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Monday, April 26, 2010


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Bill in St. Paul

Great prose, Kristin. I loved the image that "pollinating their passions" brought to mind!

quinzaine - two weeks (about 15)
eventuellement - possibly
vierge d'expérience - a newbee
pavot - poppy

gail bingenheimer

quinzaine - fifteen or so
eventuellement- possibly (adv)
vierge d'expérience- virgin of experience
pavot- poppy (nm)
au fait- in fact
cabanon- cottage (nm)
gourmette-chain bracelet (nf)
vous pouvez même prendre la douche avec = you can even take a shower with it (on)
restanco = Provencale for "restanque"-remaining?
bénévoles-voluntary workers(nmf)
ami- friend (nm)
How do you say, "Can you smell the heather, Heathcliffe?" Pouvez-vous sentir la bruyere, Heathcliffe?

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Kristi, I too loved the image of gardeners as bees. How nice to have made friends over a shared love ... gardening. I have always found that people who love to garden are so quick to share with others.


Smokey déguisé en brin d'herbe
(Smokey disguised as a blade of grass)
ou en fleur de parterre.....
(or yet another planted flower)
Dans quel costume on le préfère?
(In which costume does he look best?)
Les deux lui sont seyants
(The two, on him, are quite becoming)
Mais dans votre jardin
(But in your garden)
Pourtant ravissant
(already lovely)
C'est ce petit chien
(It's the small dog)
Le plus épatant
(who is most intriguing)
Car, parmi les "soucis",
(As, between worries)
"La monnaie" (du pape) et les "gueules-de-loup"
("coins of the pope" and "mouths of wolves")
Fleurs aux noms bizarres
(Flowers with odd names)
Pour hanter des cauchemars
(that haunt in nightmares)
Smokey le dormeur
(the sleeping Smokey/Smokey asleep)
Y rêve en connaisseur:
(Here dreams the connoisseur)
Finesse, délicatesse et senteurs.
(of finesse, sensitivity, and odors.)

Julie F

Moi, aussi. I loved "pollinating their passions" both for the alliteration and the image. Now tell me how I find two bénévoles to help me finish my garden.

It's rainy and dreary here in St. Louis all week. I don't think it will even dry out enough to cut the grass, let alone dig in the garden.


--> une quinzaine = 2 weeks, about 15 days

--> éventuellement = possibly
**Careful! -> eventually = finalement

--> vierge d'expérience = a newcomer, a novice, a complete beginner, a newbie

--> un pavot = poppy
about un pavot somnifère (the opium poppy) click on this link

link in English for the opium poppy:

--> au fait = by the way
**Careful! -> en fait = in fact, actually
and “actuellement” is not the translation for 'actually', but it means: at present, at this moment

--> un cabanon = a shed, a small rudimentary construction but, in Provence, it means “une petite maison campagnarde”

--> une gourmette = a chain bracelet

--> vous pouvez même prendre la douche avec:
Here, the man meant 'you can keep it (the plastic bracelet) on your wrist even when taking a shower.

--> restanco = the Provençal word for "restanque"
-> “une restanque” is a support wall made of 'dry' stone

--> un/une bénévole = a volunteer, a person offering his/her services for free.

--> un(e) ami(e) = a friend


Oh! ho wonderful for you - I need my own Doreen & Malou just having moved & a barren yard to fill. I'm very excited to see (hear) how your progresses!


Chere Kristi,
C'est vous! YOU make friends, and plant the seeds of friendship, wherever you go. What a gift, you cultivator of people!
Since today is Monday and I haven't heard a firm word yet, I'm assuming (sadly!) I won't have you in Paris as my guest . . . sniff, sniff . . .Or maybe you are on a train already, speeding from Provence on the TGV to Pareeeeee? I am crossign my fingers and toes, xo Robin


Hi Carol and Kristin,
here is my translation of Carol's poem sleeping in Kristin's garden (inspired by the photos in last FWAD):

Smokey, pretending to be a blade of grass?
or one of the flowers in the flower bed?
Hmm, what's the most popular disguise?
Both costumes suit him so well...

But in your garden already so delightful,
it is this little dog that amazes us all.
Among 'worries', 'honesty' and 'snapdragons'
- flower names odd enough to haunt nightmares -

here is Sleeping Smokey,
dreaming and discerning their finesse,
their delicacy...
and their perfume.

gerry o.

More ,please, from the "Galloping Gardeners".
What a friendly and lasting gesture from them! They certainly are being of service to other people. Their rewards are the beauty and productivity of the gardens.


Sorry for the 2 missing words. See them below, in capital letters!

I should have typed:
Here is my translation of Carol's poem ABOUT SMOKEY sleeping in Kristin's garden (inspired by the photos in last FWAD)

Sandra Jonas

Just discovered your blog and I am so thrilled to be able to learn gardening terms in french!! Merci!

Tonya McNair

I loved every word of the little story of Doreen and Malou! Each and every storylet you drop into this beloved website makes my heart yearn to get back over "there"! I love to garden and can't think of a better place to practice this ancient pleasure!!
Thank you so much!
Tonya, Little Rock, AR

Cheryl in STL

I, too, love your phrase "polinating their passions"! Malou and Doreen, how generous you two are! I'd love to have you here in St Louis sharing your bounty! But Julie is right--this week looks like we'd just be digging in mud. Yet somehow the springtime just calls me to be outside playing in the dirt, so I may just put on my old shoes, some gardening gloves and hit the mud!


So nice to hear a story about connection, friendship and good old fashioned thoughtfulness! Love the Galloping Gardeners - let's hear more about them...Wish I had some Galloping Gardeners to come to my garden's rescue! Happy Planting - be sure to post some pictures when your garden begins to shine!

Christine in Salt Lake City

Kristin, you are amazing! I am envious of your ability to make new friends wherever you go.

I would love to hear more of Doreen and Malou - what darling ladies!

Sunny and warmer (66 degrees) in SLC today.

ann ceraldi

I love gardening! My okra (planted from seed) is coming up nicely. Wonder if that will grow where you are? I guess you're more of a "westerner" than a "southerner", (Arizona, right?) but I recommend trying votre main at okra. Prolific producer, easy, doesn't require lots of tlc. Would enjoy more gardening stories and maybe a photo or two of Doreen's and Malou's gardens.

Brenda Brown

What nice ladies (Doreen and Malou) to help you out like that. Would love to see their gardens also.

Pamela Waterman

Plus de Doreen et Malou, s'il vous plait! I am digging into another year of growing vegetables in Arizona, so different from my Massachusetts "roots"! I would love to see and hear practical bits about home gardening in France. Sharing seedlings is the best!


Dear Kristin,
Yes, I would love to hear about the two "dirt divas" as I am an avid gardener as long as our furry, four legged kids are included.
Happy Spring,


Cheres Kristin, Malou et Doreen,

Kristin, I would enjoy hearing and seeing more with Malou and Doreen. What a fortunate meeting for you AND for them! You will be such a good friend to them and hopefully all your devoted readers, comme moi, will have the benefit of your growing plants as well as your growing friendships.

Amelie in Paris without a garden


Thank you Malou, Doreen and Kristin,
I had a great time learning about Saponarias ('Bouncing Betty') and their common names ... Oh, so many. I must share them with all of you!
Bouncing bet,
sweet betty,
wild sweet william,
dog cloves,
old maids’ pink,
soap root,
fuller’s herb, fuller’s grass,
foam dock,
gill-run-by-the-street saponary,
crow soap,
hedge pink,
farewell summer

Here is a nice picture of saponaria -> 'Bouncing Betty' in Flickr:

I also love this photo - name of the flower given in French (la saponaire) followed by its common names.

Leslie in Massachusetts

I tried to translate the poem this morning, but have been too busy to post my try. I got stuck with soucis, I didn't know that they are another kind of flower. I won't post my try, since Carly's and Newforest's are so good, except that I did want to share a trick for translating names of plants and animals that I learned on WordReference. You google it in French, which will give you a Latin name, then google that and you will find the English name. I found out that soucis are called pot marigolds in English. However, how to translate it as a name that might haunt one's nightmares, I don't know.


Bonjour Doreen and Malou! What a delight to meet such lovely Dirt Divas. Your generosity to Kristin speaks volumes about you. I look forward to more stories of your adventures together in the garden.


Hi leslie,
I see what you mean about your getting stuck with "soucis", as you didn't know this was the common name for Pot Marigolds (botanic name: Calendulas)

I simply translated the French common name, "soucis" by the English word 'worries'... because the word 'worries' is more connected with nightmares than the word 'marigolds'.

As for "les lunaires" (common name in French: "la monnaie du Pape"), I used their English common name "Honesty".

Finally, the 3rd flowers were "les gueules de loup", French common name for "les mufliers". Here, there is a common name in English -> "snapdragons", a perfect word to haunt a nightmare scene!

All these names would be enough to trigger in your sleep a nightmarish fight between honesty, worries and dragons getting snapped
...... but here, amazingly enough, Smokey is peacefully sleeping among these flowers, not disturbed by their odd names, and, as a real expert, he is dreaming about their finesse, delicacy and perfume.

What a pleasure for us to share with you l'amitié franco-anglo-américaine basée spontanément sur la passion des fleurs, la générosité et la bonne humeur!
Oh! and now, i am convinced that, for you, the trio of 'annuals, biennals, perennials' is more than odd words ending in "als"...

juliana  henderson

What fun to read about your adventures- and yes please - more from the dirt divas

Frank Hyman

Kristin, enjoyed your post. We are friends of Skip and Karen--they forwarded your post to us.

My wife Chris and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary by coming to France for the month of May--3 weeks in Provence and one week in Paris.

We are both gardeners--I do it professionally and have a blog called

Looking forward to seeing gardens, farms and landscapes of Provence !

Hope your garden flourishes!

take care, Frank and Chris

Candy in SW KS

Les nouvelles fleurs, les nouvelles amies, les nouveaux photos - ce sont, tous, tres jolis! Et, bien sur, le poeme de Smokey. Quels beaux images pleins de poesie! Merci, encore, Kristin.

Marianne Rankin

Doreen et Malou, merci de votre gentillesse a Kristin. Nous tous en profitons, au moins en apprenant les noms des fleurs.

Carol's poem is good - as are the translations of it.

I assume that the "dry" wall of a restanco means no mortar between the stones.

I don't know too many flower names in French. Another name for poppy is "coquelicot." I believe "marguerites" are daisies, and I know that "pensees" are pansies. I think the name "pensees" (thoughts) came from the thoughtful look on the pansy face. A flower whose name I learned in France is "pourpier," which is portulaca, a heat-tolerant plant with vividly colored blooms.

It's interesting how various languages name plants. English is full of picturesque names. I wonder, for example, what forget-me-nots are in French, or jack-in-the-pulpit. In Russian, a snapdragon is a "lion's yawn."

Because my son's name is William, I have sweet William in my gardens.

Jennifer in OR

HOW do you do it?! I love how you pick up friends like one picks flowers from a garden. Sharing one's garden is a treasured gift. I'm having a "seedling exchange" with a group of friends here and looking forward to this hopefully annual event.

Jill Harris

Hello from Hawaii.

Do I need G mail to e-mail you to leave a comment?

joanne nixon

oh yes !! more stories of the dirt divas and your garden, kristin. i live in arizona and gardening is quite a challenge here...but i do so love the lavenders and the pansies and snaps....i have some herbs that grow well and others that have not....our palo verde trees are bursting in bloom right now, and, by the looks of the thousands of buds, we will have tons of blossoms raining down in golden sheets... thank you for the wonderful blogs....they are quite delightful !

Jill Harris

Oh, there is my post.

So, your wonderful garden story and new friends encouraged
me to write.

Here in Hawaii the warm trade winds share the sweet scent
of the tropical flowers. Also one needs to be careful while walking or one can step on some of the little ones fallen from the trees.

I will be going home soon to Malibu Callifornia ...another garden
spot where the challange is gardening with salt air.

I would love to hear more about your new friends, now our friends, and see pictures of the new flowers.

Smokey has encouraged me to call the So. Calif. Golden Retriever
Rescue...I have asked for two!

Robyn Daniels

Hi Kristin

Avid gardeners are wont to share their produce and cross-fertislise their plots in my experience. Love your geraniums (what are they called in French?. They flower and give pleasure for such a long time. I especially love white geraniums and have just potted up some with some blue lobelia as I love that Mediterranean colour combination. Also potted a pink peony (my favourite flower as I recall I told you about) also with some blue lobelia. Guess I am a pastel-loving Libra as far as flowers are concerned.

Long may your flowers and your new 'dirt diva' (love that expression Catie) bring you colour and interest in your garden and your life. xx


Dear Doreen and Malou,

You are very kind to travel all the way to Kristin's home to bring her plants for her garden. And, you will discover very quickly what a great new friend you have made. Kristin is a good person who cares very much for others; she is sensitive and kind.
She is also adventursome and I'm sure the three of you will have wonderful times together.

Robyn Daniels

Apologies Kristin - on rereading your article I see that it was your good self that coined the phrase 'dirt divas' much repeated in the commentaries. xx


Moi,aussi. Moi,aussi! I can just picture all the avid gardeners, their voices a soft buzz in the air, as they bend over each flower to take in its delicious scent. Wish I could have been there too. We must hear more! I think you should keep this as a mini series of your garden's progress with such delightful characters.

My wonderful partner, Michael, just surprised me for my birthday by renting us a 3B2B home with large living rm, family rm, dining rm, large kitchen, garage and a porch and backyard for ...a GARDEN! We had a small apt so we were cramped and a few plants and no sunlight and no grill. This story is perfect timing. I hope to get some things going in the coming weeks. And I have my niece's bridal shower in a 3 months too! You story is INSPIRING me even more!!!

12 hrs of awful Thunderstorms brought 2 windy and sunny days of 85F in Central Florida!


Its wonderful to find new friends. Especially those who can further your interests. Good luck with your garden.(But beware of enthusiastic gardeners. A friend got me to join the garden club, although I'm not much of a gardener, saying, "Oh, there are lots of members, you can just sit at the back and not do a thing". Next thing I knew I was on the board of directors.)
It's not good gardening here today. It has been lovely, warm and sunny, but today in Ameliasburgh Ontario,it is cold and windy with snow flurries.

Kristin Espinasse

Bonjour from Ste Cecile where i type this late responce on Jean-marc's iPhone. Briefly,( as my finger's Bégin to cramp...) i wanted to thank you for your cheers to Malou, Doreen, and Carol. i hope they réalise just how appreciated they are, as are Zach and every one of you who take thé Time to respond, share, correct, teach, and tickle our imaginations with your word. Merci.

Kristin Espinasse

PS. Not sure why certain words and accents appeared in the last comment--not usedto typing on this phone!


Typing your "commentaire" on Jean-Marc's iphone to communicate with your FWAD readers? Oh dear! This sounds like an emergency operation...
Hope it doesn't mean something's gone wrong with your laptop.
Good night and wishing you all the very best!

Pat Cargill

La vie est belle, surtout dans un jardin!

Lovely story--delighted to know your new amies, Doreen and MaLou, ladies with huge giving loving garden hearts. Les coeurs des jardins?? Or something like it. Gardeners are traditionally magnanimous sharers.

Cher Smokey - tu es, vraiment, le roi of all you survey... sweet dreams sur le jarden, sweet one. bisoussssss

cool, sunny - Roanoke, VA



What a great blog. Really captures the spirit of the place. My wife and I live in Indre, still renovating after 5 years but we're getting there!

I was going to offer some translations but everyone has done such an interesting and informative job already.

I've recently started a blog that I hope will help people a bit with the language, it's at if you would like to have a look.

All suggestions welcome.


A charming story, as usual ! I shall be looking forward to more stories.
une quinzaine = a fortnight (word commonly used in British English)

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

I was listening to a piece by Sarah Fishko on NPR this morning and she mentioned that Emily Dickinson was an accomplished gardener before she was a poet. I recall from my graduate studies that some of her poems were written to accompany flowers she sent to a friend. Gardening is a great occupation for poets and others who are introspective. So maybe as you garden, Krisit, you will also be composing more wonderful tales of life en Provence!

Sandy Maberly

What a great story....hello to your new friends and we welcome them to the FWAD empire! This is such a small world and it is always wonderful to meet new folks and especially to share them with others!

Marianne Rankin

Frank, I took a quick glance at your website, and know I will be back. Once my web design course ends, I will have more time. I have a B.A. in French and know it well, but there is always more to learn, which is why I'm a FWAD subscriber. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from your site.

Suzanne, I have a collection of Emily Dickinson's poetry, which brings together three several volumes. Each of them has sections, and one of them is "Nature." As I scan the titles of the poems in the Nature sections, it's clear many of them relate to flowers, plants, and the fauna that live in and near gardens.

In your graduate studies, did you find out why most of her poetry was written in iambic tetrameter?

I don't think he wrote poetry, but I believe Thoreau wrote a lot of "Walden" while gardening.

Marianne Rankin

I can't resist adding this quotation from "Candide": "Il faut cultiver notre jardin."

Malou Cole

hello to new friends
I just read the comments you all made about Kristen's story of the two garden pollinators who she met in Serignan. The pleasure of meeting her and sharing our passion for plants and flowers was quite naturellement partagee. Since Doreen's and my garden are "almost" saturated with our yearly finds and the seeds we keep on collecting, it is with great pleasure that we'll tackle Kristin's plot for a hopefully successful and pleasing result. She is so enthousiastic about it that I have no doubt we'll make a great gardener of her.
And last, but not least, we love every member of her family.
A plus tard pour d'autres aventures

Denise Hartley-Wilkins (Doreen's daughter!)

Bonjour Kristin or as we say in New Zealand, kia ora!
'Dirt(y) Diva Doreen' is my mum; passionate gardener extraordinaire et maman bien amie! She brought life to my barren garden in England, arriving with a trailer full of cuttings and plants and transforming it into a lovely cottage garden. We now live in New Zealand where unfortunately her gifts of seeds and cuttings are firmly embargoed by NZ biosecurity (tant pis!!), so I send her NZ seeds instead... you may end up with an offspring in your garden ;). Both Malou's & mum's gardens are beautiful, true labours of love of getting down & dirty & ability to squeeze in one last little plant! Enjoy, but watch my dad... he's lethal with the hoe & weedkiller! :) ka kite ano (maori for 'see you'). Malou have you got that NZ trip sorted yet?? Denise


Bonjour from windy Provence. The Mistral has been blowing for over a week and is not loosing force by any means (it is about to lift off our roof!)

While catching up on email (so far behind...) I found Carol's response to your wonderful comments. I am sorry for the delay in posting it! Here it is:

Merci à Kristin de m'inviter sur son génial site FWAD comme "guest-writer". C'est un vrai plaisir et un bel honneur. Pour la traduction concernant les fleurs: - Soucis = Marigolds (en français "soucis" veut dire "problèmes", " préoccupations") - Monnaie du Pape= Coin flowers ( pour faire un parallèle entre "Monnaie" et "Soucis". - Gueule-de-loup= Snapdragon (veut dire visages de loups) je voulais dire que ces fleurs aux noms négatifs devraient plutôt inspirer la suspicion et un peu de peur à Smokey mais lui, qui est très poétique, ne voit que l'aspect positif des fleurs: leur finesse, délicatesse et senteur, ce qui le fait rêver et non cauchemarder. Les traductions sont fantastiques! Jamais je n'aurais pu traduire le poème en anglais. Gros bouquet de pensées (pansy- pansies plural ?) à tous. Carol


i would love to see & hear more about the Dirt Divas... merci

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