the natural and the natural

June 28, 2012

Above Lenthéric, there is a knoll that faces due east. It’s a perfect place to scramble up to past the buildings of La Grange  – opera floats out of the windows –  before flopping down in the sparse wildflower layer with many scabious to view the surrounding landscape . . .

. . and on the way back to La Liquière, there’s a very small piece of land belonging to Clos Fantine that seems quite breath-taking in the early evening light. It’s all vines and wine here – very dense and focused on the product –  but also plenty of recognition and allowance for nature. Clematis flammula spreads across any horizontal and vertical surface – flowers like an icy breath – beautiful and undisturbed.

Dipsacus fullonum stretches up through the verge sides and the caper is flowering  – fine straight purple stamens on the flowers – in contrast to the thick, tough and scrambling nature of the plant itself . . .

. .  all to be admired! Also lying back in it all and watching the sky!

At  Le Jardin Sec, the Filippis grow plants that are tolerant to the dry conditions of the Mediterranean basin. Many plants here are native to the area including the grass with wavy florescence, Stipa pennata.

Some landform provides the height for plants that relish even more exposed and drier conditions than those planted and growing on the flat. Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’ cascades over Stipa gigantea and yellow flowering Cistus atriplicifolius. Scabiosa cretica, evergreen and shrubby, billows out in the foreground.

Gravel paths give access through the informal planting. Delicate Gaura, seen in many situations around Languedoc in these months – roundabouts, mass planting, retail parks and town parks and garden – is now springing into life and attracting all insect life.

The silvery foliage of Ballota makes a great contrast to the red leaves on the Cotinus – surprisingly drought tolerant and also seen effectively in landscape plantings – simple and aesthetically pleasing. Favourite of mine,  Bupleurum, lime green and waxy, is flowering on verges and in woodland edges, both above Lenthéric and in Le Jardin Sec. Happy in itself! It’s a dream!

I went outside looking and looking

for a garden and the hill. I have lost

my shadow and my oak and my night sweat.

The field was just mown and the summer

so hot there was no green in it,

layers of russets and yellows,

and I was swelling with mosquito

bites and I was listening to Fado.

The trees around the perimeter

were a block of solid colour,

shockingly uni-green by contrast.

(my stomach fluttered at the sight – and

gut epithelium is five days old at most)

Look further into the stands of trees

and everything changes (my cerebral

and visual cortex is as old as me). The eye

can’t locate an individual shade:

it’s all delicate tips and hints

of green rolling in the wind.

We are moving and I can’t see a thing.  Jo Shapcott Viral landscape

6 Responses to “the natural and the natural”

  1. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    What’s paradise in French?

  2. Tom Says:

    I can hear the crickets and cicadas, actually, as well as from within the photographs. Absorbed in them for a few drowsy moments

  3. julia fogg Says:

    Being absorbed by nature!


  4. […] from the obvious tending of the vines. Yesterday’s stroll encompassed Les  Mattes and the wild flower knoll (on a previous post) now ploughed up for the planting of more vines. Areas get left fallow and […]


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