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The central role of flowers
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The first of the three landscaped ensembles of the gardens of the Villa du Temps Retrouvé in Cabourg extends at the front of the villa, where it forms a front garden and a transition space with the outside. It notably features a space reminiscent of Marcel Proust's herbarium. About sixty plants or flowers have pride of place in Proust’s work, in which the metaphors related to botany are innumerable. His young girls' "flowers of innocence" include water lily, hawthorn, cherry and apple blossoms, camellia, gardenia, forget-me-not, periwinkle, or cornflower, all mentioned in "In Search of Lost Time". Added to this are the "salon flowers" that adorn the tables, boudoirs, parks, and gardens of Balbec such as the rose, hydrangea, lilac, violet, or iris, not to mention the "flowers of evil", more heady, such as mock orange, datura, belladonna, and above all cattleya, a rare orchid that enhances Odette de Crécy's outfits.
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