vertical gardening

April 21, 2012

Narrow, twisting but inviting paths criss cross up the precipitous hillside in Roquebrun. Deserted in  the middle of the day, rural France appears to sleep, or maybe eat, and nothing will change that. Cultural centres, small shops and businesses still shut . . .  you may see a cat or a couple of dogs, but little else moves which is grounding in this ‘rushing around’ age   . . . . hence not a glimmer of action in these images taken in the ascent to the entrance of the Mediterranean Garden. 

The last remains, La Tour Guet Carolinginne,  of the 12C castle stands on the summit and provides a landmark for the steep climb up the hill side. No thought here to ‘disabled access’!

Roquebrun is picturesque with short inward looking views. . .

 . . . and equally wonderful in the 180 degree panoramas of the route of the River Orb.

The base of the tower houses tufty, doughty  arid loving plants.  Even on this south facing and protected situation, plants have suffered from the cold February weather. So brown foliage and stunted growth has been cropped out of the images but, very soon,  all will flesh out, thrust up and produce colourful flowers and fruits again. Palms, cacti, aloes. echeverias and many other types of succulent like Ruschia show the potential and richness of gardening in a dry climate. 

The many acacias must look stunning at flowering time. After their big performance, they still  form a structural and textural balance to the more architectural and spiky shapes of the agaves. 

Cistus are well represented – not architectural at all, but beautiful in their flowering mode and also attractive to beetles – shiny green and the smaller furry ones.  The plants here are slightly behind in their development and growth in contrast to where they might be expected to be at this time of year. So the heavy, fleshy characters take prominence at the moment and always form good compositions. And the tour maintains a discreet presence.

I expect to return and be able to engage with a rich variety of other succulents and exotics at close quarters. Return at the end of the day when the groups of visitors have long gone to breathe in the atmosphere of this small landscape that sits above the large landscape below.     

At this particular time I have no one

Particular person to grieve for, though there must

Be many, many unknown ones going to dust

Slowly, not remembered for what they have done

Or left undone. For these, then, I will grieve

Being impartial, unable to deceive.

How they lived, or died, is quite unknown,

And, by that fact gives my grief purity–

An important person quite apart from me

Or one obscure who drifted down alone.

Both or all I remember, have a place.

For these I never encountered face to face.

Sentiment will creep in. I cast it out

Wishing to give these classical repose,

No epitaph, no poppy and no rose

From me, and certainly no wish to learn about

The way they lived or died. In earth or fire

They are gone. Simply because they were human, I admire.

Elizabeth Jennings. In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me.

5 Responses to “vertical gardening”

  1. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    Paradise, reminds me of Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources. Enjoy x

  2. julia fogg Says:

    I agree. Hope to return soon.

  3. Val Says:

    Lovely, Julia… you have captured the place beautifully!

  4. […] Rocquebrun, almost 5 months on from the last visit to the Jardin Méditerranéen, I was expecting to be rocked by exotic colour. A touch of something […]

  5. Hi there, for all time i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the
    daylight, for the reason that i enjoy to gain knowledge of more and more.

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