Feelings and surroundings
A young New Zealander living in England meets a young Englishwoman. On their tramps through the English countryside, among woodlands, meadows, hedgerows and wildflowers, amid remote dales and moors, climbing Welsh and Scottish mountains, he constantly and irrepressibly draws attention to the natural beauties of his own country. Nothing, it seems, compares with his homeland.
They move to New Zealand. They go tramping and join conservation groups. She falls in love with the plants, drawing and painting them, studying botany and horticulture. She comes to share the same passion for the deep, green bush, the rivers, mountains, hills and gullies, the coasts, the bold and delicate native flora. She explores the history and wisdom in the healing properties of plants, and the physical, emotional and mindful benefits in botanical fragrances.
His work takes him to other regions of the world, in many of which she has lived as a child. He makes a habit of bringing back a local perfume for her, something redolent of the place. He finds classic heritage scents in Paris, Berlin and London, others in historic centres in Italy, artisan aromatics in northern California. He seeks out rich desert botanicals in the soukhs of Riyadh and Bahrain, finds balmy Asian florals in the side-streets of Bali. The evocative experiences and pleasures of these scents are part of their lives.
Like many in our country, they live for the outdoors. And gradually the exotic favourites come to an end. Together, poet and botanist, they are increasingly intrigued by the fragrances and botanical values in the New Zealand landscape ― among them, the flourishes of golden kōwhai; the deep red rātā; the sweet New Zealand honeysuckle, rewarewa; puawānanga, the native bush clematis with its starry clusters of fragrant white flowers, and its cousin the spicy puataua; the scented green flowers of five-finger, whauwhaupaku; raupeka, the fragrant Easter orchid ― the perfumes of our own natural environment.
They are inspired to replicate them.