The Scent of Grasse

24 Aug

Oh gosh, has it almost been two months since I last wrote?! In my defense, I haven’t had a moment of down time until today. (But you may have noticed a pattern of forgetfulness emerging…) During my last post I was on Tresco Island on my last leg of my fellowship working in Tresco Abbey Garden. On July 11th, I finished my final day of the fellowship and savoured my last weekend in the Isles of Scilly before packing up and heading back up to Wisley. Since then I traveled back up to Edinburgh and made my way back down to London while stopping by York, Sheffield, and Wyken Hall.

On my final day on Tresco I went on a long walk around the island with a friend that lived in the same accommodation block.

On my final day on Tresco I went on a long walk around the island with a friend that lived in the same accommodation block.

I can’t find the right words to describe how amazing my year in the UK has been. I learned so much and still can’t believe all the places I’ve been. I have to thank the Garden Club of America for selecting me as the 2013-14 Royal Horticultural Society/Garden Club of America Interchange Fellow, who sent me on the most wonderful adventure in the UK, and the the RHS for arranging such a spectacular program and for supporting me during my travels from garden to garden. But of course my time in the UK would not have been the same if it wasn’t for all the new friends and great people that I met – thanks for such an amazing year! You’ve made many dreams come true and opened doors to places were beyond my wildest dreams. It’s a bit bittersweet now that it is all over, but there is a part of me that feels this isn’t goodbye for good.

This is around the same time when I first saw the Herbaceous Boarder at Wisley.

This is around the same time when I first saw the Herbaceous Boarder at Wisley last year.

So what am I doing now? Well…through the fellowship I met a lady who turned me onto this garden internship in Grasse – a small town the south of France. The garden is called La Mouissone – which is the name of a fig variety – and I’ve arrived a little over two weeks ago right upon the heels of my UK Visa expiring. The six month internship provides hands on experience gardening in a Mediterranean climate and with it the joys and challenges. Along with the usual upkeep and maintenance, the internship also involves collaborative development of new areas in garden.

This is looking down the main lawn with the beautiful olive trees at La Mouissone.

This is looking down the main lawn with the beautiful olive trees at La Mouissone.

Grasse is perched on the side of a large hill near Cannes and Nice. Though considered to be the perfume capital of the world, Grasse is the center of the French perfume industry. Due to it’s sheltered location many flowers – such as jasmine, roses, lavender, and violets – were grown and harvested here for their essences, but due to chemical synthesis advancements and outsourcing abroad, it’s a fraction of what it used to be. Though I haven’t been to the flower plantains, wonderful scents abound. Fig trees and cypresses loom over the road into town, so lately I’ve been greeted  by the mingled perfumes of ripening figs and piney cypresses on my way to the grocery store. In the garden wild rosemary lives up in the semi-wooded cliffs, but the wild thyme has seeded itself down in the garden, so I get kissed by its scent whenever I am weeding in the Garrigue garden.

I love the surprise fragrance when I accidentally brush past a wild thyme plant in the garden.

I love the surprise fragrance when I accidentally brush past a wild thyme plant in the garden.

I know that was a short post, but I’ll be back with more soon. Also, when I get the chance on down days I’ll revisit the UK and write a few posts. Anyway, have a great day and I will see you soon!

One Response to “The Scent of Grasse”

  1. terrygardens August 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Reblogged this on RHS/GCA Fellowship Experience and commented:

    Hello everyone, this is my last post here. I hope you enjoyed following us for the past year! Good luck to the new Fellows – Ashley and Jon – who will be taking over this blog. See ya!

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