23 Aug 2012

in my neighbourhood: les jardins familiaux

Welcome to our neighbourhood family gardens - a hundred or more plots - rented and tenderly filled with all kinds of flowers, vegetables, fruit trees, grasses. They are hodge-podge sheds, pergolas, paved terraces, barrels full of rain water, olive groves, orchards, blackberry brambles... narrow foot-worn pathways, benches and stooping willow trees. Each plot has a gate of some kind, my favourites are the ones with obviously salvaged doors. When Alex and I first stumbled across this place in a moment of serendipity, it was as if we'd found an enormous secret garden. We were giddy with excitement, and since then have returned in the cold of winter, crisp of autumn, promise of spring and heat of summer to glean inspiration, breathe in the air infused with burning woodpiles, listen to the hum of insects and french radios blearing, and often silence.

We live on the outskirts of a big old romantic city. Sure we live in a neighbourhood that is distinct for its new, concrete-slab like low-rent housing, cultural diversity and unruly youth. Yet these gardens offer a beautiful, quiet sanctuary - an honest, earthy feeling unlike anything you will find with a metro-station. I love that. I do.

8 comments:

  1. Me too...seeing community/urban gardens gives such a strong sense of hope and pride. Back to grassroots, please!

    by the bye, do you watch River Cottage? http://www.rivercottage.net/
    if not, prepare to be overly OBSESSED!

    XO

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    1. So true about the hope and pride felt in the face of urban greenery! And while I have heard of river cottage I've never watched any, must try to find some now :)

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  2. The color of the door in photo #3 is divine! Community gardens are wonderful things- I'm glad you live so close to such a place :)

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    1. Oh yes I love that turquoise blue door! I have a feeling Nth Africans may live there :)

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  3. Our community gardens are nothing like this--much more controlled: just uniform plots surrounded by lawn. What a wonderful asset to any neighborhood, especially a concrete-slab one. "Community" gardens, indeed! I am glad you get discover such a place.

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  4. I remember walking there with you when you were big with child, and the lovely old lady who chatted with us. Heart.

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  5. Wow Emily! How glorious! It's like something out of a movie.

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Thank you for reading! I do so love and appreciate every one of your comments even if I don't get a chance to reply.