Human Flower Project

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Princeton, MAINE USA

Monday, October 30, 2006

To Sleep Like a King, Lavenderly

How do you sense Hospitality?


In the morning, chez Ben, Bourbon County, KY

Photo: Julie Ardery

We have now slept like royalty. This did not require wearing a jewel-encrusted stocking cap, praying with a bishop or dreaming of lances.  It was a matter of spending the night at the house of cousin Ben.  Despite a major health debacle, which prevents him from walking, he still rolls out the red carpet. A guest feels like a queen.

Here was our bedroom. How many flowers to you detect? Delphiniums, daisies, yes. But did you miss the duvet? Its shade of blue is a hint. Ben had stuffed this bedcover with lavender from his garden. When we lay down, the scent at first was powerfully stimulating, as in GOOD HOLY YIKES! After a few deep breaths, though, we were off to LavenderLand.

This herb, which maintained some civility during many plumbing-poor centuries, has come back strong. There are loads of companies big, and mainly small, selling lavender soap, sachets, pillows, eye-compresses, teas, all to soothe you. One claims that lavender can “induce sleep, ease stress and relieve depression. It is also used as a tea, to make compresses for dressing wounds and to apply to the forehead to relieve congestion on sinuses, headaches, hangovers, tiredness, tension and exhaustion.” Just about everything but bend over for the morning newspaper and pay the veterinarian.

We’ve learned that Charles VI of France was especially fond of lavender. He’s said to have “calmed his nerves by sitting upon lavender filled cushions.” Lavendula spica also kept the moths from eating all the palace tapestries. England’s Queen Elizabeth the First preferred her lavender in jelly on the table.

On an earlier visit to Ben’s farm, between Paris and Cynthiana, Kentucky, we sampled some lavender honey. Not to be unduly impressed with his own experiments, Ben remarked that it tasted “like cough syrup.”

And truly, all that night beneath the lavender duvet, we didn’t cough once. Thank you for your hospitality, Ben.

Posted by Julie on 10/30 at 12:18 PM
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