Skip to main content

USUAL AND UNUSUAL TERRACE BLOOMS: SPRING 2018

Growing up in the northeastern United States, spring was a time of great anticipation. Winters were long, freezing cold, and the vistas were brown and grey when not snow-covered. We waited for the early signs of spring, the first flowerings - crocus and lilies and daffs and iris. They tend to pop up as soon as they can, sometimes between snowfalls. Spring is short and plants in cold climates learn to take advantage of every opportunity to get on with it.

Here in the south of France, things are a bit different. Winters are chilly and earth tones do invade the fields and vineyards, to be sure, but the cold is relative and the brown winter landscapes are broken up by greenery of all sorts.

For our terrace, winter is a time to protect and defend, to trim and even cover when necessary. And this winter, even covered, a late killing frost wreaked havoc. We lost an annual or two that often survive the mild winters here. One of Cathey's treasured succulents succumbed. Our potted fruit trees and shrubbery show damage. And we've had to perform radical surgery on our bougainvillea.

But in spite of all of that, spring brings blossoms. Some to be expected. Some new to this Jersey boy's experience. Take a look.

There's nothing odd about a budding azalea, except maybe that it was a cheapo bought from Lidl last year and still going strong.

Can you guess what that blossom is from?

Yep. A bay tree in a pot. Full of bay leaves and blooming away.

This pansy lasted  all winter.

The rosemary in the kitchen window felt the freeze and decided that it was time to bloom.

This succulent that we bought in Spain decided that the freeze signaled time to both bloom and bud out.

Serious bloom spikes.

Another window sill succulent doing its thing.

I've posted pics and stories about our region of France, once the Languedoc and now Occitanie, HERE. Enjoy!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

CHRISTMAS WALK TO VIEW OF THE PYRENEES: 2018

Cathey said that it was OK for me to take my usual Tuesday morning walk on Christmas Day. I could help set the table and perform other minor tasks necessary for a satisfactory Christmas dinner with friends after I returned. So off I went. Temperature 40℉ at the start near sunup. 50℉ at the finish a couple of hours later. No wind. Blue skies. This was the winter that I came to France for.

The walk can't really be called scenic. Just through the vines until you get to the headland opposite the village. But the closer that you get to the top, you begin to see the Pyrenees peeking through. And at the top, it's a 360° panorama.







RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30€ per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats. 

So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out.

Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are their v…