27 April 2008

Orchids! Rain!

Thanks to Susan and Simon's blog called Days on the Claise, I learned this morning that some of the flowers that are blooming out in the vineyard, and even in our back yard, actually are orchids. They are gorgeous.

Orchids in the Renaudière vineyard
Click the picture to enlarge it

A couple of years ago I went with our friend Gisèle to visit an orchid grower whose greenhouses are out of the road to Blois, near Contres. We talked to the man who was tending the place, and Gisèle mentioned that she had seen orchids growing in the fields near her house.

The man almost laughed and said, no, that wasn't possible. There are no wild orchids in France, he told us. This weekend I found this site, which says just the opposite. At any rate, the man was categorical and you would have thought he knew what he was talking about, given his job. What's the saying? Trust but verify.

Red maple trees in our front yard are
almost prettier than the flowers

We had a beautiful weekend and I wore myself out on Saturday. Yesterday I just took it easy and read the newspapers on the Internet. Oh, and walked the dog too. Overnight I woke up a couple of times and saw at least a half-dozen flashes of lightning. Storms were predicted, but the ones producing the lightning weren't very close to us because I never heard any thunder.

Deep dark shadows aren't something
we are very used to seeing these days

Today I got up early to cook lunch (bœuf aux carottes, a beef stew with carrots, onions, herbs, and white wine) and the sky seemed to be getting darker rather than lighter as the minutes went by. About 9:00 a hard shower of big raindrops fell and soon the clouds were giving us a fine, steady rain. The temperature has fallen by 20 degrees F since yesterday afternoon.

Little blue flowers out in the vineyard

The warm sunny weather was nice while it lasted. On this chilly gray day, the beef stew will be comforting. Here's one more sunny, colorful picture to help chase away the drear.

Tulips just outside the back door


  1. What a wonderful blue! There aren't enough blue flowers in the world. I hope Someone Who Knows will identify these vineyard plants.

    I assume the orchid grower was chuckling because he thought you meant epiphyte orchids.

    There's the slimmest chance of this getting through to you, now that I look at the challenging word verification below. I've lost a few recent comments on your blog this way.

  2. Louise, your comment made it through. Has the word verification scheme changed recently? I don't see it because I'm logged in as, well, me, and Blogger doesn't ask me to identify myself when I leave a comment.

    One thing you can do to protect your comments is to select the text and copy it (menus: Edit>Copy or keyboard CTRL + C) just before you try to post it. At that point, you have the text saved in memory and you can paste it back into the text box and try it again.

  3. Ken I am absolutely boggled that an orchid grower/breeder would not know that there are orchids growing wild in France!! France is actually very well known for its native orchids, and has quite a number of rare species. The Société française d'Orchidophilie is very active in the field. The ones in your pic are Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula
    Check out my blog post http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com/search/label/orchids for an idea of the ones you could see near you very easily.
    Louise - the little blue flowers are Speedwell Veronicasp.

  4. tra la! it's may! the lusty month of may! that terrible month where everyone goes blissfully astray!

    i love the close ups of the flowers. the little white antennae on the little blue ones are fantastic.

    happy spring.

  5. Purejuice,
    You want to make me rent "Camelot"!


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