Paris Plant Shop, How Little Plant Shops Inspired a Big Paris Dream, Karen Hugg, #Paris #plantshop #novels #books #TheForgettingFlower
Books,  Paris & France,  Writing

How Little Plant Shops Inspired a Big Paris Dream

I’ve always thought owning a plant shop would be a fun job. I wouldn’t want to manage a full-on nursery, that seems too complicated, but I wouldn’t mind owning a small store that specializes in rare and unusual plants.

An Oasis of Greenery

This is because I’m convinced plant shops are dreamy. I can think of one in particular in Seattle I love to visit: Ravenna Gardens. They have unusual (and usual) plants along with tools and fun gifts. Outside, the plants stand in alluring arrangements while inside, dreamy displays of lotions and books surprise shoppers. It’s a place of discovery. I walk through and delight in finding paper coasters decorated with flowers or wall art made from sawed off twigs. Physically it’s a snug space but I can spend a long time there.

In Paris, there are plant shops every few blocks. They are little stores where Parisians buy bouquets for the table or houseplants for the window or annuals for outside planters. They almost always have lovely displays and fun French gifts. Whenever I walk through Le Marais or St. Germain-des-Près, I suddenly encounter one without expecting to, then have to pause and examine all of the colorful flowers and soft foliage. They draw me into their oasis of greenery. While I browse, I find myself swallowed in a heavenly dream.

The Ancient Allure of Paris

A few years ago, I started thinking about what would happen if a person grew a flower whose scent you couldn’t inhale without some severe effect. We’re always happy to inhale the scent of a lilac or rose but what if the fragrance was dangerous? So I started writing a story about a flower whose scent can make a person forget the last thing they think of. That story eventually became a novel called The Forgetting Flower.

Anyway, while these ideas were spinning in my head, I knew I didn’t want to set the story in my home town of Seattle. Seattle is a city nestled in unmatched natural beauty: forests and mountains and rivers. For instance, there are two tiny stands of forest in the front and back of my home. But Seattle itself, its architecture and people, reflect the hi-tech wealth of modern West Coast culture. I respond more to cities steeped in history and ancient beauty. Maybe because I was born and raised in Chicago, I don’t know. It’s just how I’m wired. I love the old and romantic. And of course, there’s no city for me more steeped in history and romanticism than Paris. So I set the story there.

Putting Passions into a Story World

Plants and Paris are two of my passions. I found writing a novel that featured them fun and tiring and frustrating, but never uninteresting. You could say The Forgetting Flower was a labor of love.

In late 2018, I received the gift of being able to share this story with the world via Magnolia Press. Now, my new labor of love is to polish it into the most beautiful and entertaining book it can be. When it’s released in spring, I hope it makes readers feel as if they are in a mysterious dream of discovery, as if they just set foot inside their own favorite plant shop.

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