tournesol (c) Kristin Espinasse
With the seeds in today's story... this eventually grew! Read on...

graine (grehn) noun, feminine

  : seed

Audio File: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the French word "graine" and read today's quote:

Le plus grand arbre est né d'une graine menue.
The tallest tree is born of one small seed. --Lao-Tseu
Download graine.mp3. Download graine.wav

It began in the flower-seed aisle at Carrefour, after tossing an extra packet of sunflower graines* into the shopping cart. I looked up at my husband's face to assess his disapproval. "You know you'll need to water them?" said he.

Jean-Marc's comment was more of concern than insulting. Still, I could sense a flood of indignation coursing through my veins, which, admittedly, do not lead to a green thumb; witness an abandoned flower/vegetable-seed collection that never made it to pot, nor garden lot. The seed packets of courgettes,* carrots, and sweet peas no longer collect dust on a kitchen shelf. They were packed with the "fine china" and the good intentions last summer. I still haven't unpacked the dishes.

Turning to address Monsieur Waste-Not-Want-Not, I reminded him that a Rhone-destined ruisseau* flowed alongside our future rock star potager.* Never mind that you have to pitch a broken ladder from the river bank, climb down to the narrow stream, scream (on seeing the furry water rodents,* real or imagined) and, bucket by bucket, haul up the flower refreshments.

"Won't the garden hose reach that far?" I asked. Jean-Marc answered that it would, but that the garden wouldn't miraculously water itself. Someone would actually have to turn on the hose.

"Tournesols* are under two euros a pack!" I affirmed. "Why, for that price, I could have the very CHEAP thrill of adding them to my seed collection and watching them GROW DUST," I cried, reinstating my rights, forgetting about the unpacked dishes. As for those seeds... they quit growing even dust when I sealed them into that sturdy malle* along with those weak intentions so many months ago.

If Scarlett O'Hara were French, she would know how to answer back to my husband. Meantime, I did as she would do and tossed another packet of seeds (for the cute French name: "Ipomée"* and the pretty blue flower on the cover) into the caddy. Harrumph! Triumph! After all, even if seeds in a packet don't grow, people do. Besides, demain est un autre jour*....

la graine (f) = seed; la courgette (f) = zucchini; le ruisseau (m) = stream; le potager (m) = kitchen vegetable garden; water rodent = nutria (le ragondin); le tournesol (m) = sunflower; la malle (f) = trunk; une ipomée (f) = morning glory; demain est un autre jour = tomorrow is another day

Read "Kitchen Gardens of France" by Louisa Jones & French Dirt by Richard Goodman.

Terms & Expressions :
  la graine de lin = linseed
  la graine de moutarde = mustard seed
  la graine d'anis = aniseed
  en prendre de la graine = to profit from someone's example
  c'est une mauvaise graine = s/he's a bad example
  les graines pour oiseaux = birdseed
  la petite graine = the male reproductive cell, gamete

Michel Thomas Speak French For Beginners: 10-CD Beginner's Program
In French music: French Playground, a musical rendez-vous of fun French and French Creole songs that will delight children of all ages.
Art Poster Print - Au Potager D'emile
A sugar splurge : La Perruche Rough Cut Brown Sugar Cubes


Son Max's cabane dans l'arbre... or a tree house's foundation.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. Zelle®, an easy way to donate and there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jules Greer

Kristi, This is the funniest story. I laughed and laughed. I guess you must not have had the comments box at this time...I'm sure we would have heard a lot of funny comments and stories from all of your friends.




It's a sad but true thing. The garden path is paved with good intentions and I have also prevented purchased seed from actually going to seed.
Thanks so much for the photo and explanation re;olive cake. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)