Installed for two years in the old church of Cap-à-l’Aigle, in the La Malbaie sector, the former rose garden of the Eastern Townships is slowly taking root in the soil of Charlevoix. Passed down from mother to daughter, Rose des Champs enjoys a panoramic view of the river, from where the scents of wild roses now rub shoulders with the salty air.
In the main street of a charming village overlooking the river, a church in need of faithful was waiting in vain for a buyer. It took three years before an enthusiastic entrepreneur was apostrophized by her strengths and saw in them the call for a new beginning: a chance meeting, but surprisingly full of promise.
In the church, the scents of wood and incense now mingle with those of roses and fill the place with a scent of renewal. They gain something soothing, reassuring. In the confessionals, no more sins: than petals left to dry in a suitable, closed and dark environment. Odors, like good resolutions, are however volatile. They are released through the interstices with a redemptive lightness.
“I’m not necessarily attached to churches, even though they’ve always scared me a little,” confesses Karine Martineau, whose laughter envelops each sentence with lightness.
The rose evokes connection to the heart, she notes, universal love. That a simple flower could have generated such a strong symbolism arouses fascination, but the fact remains that many peoples and religions have wanted to put it in their hands. “Any scruples? No. I tell myself that it is perhaps not for nothing that we ended up in a church. Surrounding yourself with roses is like surrounding yourself with love. And love starts with you. »
This is moreover the maxim of Rose des champs, who relies on the charisma of her protégés to inspire benevolence and harmony in eloquent ways: in serums, body creams, hydrosols, jams and other “sins of gluttony” or “vanity”. How sweet!
Three years ago, in a pressing desire to go back to basics, Karine Martineau took over the family business founded in 2004 by her mother, Claire Mercier, who fell in love with these flowers as a child after tasting honey rose from his own mother. “She had a rose garden in Estrie, in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley. I must have been 16 when she embarked on this crazy Rose des Champs project,” says Karine. The Japanese beetles, however, came to break the spell. In recent years, the rosebushes, infested, have become rare and withered at the same rate as this flowery dream. Claire Mercier was considering selling or closing up shop.
During this time, the girl, gone to clear her own path, lived her self-questioning. A miscarriage, experienced on the day of the first confinement, caused a turn in life.
Karine Martineau then decides to pursue her mother’s passion. Charlevoix stands out as a land of welcome. There, wild roses, also called wild roses, have been growing in a rustic way for a long time. Feet in the sand, head in the wind, they evolve without adding chemicals and without parasites. At the back of the small church, a sloping land with gravelly soil hosts 1000 brand new plants. “Here, I wouldn’t tell you that time slows down all the time when I’m working, but it inspires me to look at the river and see far. I breathe. »
Every morning, at dawn, before the sun has been able to dilute their essence, the roses are harvested. More generous than capricious, whatever Saint-Exupéry may say, they offer just as abundant flowering the next day, for a full month. The flower heads are removed and put in the still to produce rose water, before being dried and recycled into a bath salt. Other petals are left to dry in the confessional or vacuum packed. These three preservation methods make it possible to transform the harvest throughout the year.
Between two pickings, the owner raises her head to see the mountains and watch the boats sail by. The board has something to fuel creativity and generate ideas. “There is incredible potential here. We have everything you need to transform the rose and enough space to hold conferences, a hotel or a restaurant. Everything is possible. »
This summer, Rose des champs opens its doors with a temporary boutique until the end of August, Thursday to Saturday, between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Visitors are invited to bring their lunch and enjoy the view . Next year, it plans to present an exhibition on the history of the church and, possibly, unveil its interpretation center of the rose where we can witness its transformation. “We are only at the beginning of this restart, says Karine Martineau. In five years, the place will be transformed. »