>Some flowers in the garrigue / Quelques fleurs en garrigue

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It was a lovely clear sunny morning and from Montesquieu we could see Mont Canigou and the Pyrenees, the peaks still covered with snow.  / Il a fait beau et clair ce matin et de Montesquieu on a pu voir le Mont Canigou et les Pyrénées, leurs sommets couverts de neige.

canigou from montesquieu_1

Olive trees live for centuries and often the original tree has died while new young trees have grown up around the beautiful shapes of the hollow centre.  / Les oliviers vivent pour plusiers siècles et souvent l’arbre original est mort et des arbres nouveaux ont poussé autour les formes belles du centre creux.

olive trunk 1_1_1 olive trunk 2_1_1
olive trunk 3_1_1 olive leaves_1_1

In the garrigue, the scrubby vegetation that grows on uncultivated hills, this is the time of year when the plants flower before dying back during the dry summer.  /  Dans le garrigue, la végétation broussailleuse qui pousse sur les collines, les plantes fleurissent à cette saison avant de perdre leurs feuilles et leurs tiges pendant la sécheresse d’été.

I find the website http://www.maltawildplants.com/ very helpful when I’m trying to identify Mediterranean plants.  It is an incredible work by one man, Stephen Mifsud, who is cataloguing and describing the flowering plants which grow in Malta.  Many of these are common to the area all around the Mediterranean, so it is an extremely useful data base.

Today we saw / aujourd’hui on a vu:

cistus albidus   wild asparagus_1_1 cistus close up_1 Cistus albidus
clustered sulla_1_1 Clustered sulla, Hedysarum glomeratum Lathyrus clymenum_1_1
Crimson pea, Lathyrus clymenum
thyme   wild asparagus_1_1

Thyme and wild asparagus growing together.

Le thym et les asperges sauvages ensemble.

asphodelus albus_1_1 asphodel
Asphodelus albus
aphyllanthes monspeliensis_1_1 aphyllanthes close up_1
Aphyllanthes monspeliensis

new salad box_1_1 Back at the garden, Lo Jardinièr finished making a new raised bed and planted out lettuce plants our nighbour had given us.  He made a wooden frame with some cast-off planks, put it on a patch of rough ground we haven’t used before and filled it with a mixture of half compost and half soil.

Lo Jardinièr a construit une parterre pour les salades.

>Asparagus and sweet onions / Les asperges et les oignons de Lézignan

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Onions from Lézignan-la-Cèbe are a local speciality.  They are sweet onions from a small village near Pézenas which in 1615 added ‘la Cèbe’ to its name, from the Occitan word for onion – ceba. In Occitan there is even a special verb meaning ‘to plant onions’ – cebejar.  In spring the onion growers in the village sell young plants at the roadside for replanting.  Our neighbour went there and brought 100 plants for us.

L’oignon doux de Lézignan-la-Cèbe est une spécialité de ce village près de Pézenas.  Le village a ajouté ‘la Cèbe’ à son nom en 1615 en honneur.  Ce mot vient du mot occitan ceba (oignon).  En printemps les cultivateurs d’oignons vendent les jeunes plantes au bord de la route.  Notre voisin y est allé et il nous en a apporté 100 plants.

lezignan onions_1_1 lezignan onions - planting_1_1_1

It was difficult to find space for 100 onions we hadn’t planned for, but we’ve put them in a double row alongside the potatoes.

asparagus salad 1_1_1 We’ve been lucky this week – we were given some more wild asparagus too.  We cooked the spears for a couple of minutes in boiling water, let them cool and dressed them with olive oil and a little lemon juice to eat as a salad.  They were delicious – a concentrated flavour of asparagus but with the added ‘herbyness’ of the garrigue. / On a préparé une salade d’asperges sauvages: cuire les asperges dans l’eau bouillante pour 2 minutes et puis ajouter un peu d’huile d’olive et de jus de citron.  Elles étaient delicieuses avec un gout concentré d’asperge et des herbes de la garrigue.

And a rustic wall / et un mur rustique

Lo Jardinièr has started to make a stone wall to protect our rose bushes from the north wind, using pieces of stone he’s collected.  / Lo Jardinièr a commencé la construction d’un mur en pierres pour protéger nos rosiers du vent du nord, en utilisant des pierres qu’il a ramassé.

rose wall 1_1_1_1
the first row of stones in a trench ….
rose wall 3_1_1 choosing the right stones … rose wall 2_1_1_1 work in progress.