Charm at a new chum's house. I've met a few new friends over the past quinzaine. Now to sort out the souvenirs and, eventuellement, share them with you. Today, meet Malou and Doreen...

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vivace (vee-vace) adjective

1. perennial, hardy
2. inveterate, indestructible, vivid
3. (in music) vivace

noun: une vivace = a perennial


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

At the annual Rare Plants and Flowers fair in Serignan, visitors varied from vivace to vierge d'expérience (or still learning the difference between a pavot and a poppy (au fait--is there a difference?...).

Purchasing a two-day pass at a quaint cabanon that doubled as a ticket stand, I watched as a young man secured my entrance bracelet.
"I'm coming back tomorrow!" I informed him, jiggling my gourmette.
No worries, he assured me, the plastic bracelet was impermeable.
"Vous pouvez même prendre la douche avec!" Reassured, I entered the bustling outdoor market and quickly blended in with the throngs of flower enthusiasts who advanced, like bees, from flower stand to flower stand, pollinating their passions one plant at a time.

At one end of the fair, a demonstration was well underway. A group of volunteers were constructing a traditional restanco: one of those Provençale garden walls composed of regional stones. As I snapped photos of the rocks and the bénévoles, I overheard English... and that is how I came to meet Malou and Doreen. The English voices belonged to their husbands, Dave and Joe, who were patiently waiting for the dirt divas, who were somewhere beyond the rock wall, immersed in a sea of flowers.

As soon as I met Malou and Doreen, they took me under their wings as they would take anyone with a longing to learn about plants, flowers and even cisterns!

My instant amies, Doreen (English) and Malou (French) watched thoughtfully as their new friend approached the flower stands, unsure of what she was looking for—but eager to fill her flimsy garden with flowers galore.

"You can leave that one!" Doreen suggested. "I can give you one of those from my garden!" she explained, pointing to the Bear's Paw, or Acanthus. Malou made me put back the tomatoes, whispering, "I've just seeded several of those... let these go!"

The women made plans for their next co-planting conspiracy... involving (among others) Geranium Bill Wallace, Bouncing Betty, and newbie gardener me...

"What kind of soil do you have at your place?"
Unsure of the answer, I responded, "good soil for grapes and wine!"

"We'll see about that," the ladies offered and with that they were off.

Not four days later they drove up to our farm (husbands and hoes in tow)
bringing with them enough flowers to jump-start my garden...


with warm wishes and encouragements that my garden might prosper and continue to grow.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
Please say hello to Doreen and Malou and help me to thank them for sharing their story with you! Would you like more stories about these two dirt divas?  Leave a comment here.

French Vocabulary

vierge d'expérience
au fait

vous pouvez même prendre la douche avec = you can even take a shower with it (on)
restanco = Provençal for "restanque"

Geranium Bill Wallace = hardy geranium with purple flowers
Bouncing Betty = Bouncing Bet (soapwort)

(Note: I am running very late today in posting this edition... would you mind helping me to complete the vocabulary section? Leave the French words and their English equivalents in the comments box. Merci!

A Day in a Dog's Life...
(with guest writer Carol Donnay, filling in for Smokey today)

Note: I need your help with the English translation of Carol's poem, below. Would some of you like to leave the translation in the comments box? Many thanks for your help!

Smokey déguisé en brin d'herbe 
ou en fleur de parterre.....
Dans quel costume on le préfère?
Les deux lui sont seyants
Mais dans votre jardin 
Pourtant ravissant
C'est ce petit chien
Le plus épatant
Car, parmi les "soucis", 
"La monnaie" (du pape) et les "gueules-de-loup"
Fleurs aux noms bizarres
Pour hanter des cauchemars 
Smokey le dormeur  
Y rêve en connaisseur:
Finesse, délicatesse et senteurs.

A plus tard.



P.S.: Avez-vous remarqué que Smokey-Joli a une crinière de lion sur la deuxième photo. Comme il est mignon ce lionceau! Je rêve que je le serre dans mes bras. Bisous sur sa crinière :-)


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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety