tournesol (c) Kristin Espinasse
With the seeds in today's story... this eventually grew! Read on...

graine (grehn) noun, feminine

  : seed

Audio File: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the French word "graine" and read today's quote:

Le plus grand arbre est né d'une graine menue.
The tallest tree is born of one small seed. --Lao-Tseu
Download graine.mp3. Download graine.wav

It began in the flower-seed aisle at Carrefour, after tossing an extra packet of sunflower graines* into the shopping cart. I looked up at my husband's face to assess his disapproval. "You know you'll need to water them?" said he.

Jean-Marc's comment was more of concern than insulting. Still, I could sense a flood of indignation coursing through my veins, which, admittedly, do not lead to a green thumb; witness an abandoned flower/vegetable-seed collection that never made it to pot, nor garden lot. The seed packets of courgettes,* carrots, and sweet peas no longer collect dust on a kitchen shelf. They were packed with the "fine china" and the good intentions last summer. I still haven't unpacked the dishes.

Turning to address Monsieur Waste-Not-Want-Not, I reminded him that a Rhone-destined ruisseau* flowed alongside our future rock star potager.* Never mind that you have to pitch a broken ladder from the river bank, climb down to the narrow stream, scream (on seeing the furry water rodents,* real or imagined) and, bucket by bucket, haul up the flower refreshments.

"Won't the garden hose reach that far?" I asked. Jean-Marc answered that it would, but that the garden wouldn't miraculously water itself. Someone would actually have to turn on the hose.

"Tournesols* are under two euros a pack!" I affirmed. "Why, for that price, I could have the very CHEAP thrill of adding them to my seed collection and watching them GROW DUST," I cried, reinstating my rights, forgetting about the unpacked dishes. As for those seeds... they quit growing even dust when I sealed them into that sturdy malle* along with those weak intentions so many months ago.

If Scarlett O'Hara were French, she would know how to answer back to my husband. Meantime, I did as she would do and tossed another packet of seeds (for the cute French name: "Ipomée"* and the pretty blue flower on the cover) into the caddy. Harrumph! Triumph! After all, even if seeds in a packet don't grow, people do. Besides, demain est un autre jour*....

la graine (f) = seed; la courgette (f) = zucchini; le ruisseau (m) = stream; le potager (m) = kitchen vegetable garden; water rodent = nutria (le ragondin); le tournesol (m) = sunflower; la malle (f) = trunk; une ipomée (f) = morning glory; demain est un autre jour = tomorrow is another day

Read "Kitchen Gardens of France" by Louisa Jones & French Dirt by Richard Goodman.

Terms & Expressions :
  la graine de lin = linseed
  la graine de moutarde = mustard seed
  la graine d'anis = aniseed
  en prendre de la graine = to profit from someone's example
  c'est une mauvaise graine = s/he's a bad example
  les graines pour oiseaux = birdseed
  la petite graine = the male reproductive cell, gamete

Michel Thomas Speak French For Beginners: 10-CD Beginner's Program
In French music: French Playground, a musical rendez-vous of fun French and French Creole songs that will delight children of all ages.
Art Poster Print - Au Potager D'emile
A sugar splurge : La Perruche Rough Cut Brown Sugar Cubes


Son Max's cabane dans l'arbre... or a tree house's foundation.

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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