This year on the 4th of July, my husband and I took our kids to see the fireworks show by our neighborhood lake. It was in a park where 5,000 people peacefully sat in the dark and watched pretty flowers explode in the sky. As sweet as it was to see kids and teenagers running around on a warm summer night, I couldn’t help but think of the people in Nice, France a few years ago. That crowd had also gathered to watch fireworks for their independence day, but their peace was interrupted by an attack. Still, the French are strong people and cowardly acts won’t change their way of life.
In honor of Bastille Day, I’m reposting a post I put up years ago after Paris suffered a terror attack. Because I’m a gardener, it includes plants in Paris. Here it is.
People, like plants, are resilient. We suffer shock from our wounds, we go dormant and mourn, we heal and recover, and we continue to grow as best we can despite crippling circumstances. This is why I’ve been thinking about the greenery of Paris, the plants, the secret courtyards, even the street trees. They continue to grow despite attacks, just as the Parisian people will grow despite the attack that happened in November, 2015.
In the sprawling public gardens like the Jardin des Plantes or Tuileries, you find mostly hedged boxwoods and cypress trees. These gardens are historic and formal, paying tribute to the royalty that once inhabited these places. But in the street medians and plazas, in the corner parks, beauty springs up and gives us its wild gifts. It’s in the courtyards hiding in the interiors of buildings, in a window box hanging from an iron railing, maybe even in an urn outside a restaurant. It’s even in the Gothic points of Notre Dame poking out from the fluffy canopy of surrounding trees. Hence, a few photos of natural Paris.
Empress trees in bloom at the Place de la Contrescarpe
A path down the Promenade Plantee and looking outward (below)
Karen Hugg is a writer and gardener living in the Seattle area. She is a certified ornamental horticulturalist and Master Pruner. When not digging in the dirt, she writes. She's been published in various journals, anthologies, websites, and more. Her life is happily hectic but she's lucky to have a patient husband and sweet children. Her pets aren't bad either. To learn more, explore http://www.karenhugg.com.