Si vous possédez une bibliothèque et un jardin, vous avez tout ce qu'il vous faut. If you possess a library and a garden, you have all that you need. --Cicero.  (Two garden sheds (cabanons) in Soave, Italy)

le jardin (zhar-dehn) noun, masculin

    : garden

Do you know any "jardin" terms and expressions? Please share them here or click to see what others have offered.

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

We've been planting seeds lately, the muse and me, scattering grains hither and thither, helter-skelter, high and low, hoe hoe.

Hands in the earth for a flirt with dirt is enough to heighten the heart, setting free one's creativity.

Move over pen and encre. Out in le jardin, fingers forking fumier, grains gliding down a garden knife
we birth more than an inky ideas: we are seed sage-femmes, delivering lovely, leafy life.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Your words and stories are the best part of French Word-A-Day. I have learned more in this comments box than in any classroom: our home and environment reflect your tips, my words reflect your vocabulary (both French and English)... Your shared thoughts are a rich reference book for more than just the French language. Merci beaucoup.

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French Vocabulary

l'encre (f) = ink
le jardin = garden
le fumier = manure
la sage-femme = midwife


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My son and I don't always see eye-to-eye, it's adolescence (sometimes his, sometimes mine). Photo taken in Soave, Italy.

Max with his 12-year-old soeurette, Jackie

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Christine Dashper

Beautiful photos Kristin!

Bill in St. Paul

Great picture of Jackie and Max, Kristin.

Seeing the word jardin and that it is masculine, reminds me of one of the difficulties I've always had with French: determining the gender of a French word. For example, chambre is feminine, lit is masculine, voiture is feminine, véhicule is masculine. There are many other examples, but it's too early in the morning to find them in my brain.


I worked with a woman whose last name was Desjardins. The french have some funny last names. My former french teachers last name was Gros :-)


I loved everything about today's post. From Cicero's quote (indeed what more to make a man happy than books and growing things), to the extraordinary photos, and finally to your well-turned phrase, "Hands in the earth for a flirt with dirt is enough to heighten the heart..." You've given me inspiration to put that sermon, that has been percolating all week, down on paper.

Blessings from Detroit where it is overcast and 50ish and where we are mourning the passing of Ernie Harwell, the best baseball announcer and Christian gentleman who ever lived.

Sandy Maberly

Oh, how I envy your time in the garden. I never seem to be in one spot long enough to get the dirt beneath my fingernails. The next best thing though is our "timeshare" in a local organic farm. We joined a CSA, (community supported agriculture), called threespringsfarm(dot)com Each Sat we will go to the Tulsa Farmer's Market and pick up our bounty of home grown goodies. Maybe one of these days we will toil in our own soil but until then, I will enjoy your harvest vicariously.


Since owning my own home I have come to appreciate what pleasure there is in tending to one's own garden. I often recall the word's of Voltaire's Candide, "Il faut cultiver notre jardin".

Kelly in St. Louis

Great pic! I'm new to this and have a question...I'm sorry if this is not the right venue...how would you say "backyard" in french? Is that too....Le jardin?


Carole Thrasher

Regarding gardens:"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk forever in my garden." by Alfred Lord Tennyson



I can almost smell that fumes from here. That's a nice piece of inventive prose, Kristin...that fumoir really did set you free!


Franklin Levin

Here in the Columbia River Gorge spring has taken the year off. I am very jealous of your climate right now as I will be lucky to get my garden going before we leave for France on June 1. Then I must turn it over to the automatic irrigation and hope everything thrives for the three weeks we are going to be gone. Each year when I return from June in France I am suffused with torturous garden envy. This year I am frantically working to restore our landscape after new additions to both ends of our house made what were once beautiful gardens into horrid zones of destruction. The roses that once climbed the walls are just knee high now, but given time they will climb again. I can be patient until I view the vine-covered walls of so many French houses. It is both inspiration and desperation for me upon my return. Keep planting Kristin. Gardens provide welcome respite for the soul along with split fingernails and sore backs.

Julie F

What a wonderful entry today, Kristin. The Cicero quotation is perfect. And I, too, am a fan of Candide's philosophy and have used it in my own blog about my garden. You gave us a wonderful bouquet of words today.

Herm Meyer


I think "backyard" is arrière‑cour (masculin)

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Cheryl in STL

I love your phrase about "hands in the dirt for a flirt with the earth"!! I do have garden gloves, but I rarely use them for that very reason! This is a perfect day in STL for such a flirt!
There really are some rules for gender in French. Most words that end in a nasal sound (jardin) are masculine--one noteable exception is une maison.

Julie F

I forgot to add my garden terms. Until recently, the rain here in St. Louis gave us tons of la boue (the mud), i.e., "la terre colle aux chaussures", the earth that sticks to your shoes. But the winds have dried it and I got tomatoes in before new rains come. Plus, the Missouri Botanical Garden (mobot*dot*org) just sent me an e-mail saying the irises are in full bloom this week! I'm in heaven, since photos of my own irises have filled my blog and camera viewfinder all week.

Robyn Daniels

Hi Kristin

Cicero wasn't far wrong - a book in a sunny garden with a glass of wine do it for me. Nature has so many pleasures to afford us if we only take the time to "stand (or sit) and stare" - wondering at the miracles afforded us. I would like to share a quote from a very famous English female gardener (and ailurophile):

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust."
Gertrude Jekyll

My kitten A-K is just learning the pleasures of the garden 'en pleine air' on a harness and lead instead of gazing wistfully from a window. She met her first bumble bee today and batted at it of course! Anything that flies is fascinating to her. She complains when we have to come indoors again but she is too precious to be allowed 'full rein' as it were just yet. She too must learn patience and earn trust that she will not bolt nor stray far in the garden.


Robyn x

poppi tims

Love the photos.... teenagers!!!!
I remember these times with my two daughters, walking apart sometimes after a tiff!!!
Now they are both in N.Z. studying and I am in France.
I can never imagine 'tiffing' with them again!!!
It's hand in hand from now on....... yeah right!!( A famous Kiwi saying when you know it will never happen!!)
Have a great weekend,
Poppi ☻



Thank you for this post, it's wonderful. Quote is great, one day hopefully i will have my own sanctuary :)


We are almost finished planting our small gardens. It leaves a person feeling at peace when tending to them. Hopefully we can keep our dog out. He was eying the fence this am, probably thinking to himself....Do they really think this will keep me out?

Carole, thank you for the Tennyson quote. It is beautiful.

Kristin I hope your daughter has recovered from the surgery. It is a nice excuse to have some ice cream.

Take Care


So beautiful and lyrical, Kristin! Loved the term "seed sage-femmes." Have a beautiful week-end!


love that Cicero quote - sums up what we are looking for as we move to France - with our "library" to make our French garden, perhaps we would add music to the list.

Arnold Hogarth

Hoe-Hoe to you too - clever . .

Suzanne Dunaway

Oh, Cicero, would that he were pulling weeds next to me! A beautiful, crisp, perfect garden is one thing, but I love the French word for MY garden: pele mele, the word you posted this last week. A perfect description of my French coast garden where one can actually eat the garden path. Is there any gardener on earth who can keep a manicure for more than 10 minutes?
Suzanne in Collioure

Jules Greer

I adore this post - you are so good to us!



Grand Chat

Bonjour Kristin,
I am also new to this site. Saw the article in "France" magazine and here I am. Like you, I view french speakers as "rock stars" and try never to miss an opportunity to parler ensemble. Hopefully your site will help me improve as French is not yet a second language in West Virginia.

Terri Gebler

I knew what jardin meant, but was so happy to learn the correct pronunciation! I have no jardin, as I'm a reluctant condo dweller in Vermilion, Ohio. . .right next door to Chez Francois Restaurant! (affectionately referred to as Frank's Place!) I'm also a 2x traveler to France and admitted Francophile, so smitten with this country, that another trip is being planned as we speak. I doubt I'll ever get enough to want never to return.
Love your tales and ongoing help with the language.

joie  carmel,ca

Nothing better than reading a book in the garden on a sunny day.

Herm Meyer

Salut, Kristin

Nice photo of Max with his 12-year-old soeurette, Jackie. Interesting..... In Engilsh "sis" is an abbreviation of "sister" (apocope). In French a suffix is added to "soeur". No wonder we're having trouble learning French. Ha!

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

I second Jule's message! Amen! Your post has inspired me to get out in my flower garden this weekend. Merci! Wishing a wonderful weekend to everyone at FWAD!

sue m.

Someone said,"if you have a garden, you are never alone."



"Bouquet of words" is a great way to describe the post! :-)

Thanks, Kristin, and I also hope Jackie's doing well!


Il y a un jardin qu'on s'appelle Blake a Kensington, CA. La, il y a un etang printanier ou les martin-pecheurs mangent les petites grenouilles. Dans ce jardin qui appartient a l'Universite de Californie
il y a aussi une source souterraine. Les jardiniers l'ont decouverte
et ils ont fait une petite jolie chute d'eau de la source. Qu'ils soient
tres ingenus, ces jardiniers!

Meg Tipper

There is nowhere that I am happier than in my garden, but my poor old body is not happy about all the bending, pulling, squatting and lifting I've been doing! I love that French has different words for flower garden (jardin) and vegetable garden (potager--m). I am partial to gardens with produce I can eat!

Jennifer in OR

I've started a few hundred plants and they're all in my big sunny laundry room! It still freezes almost every night here, so I can't put them out til June! I've got zinnia, hollyhock, nasturtiums, poppies, peppers, summer squash, winter squash, cabbage, broccoli, watermelon, canteloupe, tomatoes, corn, oh my, much more! Every sunny spot of my house is being filled with pots of seedlings I've started!

I love the Cicero quote!

June Furey

Bonjour Kristin
so enjoyed your quotes and comments re le jardin. I arrived in Sainte Valiere last weekend.My friends met me at Gare Narbonne and the drive back their home was so bright with popies and other wild flowers,
I immediately found my passion again and now happily painting my French landscapes to take back to New Zealand.
I think its the wildfowers as well as the created gardens that enhances my desire to get into the beutiful colours on my palette.
Many happy days of being in midst of warmth of sunshine and smells of all the new flowers of spring around you.
may you and your family be blessed with the riches the soil can offer you.
best wishes



Michael F

It may be stretching the point but the name of the Jordaan area of Amsterdam is said to be a corruption of the word Jardin taken there by Huguenot refugees.

joanne nixon

woderful cicero quote....your pictures and words always give me a lift....it is getting hot here in the phoenix, az area....soon the plants will die off except for the most hardy....i love spring....spring is so rift with new life....keep writing and taking photos.....i feel like i am beginning to know you and your family....beautiful!


Happy Mother's Day, Kristin.
My favorite French garden-related word is Potager. I suspect that its' root is the French word for soup - what a great base!
I love finding and photographing the beautiful potagers throughout Provence, and can hardly wait to be back in the place that we consider to be Heaven on Earth. As of today, we'll be back in just 117 days - can't wait!

Ken Boyd

I LOVE your garden poem !
I will save it and savor it .
Napa Valley


Cicero was right!
I could almost smell the dirt as the picture was penned!
As always I loved the captured moments in photography.

Joyce in Portland, OR

My favorite jardin quote:

On est plus pres'Du coeur de Dieu dans un jardin que n'importe on sur terre.

Thank you for your lovely site.

Jennifer in OR

Happy Mother's Day, Kristin!

Marianne Rankin

Bill in St. Paul, many nouns can be categorized as to gender by their endings. ALL nouns ending in -tion and -sion are feminine. The majority of nouns ending in -e and especially double consonants plus e (-ette, for example) are feminine. Except for "eau" (as far as I know), ALL words ending in -eau (bateau, etc.) are masculin. You might be able to find some books that give shortcuts such as these for learning gender, along with occasional exceptions (nouns ending in -ent are masculine, but la dent (tooth) is feminine).

Kristin, your post today was poetry! I hope you are writing down similar compositions.

Meg Tipper, gardening can occasionally tire us (I get sore knees from planting, so use pads to cushion them), but it can provide good exercise, and in the long run is better for our bodies than sitting around; you surely have heard the saying, "If you don't use it, you lose it"? As we get older, we have to do something to stay in shape. One of the fringe benefits of yard tasks is toning; raking leaves, mowing lawns, etc. helps keep my arm muscles from getting flabby.

I think Max and Jackie are so fortunate to live where they do, with opportunities to be outside in such a pleasant and healthy environment.


So beautifully lyrical today. Very poetic use of language. Lovely, thank you. And now I want to buy a ticket to Italy.

Michael Armstrong

Kristin: a beautiful quote--food for the mind and food for the body. In response to Bill's query about the gender of Fench nouns it is normally determined by the ending of the word rather than the meaning. For example, nearly all nouns ending in -age are masculine as are those ending in -ment (le village, le monument)also -eau (le tableau)also most of those ending in consonants (le guichet, le bois) with maddening exceptions (la nuit, une fois). Most words ending in e are feminine but there are many exceptions; all ending in -sion or -tion are feminine, sans exception (f). Great book on this by Saul Rosenthal. I just saw that Marianne made this same point!

Nan Morrissette

A late comment... somehow I missed this day's word. It occurs to me that when you say "fumier" it makes your nose wrinkle up, as if there is a strong smell nearby. Perhaps a rich manure scent? Nothing makes the garden grow better! Another sunny day here in Florida.

sue m.

A very late comment. The "back to the land"movement is thriving here in Western North Carolina.Small farmers are reclaiming (what's left of farmland)the land growing food with what I call my mother's secret ingredient, "love". In my garden labyrinth along with native plants are chou,concombre,oignons,pommes de terre, & heirloom tomates. In containers, are la dalade verte, la taiture, mache & varieties of l'ail (herbs?)
My fumier is supplied by farmer friend's goats. As I see it, humans & animals working together to heal mother earth.
Your family is beautiful. Your writing so creative & inspirational!
Highly reccommend the book I Know How To Cook. Not for reading in bed tho, quite heavy!
Sue Manning in Cashiers, N.C.

Gary Rosenstein-Rodan

Ma Favorite serveuse française - elle s'appelle Jardine. Elle travaillait à la Brasserie Justine, Je vais faire la recommendation que Pierre et Justine vendent les vins Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Mais c'est le Domaine ou la Domaine? Et ce prénom Jardine vient-il du mot jardin?

Jim~ shed plans

French, one of the most beautiful language on the planet. :)Oh by the way, I love the pictures, nice shots.


Great blog, I really like your writings.
I'm French so it also helps me better understand English (wich is my second language).
Have a nice day.

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