I’ve never been to Europe, much less France, so Provence is only a name to me, one that that conjures up images of cornflower skies reaching to fields bowing down with lavender and yellow flowers. They sell the country sophistication of Provence through blue and gold linens in some specialty domestics stores and when encountering samples, I finger the cloth; imagining a distressed wood table in a stone farmhouse hosting a ceramic pitcher of cool water, or maybe some homemade wine.
My first experience with blue and yellow came at age fourteen, when my mother allowed me to select a new bedspread to match the elegant beige and grey wallpaper she’d already had installed in my bedroom. She cringed when I chose a yellow and white checked pattern; “Wouldn’t you like the blue instead?” she asked me. At my firm “no” she made the best of it, running up matching drapes on the sewing machine, but hanging blue and white antique plates on the wall above a navy upholstered chair where I sat to do my homework. She liked things “just so.” In truth it was probably a miracle of restraint for her to cope with that that bedroom, where her refined pallet clashed with my immature styling, but she made it work.
That childhood retreat has been redecorated into a welcoming guest room now. My brother and his family live in the house where we were raised and I’ll be the first one to admit that it looks better. In fact, typing this, I chuckled to realize that the antique plates from my old room stand on the hutch in our current dining room, where the walls are painted a beige-and-grey blend from Benjamin Moore called “Warm Spring Stones.”
But that doesn’t stop me from waxing nostalgic because my pink foxgloves failed to thrive this spring, so the color combination below is all that has popped up in the way-back garden so far.