From the Heart

Today I met one of my neighbours, a friendly elderly lady who was out tending the most beautiful blue hydrangea at the front of our building.  I’ve been admiring this plant, and keeping an eye on its progress as it has begun to bloom.  Blue hydrangeas are the most incredible blue… and have always held a fascination for me… not as a fragrant flower (since they are not), but one that stuns simply with its colour.  Blue flowers are not nearly as common as other colours, and this particular shrub actually blooms pink, unless it has the correct PH in its soil.

My neighbour, named Herta, held me transfixed in conversation for the good part of an hour.  I learned about her love of plants, and how she feels that ‘Life is for giving’.  How she gives, by nurturing plants so that they bloom and give people pleasure through their beauty.  She has lived in this building since 1986, and many of the trees and shrubs that are out in the gardens surrounding the complex, are there because they outgrew her rooftop patio, and were transplanted and nurtured by her personally.

She told me about her childhood, about the Russians invading Germany, about being in a concentration camp at 13 years old, about labouring at widening the railroad tracks since the European lines were too narrow for the Russian trains, about rations of only one slice of soldier’s bread per day, about being trapped with her family inside the firestorm of the frontline, about her father’s legs almost being amputated by being run over by a tank, about losing everything, so that all her family had was each other.  And about how her father always taught her to be clean and pure and loving and open and to be thankful to God for life.  She talked about only having one dress to wear, and to follow her father’s advice, she would wash it in rainwater, lay it in the sun to dry, and hide in the bushes naked until it was ready.

She also talked about her name… about hating it as a child and wishing her mother would have named her anything but.  A teacher of hers, made a class project about explaining the story of the German goddess, Herta (also known as Nerthus), who was the goddess of fertility.  From what she explained, Herta is the root of the word ‘heart’… and that she has had no choice but to accept and embody the name, and live her life from the heart, giving and caring and smiling (despite all the trauma), and reminding everyone to do the same.

Nerthus by Emil Doepler

She spoke of how happy she is to be alive, and to be free… and in all this, she held a big smile, and laughed and joked and then hugged me good-bye with the promise to leave a bouquet of hydrangeas at my door once they were more fully in bloom.

I walked away from this conversation, with a huge smile, feeling full and happy, and really blessed to be alive.  What a reminder of how contagious happiness can be… and how all of us could make a difference in the world if we hold an outlook from the heart that is as bright and sunny as Herta.

The Party at Lark

Several nights ago, on July 14th, the fashion boutique Lark hosted the most fabulous launch party for 1000 Flowers.

Liquorice Allsorts... an inspiration for Reglisse Noire

I arrived with my parcels of Reglisse Noire and Fleur No1 perfumes, and created a display on the wooden table at the front of the store.  There were rustic old benches lined up in facing the table, and quite a few people were arriving already with looks of excitement and anticipation in their eyes.  This was, afterall, the first time for many to meet a ‘perfumer’ and somehow the seed had been planted that this was possibly as rare an experience as meeting a unicorn!

All in all, the night was a smashing success.  The feeling was festive and bustling, and the gin and tonics were refreshing, the fruit platters bright and sweet, the flowers were stunning (a giant bouquet of pink hydrangea, peonies and madonna lilies), and turnout was close to 100 people.

At 8, everyone gathered at the front of the store, and I gave a small talk about my journey into perfumery, (selling my house to facilitate going to school in France),  about my own philosophy of creation (especially in regard to the Buddhist idea of the Middle Path), followed by an open question & answer segment.  The questions flowed fast and furious, and it felt like we could have continued well into the night.  For me, this was thrilling- it’s such a treat to feel so appreciated for my accumulated knowledge base, and so supported by a warm and happy bunch of perfume enthusiasts.

A rose by any other name...

One very kind person named Dora, (tamarind tree catering…, surprised me by bringing a platter of chocolate truffles that were flavoured with the same notes as Reglisse Noire.  White pepper, star anise, mint and vanilla.  Needless to say, they were delicious!

I have realized that this heavy veil of mystery and secrecy surrounding the field of perfumery is persistant.  And those of us who work inside this art form, forget how technical and specialized it really is.  It is so rare for me to get the opportunity to directly interface this way with a group of people, most of who will never be perfumers, many of whom are not serious perfume aficionados, and yet hold a keen interest in this subject and have questions they’ve never been able to ask before.

In the perfumery lab

Thank you to Dane and Veronika, the owners and founders of LARK- for recognizing the love and passion that I have for my work which has resulted in the 1000 Flowers fragrances.  It’s wonderful to become part of an organization which values heritage and quality creations (be it clothing, accessories, or fragrance).  Long live the art of finesse and fine craftsmanship!

St James striped shirts- Made in France- from LARK from LARK
The LARK boutique after the show.

PS. Photos of the party not yet available. To be added at a later date.

Vancouver launch!

I’d like to invite all of you who may be in Vancouver this evening at 7, to come in to the beautiful & luxe fashion boutique, LARK.  We will be having a launch party for Reglisse Noire and Fleur No1 as 1000 Flowers makes her debut in Vancouver, BC.

See you there!

2315 Main St., Vancouver, BC
(Main at 8th Ave)
Phone: 604.879.5275  web: