To retain the soil and keep it all from sliding down the hill, we planted a lot of lavender, rosemary and Santalina-which, at first, I thought was going to be thyme. The first year they were all rather puny although the lavender attracted many butterflies. This year everything has really taken off, especially the Santalina which, when held close to your nose, has a pleasant, metallic sort of smell. From a distance, to my nose, not Maurice’s, it smells like dog poop to me. I don’t know what it smells like to all of the flying insects we now attract, but we now have quite an eco-system. I’ve counted 3 different types of bees, a few wasps, the usual flies, and probably 15 or so flying insects that I’m not familiar with. When I stand near the plants, I hear active buzzing going on in that secret little world. I especially love seeing the butterflies, in their short time on the earth, flit from flower to flower, sometimes dancing in the air in circles with a friend. There are small butterflies with lavender wings-could be a moth, not sure-small dark orange butterflies, ones with black wings striped like a hot rod with a white stripe, and there are the usual yellow and orange varieties, but the most common is white with a tiny black dot of the upper part of each wing. One I have just seen this year one that flies in what looks like an upside down manner to me, with its wings larger at the bottom edge. It looks like the shape of a tulip cut in two, and when it lands on a flower, it assumes a flower shape as well, it white wings with black stripes making a pretty sight.
I am especially atuned to butterflies this summer because before my favorite aunt died, she told me she would come again to me in the afterlife in some way having to do with butterflies. I don’t know if it is true or if she has but, every time I sit outside watching our extravaganza of butterflies, I think of my Aunt Lois.
A friend of mine slept in our upstairs bedroom and left the window open at night. She told us that lightning bugs flew in and gave her a light show performance up by her ceiling every night. I haven’t seen any myself here at night. Probably because I am in bed every night before it gets truly dark.
The lavender is just now starting to bloom and it attracts more butterflies than the Santalina-a plant with silvery foliage and yellow flowers. There is a lovely fragrance in the air in the morning with the flowering yellow bushes everywhere, growing wild all over Provence. I have the standard red geraniums doing well. The heat is really settling in now, getting up near 100 in the afternoons.
For the first day of summer, we went into Lourmarin to listen to music, the tradition now in France, and 100 other countries, where music is played all over, late into the night. It is called Fete de la Musique, and it is a great way to welcome in summer.