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Between the flowers Mount Windy "towers". Enjoy a free subscription to French Word-A-Day via Email or RSS

 la rose trémière (rowz tray me yare) noun, feminine
    : hollyhock 

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Pendant les périodes chaotiques, il fallait attacher Smokey à notre rose trémière. During chaotic periods, it was necessary to attach Smokey to our hollyhock.


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

    "How to Contain a Dog"

The scene is simple, facile as a flower. The subjects are easy: a plant, a dog, and a leash.


But if you could sit with me, staring at such strength and mystery, you, too, would see the greatness in such a fragile thing.

Pull up a chair and quietly observe our characters: one furry and golden the other lean and green. Just a couple of underdogs joined by a string.

I think about little old ants and rubber tree plants. I think about Jack and the beanstalk. I am amazed. Who'd have thunk, who'd have thought: so much strength in a hollyhock!

You know the saying "La nécessité est mère de l'invention," and so it was that with all the comings and goings this summer—and what with the busy harvest—we needed a safe place to attach our younger dog.  The picnic table worked fine, until we showed up to dine.... The lampadaire worked for a while, until the shade moved over to the wood pile. That is when the back patio beckoned. But where to temporarily tie our sweet chien? My eyes traveled over to the giant plant....

What began as a seed now stands seven feet high! Thick enough at the "ankles" to hold on to 26 kilos (our dog, or occasional escapee). 

Back at the kitchen table, chaos to my back, I take a moment to marvel at the mighty underdogs. It is just a simple scene, that of a dog anchored to a one-time seedling. So the next time you stare at a glorious maple, think of a hollyhock, and of what it is capable.   


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 French Vocabulary

La nécessité est mère de l'invention (or "l'industrie") = necessity is the mother of invention

 le lampadaire = street lamp

le chien = dog

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Sandy came to help us for the harvest (we snuck away before the work began to take a few photos in Villedieu). You will love Sandy's harvest stories over at her blog "Go for the Grape". Check it out!

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I want to plant these flowers next spring!

Suzanne White

J'adore les roses trémiaires et pourtant elles ne sont souvent pas mises en valeur. Bravo pour avoir élevé un véritable arbre de roses trémiaires. Elle sont belles! Le chien est beau aussi. Bises. sw


Smokey looks so handsome (if not a bit lonely).

Bill in St. Paul

In his second picture, Smokey seems to be saying (at least to me) "Don't believe a word of what she says. If she had just asked I would have stayed out of the way, but with so many people to meet and greet what did she expect?"


Great picture, I have never seen a rose tremiere like that. Only one stright stem. How did you get it like that.
I plant hollyhocks every year, they never bloom. My Grandmother was from England and we had a picture of her cottage with huge hollyhocks. I have loved them forever .

Your Doggie is sooo cute,


Spectacular photo! Hollyhocks are often ignored here too, since they just come back every year. You have shown how beautiful they can be.

Holly Kulhawick

What does "tremiere" actually mean? Given that my name is "Holly" I'm curious! My great aunt always called me Hollyhock, so I try to keep them in my garden, but I agree with the previous post, none of mine ever had such strong stems or such growth! Great pics as always!!


Smokey is darling. I love the colors of the buildings, such wonderful pastels.

Rose Chandler

Chere Kristin,

Beautiful pictures and beautiful prose. I love la rose tremiere. Your writing has a lyrical quality. Merci, et aussi merci pour la carte postale.


"Between the flowers Mount Windy "towers"" is an absolutely beautiful shot! Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures and words.

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin,

Some poetic words from Smokey:

Hey Buddy, Got a moment to spare?
Want to hear my story? Pull up a chair

It’s a sorry situation in which I find myself
Tied here alone, collecting dust on the shelf

Let me tell you a secret. . . Here’s what I think
In my doggy world, these blooming flowers stink!

What a bummer, on this sunny autumn day
All I wanted to do was to go out and play

There are many new people I wanted to meet
Also, I see some old friends I’d love to greet

But here I sit agonizing, tethered to a Hollyhock
Please listen to my bark. These “digs” don’t rock!

À bientôt


In the first picture of Smokey against the Hollyhocks, he looks sad, but in the next one he seems to be saying - hey, don't I look handsome sitting here. Come pet me. But we know that he would rather be frolicking with the people and receiving lots of attention! Poor Smokey!

Joan Linneman

Wasn't that a movie... Smokie and the Flower? I've just had a flashback to my Burt Reynolds days. Oh wait, it was Smokey and the Bandit. Your Smokey is obviously a gentleman with a conscience. I hate to think what our dogs Zeppelin the Wonderdog and his adopted sister Heidi would have done to that poor plant... Gang mentality + escape artistry = "Hollyhawk Down"
Joan L. (I have a day off of school in honor of Christopher Columbus. Party!)


Kristin,THANKS for another wonderful post,
AND such wonderful pictures!
Your rose tremiere is gorgeous! (What a color!)
I admit ,though, that I'm partial to Smokey's photo (dog people,we have two petites chiens); handsome Smokey has such an expressive face!
Do you suppose Joseph Jacobs (if indeed it was Joseph Jacobs) had an overly fertile imagination when writing Jack and The Beanstalk and was actually exaggerating about his own hollyhock?? Perhaps some (odd!) food for thought!(?)
Bon journee!!


Love Herm's poem.
Love your photos...& your prose.
& absolutely love your boy reminds me of my own out of order goldenboy!

Julianna P.

I love all the pictures which include Smokey and/or Braise... your blog is a small sanctuary in this way-too-spinny world. Merci bien -- as always

Bill in St. Paul

Great poem, Herm. At least there's two of us who understand how Smokey is feeling...

Nicole lidji

THANK YOU ! I finally know what a" Rose Tremiere "means in iEnglish!!!

Sharon Auckerman

Very nice posting today! The pictures lately have been inspiring. The countryside and your property are so beautiful. It is nice to see someone still likes the old fashion flowers like the hollyhock. Several of us would love to have seeds from the hollyhocks if you can share. Do you want to work something out?

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Hello Dear Friend! I have just returned (this evening) from the rainy Pacific Northwest, where many years ago, we so fortuitously met. Whenever I visit, I am flooded with a thousand memories. So nice to come home to your hollyhock in bloom. Mine have not blossomed thus far...either by deer or by dog, their growth has been slogged.

P.s. I enjoyed Sandy’s “Go for the Grape”...we have those pesky burrs here too!

Eileen deCamp

The Hollyhock is beautiful! It doesn't look strong enough to hold Smokey! I didn't know the leaves get that big!


Smokey est un chien très agréable et j'aime toutes les photos de lui (o:
Bisous x

Kathy King

J'aime bien votre site internet! Elle me donne beaucoup de plaisir! J'ai deux chiens (Brittanies). Smokey est tres gentile.
(Corrections welcome. Don't know how to place accent marks yet.)


What's funny is I actually bought the sweatshirt you had attached to the post.

Nicole Marcus

Kristin, you have such a flair for describing the most interesting things, though I have not seen hollyhocks since I left New Hampshire, as I am in SF, but I do remember them so very well. Thank you for the lovely pictures

Julie F

I'm a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to say that your language is getting more playful and poetic with each post. Can't wait for more.


The leaves on our hollyhocks don't grow that large here in the desert SW of the US, but hollyhocks are abundant here because they will grow out of the cracks of sidewalks and anywhere that we don't want them! Do they grow in gardens where we want them? No, of course not! Besides being tall, they have minds of their own! Yours are beautiful.

Pat Cargill

Dear Sweet Smokey B Dokey: What a beautiful picture of make that hollyhock sing. Quelle hollyhock! I can only imagine you were a wee put out by being contained, but I expect there were many happy hours otherwise, meeting greeting and being utterly and completely adored by pickers and family alike. I hope someday to be close enough to meet and greet you in person. Tourjours -

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