Thank you, The Country Register!
Monica x

18 comments:

  1. As soon as I saw the first few photos I saw paintings you will do of them:-)
    I've never seen so many beautiful captures of lavender in one post.
    They are magnificent landscapes.
    What a gift to have seen them..thank you for sharing..
    Bravo on the beautiful cover also:-)

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    1. Monique, that was deifinitely magical! So grateful to be able to experience all of this!

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  2. PS..It really was a jump for joy event:)
    Great capture..still trying to picture the set up and trials:)

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  3. So much lavender, so incredibly beautiful! There must have been a heady scent in the air, Monica.

    Congratulations on getting another cover.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    -Karen

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  4. I cannot express in words how much I enjoyed your photos of the lavender fields. Each was prettier than the next.

    Oh, to have a magazine cover - how wonderful!

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    1. So nice of you to tell me! :) I'm glad to share the amazing discoveries I make living my new life in England!

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  5. Your photos are so beautiful, I love the purple and green together. I just pressed some lavender to put in my journal which makes it smell wonderful, I can't imagine what it must be like to stand in those fields what a wonderful experience you must have had.
    Congratulations on your cover!

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  6. What a stunningly beautiful day you enjoyed. Lavender fields are so gorgeous. I grow lavender in my garden here, but to see those rows and rows of purple, green, ochre and white against the blue sky would be heavenly.

    Love the jumping shot. Cute shoes.

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  7. Dear Monica, I can smell it from here and oh all those glorious colors. What a gorgeous place. You are in your element for sure.
    Just had to let you know that the zinnias you gave me came back again this year. We had a mild winter so they just reseeded and appeared in the garden. I immediately thought of you and your mother. So thanks again. Love Sharon

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  8. Monica, I can imagine the beauty is overwhelming and would render one speechless. I will probably never get there, which makes me so grateful you shared with me.

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  9. monica this post is really fantastic!!! Lavender fields are beautiful...but your pictures are really amazing....I have a big dream, that is walking ina big lavender field...I hope to travel to provence next year...but also there in the cotswold it's unbelievable!!!

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  10. Wow, how wonderful is that? How could not resist laying down in all that lavender, lol!!!
    Gorgeous!
    Congratulations on the cover, well done.
    Hugs,
    Mags
    xx

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  11. Beautiful !!!!!!!
    Marja

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  12. Your jump is fabulous... looking at the lavender view, I'm in my seventh heaven,too!
    A big hug
    Franca

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  13. Your photos are stunning! The lavender is INCREDIBLE. wow. That's awesome about the Country Register too! wow. (My work was just on our local CR cover in May!) Small world. I think I need to mark your blog and come back many more times... THANK YOU for sharing : )

    Monika K
    Canada
    Photos & Stitch...

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  14. What a beautiful place to visit! I have both pale pink and purple lavender here at the cottage.

    xo
    Claudia

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  15. Lavender... so very beautiful. Unfortunately, it gives me a headache. :(
    LOVE the new cover!

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  16. What wonderful pictures Monica - and what a heavenly place! We are coming to the Cotswolds for a few days next month and I am so excited - your posts on your new home have tantalized me, and I am more excited than ever to see it in person. What a wonderful area, and how happy you sound there; truly where you were meant be!

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