(Nothing) Lost in Translation

delphine's image from venice garden tourI think I have a new favorite blog, or at least one that is going to chew up a lot of exploration time over the coming weeks: Paradis Express.

It all started innocently enough (as it usually does) when I spotted a comment of Delphine’s over at the Human Flower Project where she wondered if there was a French version. Anyone who speaks French and visits HFP must have a blog worth visiting.

I was not disappointed.

Delphine is nothing if not prolific, approaching 400 posts already for the year. Great images in each feature gardeners and gardens, artists gardeners will love, reviews of other blogs gardeners will love, whimsy and even (thankfully only one image that I spotted) footwear.

I gather that Delphine is an artist herself. But I’m not sure. Did I mention the text is all in French? It doesn’t matter that my three years of high school French is no longer serving me well. If I’m really intrigued by a post, there’s always the babel fish translator to help me get the gist of the text.

Here’s what Delphine had to say about Ellis Hollow (via babel fish):

Craig Cramer is a specialist in communication at the Department in Horticulture in the university in Cornell. Ellis Hollow, its blog personal, is also the name of its piece (see photo sight of plane) with Ithaca, N.Y., south of the area of the lakes. It is according to him, a small pocket frozen always very cold and very exposed with the roe-deers, this is why the garden is cloturé.Ca does not prevent it from cultivating ears of elephant and this superb volubilis “Fujii Mount” do not miss the photographs by its article on the garden-center Motherplants, specialist local in the roof vert.

I’m all about protecting the ears of elephant from the roe-deers.

I will always be endebted to the woman who first pointed me to the Vegetable Orchestra:

Go visit Delphine now.

Plant rescue

banana and containersDear Matthew:

Our plan worked. Perfectly.

I’ll admit that I was scared when you left me by the door to the conservatory when you were packing up after graduation. Did you know that’s where the woman who runs the conservatory often leaves plants that are ‘up for grabs’?

When I saw Craig (he’s known as a plant scrounge) coming, he looked confused. What was a plant doing there at 7:30 a.m. on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend? There wasn’t anything there Friday when he left work. (He checks there a lot.)

Then he spotted your note:

Please take me and love me.

I’m a good plant, but was too big for the car.

Thank you.


Geez Matthew. You made him all teary. He scooped me up and took me to his office. The ride home after work in the back of the pickup was a little scary, laying there alongside that big spiky cactus.

But he pulled some cannas he’d planted in his biggest pot over the weekend and nestled me in with some fresh soil and trimmed off my dead leaves. He was wondering what he was going to put in the empty space in his container garden along with the dahlias, elephant ears and brugmansia. It looks pretty ugly now. But by July this will be the most photogenic area of his garden. (Or at least the least weedy.)

It doesn’t much matter that I don’t look my best yet. With Craig, it’s all about the growing — seeing the potential and then helping it happen. I’m in good hands. (Even though he’s not positive if I’m a banana tree or some other tropical. He doesn’t really care.)

And if you didn’t notice, I’ve got a little offset coming. Craig says that once you get settled, he’d gladly split it off and ship it to you. Just let him know. It would be a good reminder of your days in Ithaca. It’s a special place, and you should carry a little bit of it with you wherever your travels take you.

Miss you all ready.

Saint Francis was right

st francis

Interesting article in this morning’s Washingon Post: If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might Be Only Natural. It’s about some neuroscience studies conduted at the National Institutes of Health and their implications on moral behavior:

The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

Their 2006 finding that unselfishness can feel good lends scientific support to the admonitions of spiritual leaders such as Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, “For it is in giving that we receive.” …

The research enterprise has been viewed with interest by philosophers and theologians, but already some worry that it raises troubling questions. Reducing morality and immorality to brain chemistry — rather than free will — might diminish the importance of personal responsibility. Even more important, some wonder whether the very idea of morality is somehow degraded if it turns out to be just another evolutionary tool that nature uses to help species survive and propagate.

Read the whole thing.

Between work, gardening and holiday festivities, it’s been hard to find time to blog. Will start sorting through pictures tonight and be back in action soon.

Thanks Charles!

Believe me, a gift certificate goes at lot farther at the Ithaca Agway than it does in Boston — or even Springfield, for that matter. The colors in this image aren’t great. The large pots are a very subtle lavender. (Nana would approve.) I may even get them planted today if the rain winds down. Will post more pix when they’re planted.

pots from charles

More on organic bees

bees on helleboreColony collapse disorder (CCD) continues to get ink all over. This morning, there was a recommended diary on DailyKos pointing to this article in the Organic Consumer Association newsletter. Shorter version: Pushing for larger bees encourages varroa mites. Conventional treatments for the mites and other stresses lead to collapse.

In another story, WVU professor helps develop techniques to reduce threat against honeybees, a West Virginia University apiculturist touts a program to bolster hives that includes lemongrass, spearmint, wintergreen and formic acid.

Sounds refreshing.