Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Un Jardin Partage

On May 10, I visited a "jardin partage" in Paris near the Boulevard de l'Hopital. This active allotment garden is surrounded by old stone walls and high-rise apartments, offering some shelter from cold weather. Plantings were well-advanced for the season.

In France, gardeners often wait until after the "ice saints"to plant the warm weather vegetables. The ice saints' (St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, and St. Gervais) days are on May 11, 12, &13 and folklore is that until after that, there is danger of a late frost. However, in this well-utilized plot, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and zucchini have already been planted by this folklore-defying gardener.

Birds are attracted to any green space in Paris and can be a problem in a vegetable garden, so this gardener has a netting over his lettuce and beans.

This creative gardener is repelling the birds with plastic bottle and CD technology:
Renting a plot for one year costs 100 Euros. The gardener of this plot growing fava beans acknowledged that it is only a hobby; one doesn't recoup one's cost. However, his family is trying to maximize production on the small plot. His wife has interplanted bush green beans between the rows of fava beans.

Borders are crucial in a shared garden area. Here perennial herbs are grown in a circular enclosure, but the mint is escaping!

Of the 4 gardens that I visited, this one was the most actively cultivated, showing community involvement. In fact, the gardeners were gathered for a pique-nique and offered us a glass of wine and home-made food!

Gardens involve work, too, like a clean-up of the garden shed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Front Yard Gardens in France

This blog has not had many recent entries because I have been in France for 5 weeks. In France, finding edibles growing in a front-yard is difficult because often a front yard does not exist, or it is behind an opaque wall or fence. So, I am going to expand the criteria for the blog slightly to include allotment gardens, edibles growing in public places, and edibles growing in the front of a house that has no front yard.

In Paris there are over 40 "jardins partages" (apologies for no accent--this software is not very friendly for the French language); in Canada we call them allotment or community gardens. I enjoyed visiting 4 of them and will provide some photos in future blogs. You can find a map of the gardens' locations here: