In a vase on Monday

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‘Noordwijks Glory’ is the dahlia face on here, with ‘Karma Choc’ to the right. Rose ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ just behind, with one flower of ‘Sweet Juliet’ to the right.

Here’s my contribution to Cathy’s meme at Rambling in the Garden. I used only dahlias and roses – and probably not as much foliage as I ought to have used!

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Dahlia ‘Karma Lagoon’

The dahlias are: ‘Karma Irene’ (red), ‘Karma Lagoon’ (purple), ‘La Recoleta’ (pom-pom, dark purple), ‘Karma Choc’, ‘Noordwijks Glory’ and the little single anemone-flowered ‘Totally Tangerine. Roses were ‘Wollerton Old Hall’, ‘Sweet Juliet’ and HT ‘Mr Lincoln’.

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‘Wollerton Old Hall’ (left), ‘Sweet Juliet’ (right), with a hint of Dahlia ‘Karma Irene’ beside it.

All are included just because they were ‘there’ and I wanted to try out a new plant-holder/vase, given to me by the kind parents of two 5- and 9-year-old children who I tutored in English this summer.

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This young couple from Lyon have close ties to Chatillon – both grandmother and great-grandmother live here – and spent the summer in the village before immigrating to New Zealand on 11 September.

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‘Sweet Juliet’

It’s a sad fact that rural France, in some areas, is increasingly depopulated with only oldies like me left. The French establishment and press refer endlessly to our ‘medical deserts’. And these are, of course, the areas where the oldies live! Places where the old doctors are retiring (or dying) and to which the young ones don’t wish to relocate.

The French health service is arguably unsurpassed in the world (a clever combination of a free public service and a top-up insurance service (referred to as your ‘complémentaire santé’), which patients pay for themselves monthly. So the public input is shored up financially by our own private input. But if you have a ‘carte vitale’ (and every French person has one, from a child) you are always entitled to all the health care basics.

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A slightly battered Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

However, due to the size of the country, if you fall and break your leg (or neck, as has happened to two people I know), the emergency service in an area like ours will have to helicopter you to the nearest large hospital. Meanwhile, on the roads, fleets of taxi-ambulances (paid for by our ‘complementaires’) ferry patients the 50 minutes to hospitals for treatments such as dialysis or radiotherapy. And even as far as Paris (about 3.5 hours away), sometimes as often as once a fortnight, if you can only be treated there.

In winter the villages are quiet and nearly dead. But summer brings an inrush of grandchildren from Paris and further afield. Shouts of joy down by the river and bicycles in the streets again!

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It must be hard when parents, such as my students’ parents, decide to relocate to the other side of the world for a better life. Thiebault, the oldest, when asked what he was looking forward to most in New Zealand told me: ‘Living in a house!’ Apartment life in a city is the norm, life in the country the exception for most children. I hope they are settling in well, even if they are not in the house he dreams of yet!

I did try out my vase with different dahlias as well – more ‘Karma Serena’ and some ‘Playa Blanca’ – and this time added some snapdragons. The touch of green and the spikiness make it altogether a ‘perkier’ vase.

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Go on over and see the other vases at ‘Rambling in the Garden‘. They are always so different and inspiring. And have gifted me lots of new ideas over the years.

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29 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday

    1. Cathy Post author

      I’ve bought from Lidl, local garden centres, a company called ‘Promesse de Fleurs’ (online) and also – inevitably – from Peter Nyssen. I have a hard time keeping them happy over the winter, but I have so many nice ones I want to try harder this year!

      Reply
      1. Cathy Post author

        I did actually do that last winter, Christina, as a test. Fortunately two that I am fond of came through, although the others died. I normally take them into the ‘cave’ (wine cellar) over winter. Sometimes with compost, sometimes just dry – as a test. I think it depends how dry the winter is (ie cold – sometimes very). This year I will try a very light (not garden soil/not compost) packing around them and try to visit them more frequently.

    1. Cathy Post author

      They are not quite so impressive in the actual garden. I think this is a common problem – I often look with envy at other people’s rose bushes!

      Reply
  1. Noelle

    Your flowers are excellent….this week I found your description of rural life in France very interesting. The general trend is to have centralization of services, with ‘cottage hospitals’ closing down. We find in in so many services including shopping etc…no wonder the Doctor’s are not to be found in the countryside, they want to work in large centres.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Yes – death of the countryside is global, I’m afraid. I don’t really know if there’s an answer – but I do hope we work one out!

      Reply
  2. pbmgarden

    Your dahlias a gorgeous and I’m swept away by the beautiful roses. Lovely presentation. I too enjoyed reading about your corner of the world. I’m sure you made a big impact on your summer students.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      I hope I did, but I have to say the age difference was not easy to cope with. I think the sweet 9-year-old boy (with quite good English) was often bored!

      Reply
  3. janesmudgeegarden

    As well as enjoying your splendid roses and dahlias, I enjoyed reading about rural France. It’s much the same in rural Australia, although the town I live in is big enough to have a hospital. Some country people have to travel hundreds of kilometres for treatment, or perhaps have to stay in a larger town for weeks if they have to have chemotherapy. Also, the councils of some smaller towns pay large amounts of money and provide housing to try and attract doctors to their area.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      It does sound very similar – and your distances are even bigger. I’m now asking myself to find out if in fact the French authorities are enticing young doctors in. There would be no problem with accomodation – it’s so cheap here! Also an early sign of community death. Thanks for provoking thought!

      Reply
  4. Eliza Waters

    A lovely selection, Cathy, both before and after the additions. Love the peachy-oranges!
    Many rural areas worldwide are similar food and medical deserts. Economics are tough. My spouse and I don’t live in such, but the interior and mountainous regions here in the US, are having a rough time. There needs to be more government-sponsored clinics with visiting doctors that rotate service to meet the need.

    Reply
  5. Peter Herpst

    Gorgeous arrangement and I love your header picture. Very interesting about medical care and dwindling population in the counrtyside. I often dream of moving far from the madding crowd of the city.

    Reply
  6. theshrubqueen

    Love the colors and Dahlias and Roses are Garden Dreaming here in South Florida. Interesting about your healthcare situation. It is similar where I live, difficult to find a good doctor. The French system sounds wonderful compared what we have in the US.

    Reply
  7. fredgardener

    Beautiful pictures but we can even forget to watch them because your description of the French health service is true … You know everything because you live in France and we go to a “2-speed medicine” (we say that)
    The situation will accelerate in the future with rural desertification. Rural docs won’t be replaced and young people will go to big cities in “health homes” (like a small hospital). They want the city with facilities (internet, 4G, transport, services …), 35 hours per week and few night shifts or weekends. I speak knowingly …
    Those who have lived with their parents in the countryside maybe will come back … It is to hope ….
    – Sorry if I was wrong .. This is not my common vocabulary (compared to plants …)😁😉 –

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Such a lovely comment, Fred! I find it all terribly sad, but I still relish the children coming back, because they can really let loose and be happy here. And I hope/believe there is a future for rural France. Enjoy your English garden … which I will visit again soon.

      Reply
  8. Cathy

    Karma dahlias are such good do-ers, are they not? And you have paired your dahliaswith such lovely roses too. I have tweaked the garden to include extra roses this year but there will be a limit to how much I can do this – and there are so many beautiful roses. You have painted a sad picture of rural France and it seems unlikely that things will improve in the near future. In the UK it is somewhat different because distances are not so great although there will inevitably be an ageing population in the most remote parts

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      You are spot on, Cathy. This is what I’ve observed in Britain. The area is so tiny. I think Americans will understand the difficulty of living in rural France better. But there are advantages as well – we really are a place apart, and actually I love that feeling of living ‘outside’. The Karma dahlias are wonderful. It is the first year Ihave grown them and hopefully there will be many more.

      Reply
  9. Kris P

    Your flowers, the dahlias in particular, are spectacular, Cathy. In contrast, the story of country areas populated largely by members of the older generation leaves me feeling melancholy. When my husband and I began looking for a home with more space to breathe, we uncovered the same dilemma as space came at the cost of access to things like local medical services. We ultimately abandoned our dream of moving far from Los Angeles, settling for a place that’s considered semi-rural but still only a 20-minute drive to the local hospital and 15 minutes from the nearest freeway. Still, many of my friends complain that I live “in the sticks.”

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Yes, it is sad Kris. I think you made a good choice, because perhaps you have the best of both worlds? Your friends should see ‘my sticks’ to understand what remote really is!

      Reply
  10. tonytomeo

    Oh, more dahlias. Are they more popular this time of year because they are more abundant? They are here. I think of them as late summer and early autumn flowers. However, If I refer to them as such, I get corrected, and reminded that they start blooming in early summer. I really do not know. It seems to me that they are at their best as summer ends.

    Reply
  11. Chloris

    Gorgeous arrangement, you have many of my favourite dahlias and roses.
    We are Francophiles and have often thought about moving to rural France, preferably somewhere with no English around, but for us I think it remains a dream. We would miss family and friends. But what excellent health care they have. A shame that people are moving away from rural France but the French seem to prefer city life.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Post author

      Hello Chloris, and many thanks for the comment. I don’t think the French prefer city life. It’s just that they understand that you have to earn money in order to live, and the cities are the only places where there are jobs. It’s incredibly expensive to be self-employed in France, so that’s an option ruled out for many. I hope Macron reforms some of the laws that punish self-employed people. This ‘punishment’ seems to be starting in Britain as well – although when I lived there it was a kinder economic climate for the person working on their own. Complicated subject! Once again, thanks for your comment.

      Reply

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