May 31, 2010

The Month of May - Vera

May is the month that the flowers really bloom out in the streets of residential Brooklyn. It seems that roses are the favorites, especially red and white. I have seen many front steps with a old or new rose bush or two, and also pansies in the darker shadowy areas beneath trees and at the foot of the buildings and in pots, with some older varieties of flowers such as lily of the valley, going vigorously strong and barely held back behind the crumbling wrought iron fences. We have tangles of honeysuckle taking hold both as planted and as rampant weeds in the parks, which scent the night air. We have neat and orderly annuals in the window boxes and the planters. We have blooming privet hedges, which are grown tall from age, and all this makes a soft scent margin at the edges of the sidewalks, right next to the chaos of the traffic.

We are also lucky to have many blooming trees lining the side streets, lots of magnolias and cherry trees at the beginning of the month and now the sweet lindens are starting on the last day of May. I keep trying to find a linden tea that will be something like the fragrance, because I love it so much I want to consume the scent, and somehow incorporate the fragrance into myself. I am almost surprised, every year, when this riot of blooming happens, because I've self protectively gone stoic to march through the end of winter. I really don't like to play favorites, or admit I like one kind of weather or season more than another, because they are all beautiful in their own way. But still, I am shocked at how much is in bloom this year, and how refreshing it is. I think over the time I've lived here, people have planted a lot more, and taken care of the trees very carefully, and it's really showing results this year.

Roxana of Illuminated Perfumes has celebrated the entire month of May as a holiday this year, and has created a forum through her site for postings about May flowers every day this month, each by a different writer. She has made a new solid perfume, Vera, dominantly of lavender and white sage, which because of these herbal components is stimulating and pure, gentle and soft. This perfume is in solid form, held within the wax medium made by her new bee friends in their hive, it holds very close to the skin, and would be lovely for the humidity and thick air of the coming hot summer in the city. Bright while mild, with a tang of herbal sharpness, it cuts through the heaviness of heat tiredness and heavy air. It's has the cleanliness of lavender and the subtle mentholated quality of white sage. I am taking a page from Mandy Aftel's book of tricks, and rubbing Vera into my temples, and a little onto the ends of my hair, because such refined hand-made organic and natural materials are so precious, and gentle, and beneficial. On my face it envelops me in a mild cloud of scent, and I claim such beauty for myself, first and most of all.
Here are some other impressions of Vera solid perfume:

Tom at Perfume Posse
Portland Examiner
The Windsphere Witch

A list of notes:
Fragrance family: HERBAL, FOUGERE
Notes: California & French Lavender, Sage, Bay, Citrus, Wood, Resin, Bees Honeycomb, Hay, Oakmoss and hand infused Lavender from an organic farm in Ojai. There are over forty pure essences in this complex lavender perfume.

Visit Roxana's site for more information about the making of and inspiration for Vera, and soothing visual poetry and lore about natural perfume materials and bees...

Photos by me, Lucy Raubertas
Another posting about Roxana Illuminated Perfumes: Rosa and Sierra


chayaruchama said...

Lavender is such a gift !

When combined with herbs and natural, fresh beeswax, it becomes a unique balm for body and spirit.

There is a great sense of devotion and care in all of Roxana's work which infuses it with a singularly loving dynamism.

How delightful that all about you is in bloom in Brooklyn ;-0

Roxana said...

I so fondly remember walking along Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights admiring the bounty of Spring wafting from the brownstones. The scent combined with the visuals is such a delight.
Thank you for participating int he May Flowers event Lucy, and for your eloquent words about Vera.

Lucy said...

Hi C/I,
I think you would like it for those times when you read too much or get a headache too, that wearing it on the face/temples is a good trick!

Lucy said...


Henry Street and Brooklyn Heights is so beautiful, and getting more beautiful all the time. So is it around here, the plantings make such a difference. Thank you for thinking of me to participate in the May Flowers rondel...

Scent Hive said...

Beautiful photos Lucy, I am craving a trip to NYC something fierce :-)

So glad you enjoyed Vera, I think it might be my favorite lavender fragrance.


Lucy said...

Thanks T, I hope you guys get to come visit soon, and let me know when you do.

I've been using my sample of Vera since it got humid, that lavender sage combination in pure creamy beeswax is very soothing...