Category Archives: French gardens

Life in gardens: the backdrop path

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrPaul Trutat at Cornusson, France, by his father, Eugène Trutat. All photos here via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

Do you have a favorite outdoor spot for taking family photographs?

For early French photographer Eugène Trutat (1840 – 1910), it seems to have been this garden path, which was in Cornusson, a village in the Parisot commune in the Midi-Pyrénées.

The property may have been part of the family home of his wife, Caroline Cambe. The couple were married in Cornusson in 1864.  Paul (above) was born in 1865 and Henri in 1868.

(There’s a sweet picture of the two little boys together here.)

Eugène was from Toulouse.  In addition to being a photographer, he was a naturalist, geologist, mountaineer of the Pyrénées, and a curator of the Museum of Toulouse.

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrCaroline (née Cambe) in a man’s suit.  I believe this was taken between 1859 and 1870.

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrCaroline and her mother, ca. 1864- ca. 1875.

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrExtended family group. If the boys in the picture are Paul and Henri, then the date is probably about 1871-75.

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrDetail of above photo.

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrJeanne and Henriette, (household servants?), between 1859-1910.

Trutat family on path, E. Trutat, Library of Toulouse, flickrWomen’s headdress, Jeanne and Clémence, between 1859-1910.

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Life in gardens: Foix, France

Balcon aux rosiers, chalet de E. Trutat, Foix, c. 1903, Library of ToulouseTwo women and a young boy next to a balcony of roses at the Trutat chalet, Foix in the Midi-Pyrénées of France.

The autochrome was taken ca. 1903 by Eugène Trutat, via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

Look, Delia, how w’ esteem the half-blown rose
The image of thy blush and summer’s honour.  .  .

– Samuel Daniel, from “Delia 31

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Life in gardens: Cornusson

You’ve made your garden; how will you live in it?

Une ronde a Saint Edmond, via flickr, Bibliotheque de Toulouse Commons“Une ronde à Saint Edmond, Cornusson, [in the Pyrenees, France,]” c. 1900, by Eugène Trutat, via Bibliotheque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

[T]he significance of the garden cannot be restricted to the domain of the aesthetic. That the garden affords sensory pleasure and invites the exercise of taste is, to be sure, an important dimension of the significance that gardens have for many people, but not one that even begins to exhaust the place that these same people afford to the garden within a wider conception of ‘the good life’.

– David E. Cooper, from A Philosophy of Gardens

[The] fragmentary world is mended here,
And in this air a clearer sunlight plays.

Adrienne Rich, from “Design in Living Colors

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Life in gardens: Belesta, France

Bebe et les pigeons, Belesta, 1897, flickr Commons

“Bébé et les pigeons, Bélesta,” 1897, by Eugène Trutat, via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

Trutat (1840-1910) was a naturalist, geologist, mountaineer of the Pyrenees, and the curator of the Museum of Toulouse.

He was also an early photographer — beginning in 1859 — and was particularly interested in using the medium for science. He eventually took almost 15,000 images and authored a number of books, including Photography Applied to Archaeology and Photography Applied to Natural History.

He also took many beautiful pictures of his family and friends, including the one at this link, here, of his sons, Paul and Henri. He took several photos of Bébé, a little girl, in October 1897.

There’s more in words than I can teach:
Yet listen, Child! — I would not preach;
But only give some plain directions
To guide your speech and your affections.
Say not you love a roasted fowl
But you may love a screaming owl,
And, if you can, the unwieldy toad
That crawls from his secure abode
Within the mossy garden wall
When evening dews begin to fall,
Oh! mark the beauty of his eye:
What wonders in that circle lie!
So clear, so bright, our fathers said
He wears a jewel in his head!
And when, upon some showery day,
Into a path or public way
A frog leaps out from bordering grass,
Startling the timid as they pass,
Do you observe him, and endeavour
To take the intruder into favour:
Learning from him to find a reason
For a light heart in a dull season.
And you may love him in the pool,
That is for him a happy school,
In which he swims as taught by nature,
Fit pattern for a human creature,
Glancing amid the water bright,
And sending upward sparkling light.

– Dorothy Wordsworth, from “Loving and Liking: Irregular Verses Addressed to a Child

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Spring holds on in France

École du Breuil, Paris 12e, photo by Alain Delavie.

École du Breuil, Paris 12e, photo by Alain Delavie.

“Sit down, it’s spring!”

This is the message of a charming chair at the Ecole du Breuil in Paris.  The photo is by Alain Delavie* from his blog Paris côté jardin (Paris  garden side).

However, in his post on May 26, Delavie noted that the temperature was “hardly conducive to lazing in the shade of a tree … more to a jacket and mulled wine.”  Indeed, Paris had record cold weather for the end of May.  Today, the temperature will be around 14°C or 57°F — pretty chilly.

Paris côté jardin is a wonderful resource for gardeners preparing to visit (or even luckier, live in) Paris or the Ile-de-France.  Delavie is the editor of Rustica Hebdo magazine and editorial advisor to www.rustica.fr.  Equally impressive, he is a member of the European Network of Master Composters.

(The blog is in French, but there is a Google Translate button.)

The Breuil School is run by the city of Paris and is located on 23 hectares in the Bois de Vincennes.  It was founded in 1867 by Baron Haussmann and Alphonse Du Breuil to provide the Paris and Seine region with properly trained gardeners.  Today, its mission is to train gardeners, technicians, and managers for the city of Paris “on the subject of plants in the urban space.”

The school enrolls 300 students at a time:  200 in the classroom and 100 in apprenticeships.  Its grounds and facilities include an arboretum, heritage orchard, greenhouse, many plant collections, and library.

Today’s quote

Tant que mai n’est au 28, l’hiver n’est pas cuit.

Until May 28, winter is not cooked.

– French saying, via Paris côté jardin

And another

As gardeners, surely we have done our duty once we have registered our disapproval at the general arrangement of the universe, with complaints of special sharpness directed toward the clumsiness — indeed, sloth — with which wind and rains are scheduled. It is all that can be expected of us. The rest is the full responsibility of the heavens and need not, therefore, concern us. It does seem to me odd, nevertheless, that this “Nature,” which is supposed to be so wonderful, so rarely lets anything come to full perfection. It is all designed on the frog in the well principle, two hops forward and one backward until a certain level is reached, then the whole thing collapses. That is all anybody needs to know about nature.

– Henry Mitchell, from The Essential Earthman

*Used here with his kind permission.

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