Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Red Roses

But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me,
My sense with their deliciousness was spelled:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whispered of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquelled.

~ John Keats

My husband gave me Red Roses for Valentine's Day. No, not a dozen forced and scentless blooms, but a fragrance I'd been curiously coveting for some time. It seems the trip to the mainland was not just to visit his father, but to find this scent not available on our island. I'm told he battled high seas and rain and traffic to find the Jo Malone counter in a department store in Vancouver.

And... it's gorgeous. Seven summer roses, including two of my favourites - the Hansa and the Don Juan - crushed violets and a base of slowly melting beeswax candles. Deeply lovely. Oh, he's good!

I've been trying to find the perfect rose perfume for years. When I was about 16 or so I got it into my head that I wanted to smell like roses. I do not know where this rather romantic notion came from, but I made a firm decision that this would be my signature. I wasn't committed to one particular rose scent, just to the concept that most things in the little universe that was my bathroom would be rose-scented.

Years later I drifted and had flings with jasmine, vanilla, lily and fig. But rose - my true love for rose still burned, tucked away in my heart of many pockets.

I've been noticing a return to rose in my life. There's a bottle of Crabtree and Evelyn's Rosewater and Glycerin bubble bath by the tub keeping company with LUSH's Turkish Delight shower cream. Both remind me of grandmotherly roses in some ways... a sweet and comforting rosiness. In the medicine cabinet there's a large bottle of Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel toner... the scent and the old fashioned packaging please me every morning. A bottle of Weleda's Wild Rose deodorant spray sits next to it which smells like a wild, windswept, woody rose bower and not like chemical armpit, thank you very much.

My Dad grows beautiful roses. He's always had the ability to coax copious blooms out of reluctant, woody stems. Tea roses, floribundas, miniatures, climbers of great strength and vitality. My own roses are not as exuberant, but I do try. If all else fails in my garden this year at least I can pretend to be one!



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