I was going to give you an update on my wrist problem, but decided a trip to someplace warmer would be more therapeutic for all of us. Armchair traveling par excellence. I just discovered, thanks to Jane Perrone of Horticultural, a number of non-English-speaking garden blogs from sunnier climes. Un jardin habité is a garden blog written in French about a Portuguese garden, where “plants grow 365 days a year and there are 365 days a year of pure pleasure.” There are a few posts translated into English, but I found it very enjoyable to find the familiar in a foreign language–everything from Syndiquez ce site (it’s a Typepad blog and has the same fonts and everything) to le pyracantha orange. While you’re there, why not also check out Les portraits au pastel du XVIIIe for your cultural enlightenment and top it off with a feast for the eyes.
Next stop on our garden getaway is Le jardin de Sophie, which, according to Un jardin habité is “pas loin d’ici.” Sophie likes her flowers, and I made headway on her blog more on the strength of my botanical Latin than my French. From Sophie’s I ventured forth to J’ai descendu dans mon jardin, which had great images but much less decipherable (for me) French. Oh well.
Also via Sophie, I stumbled upon Banlieusardises, which, if its own translation is accurate, means “Suburblicious.” Unfortunately, the English version only gives you selected posts from the French. A pity, because this site looks like a really wacky take on Martha Stewart et. al. Besides the Jardinage section, there is Soins (which literally translates as “cares,” but which we would be more likely to call “Beauty”), Délices, Loisirs (literally “leisures,” but we would say hobbies), and–a topic dear to my heart–Maternité. Mais oui! It turns out Martine the commuter is expecting her first this spring, and we’re just about neighbors! All right, all right, she lives in Quebec, but that’s a heck of a lot closer than Portugal, n’est pas?
Well, that’s all the armchair traveling I had time for, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t rely on my three-years-of-high-school and one-year-of-college French for my trip tonight. I had some online help. Try Lycos’ translation service or Alta Vista’s Babelfish. Be forewarned: you are not going to get a perfect translation, especially with things horticultural. For example both translation sites rendered a line from Sophie’s Garden as “Some 200 thoughts wait March to be replanted outside.” Unless you know that “pensées” not only means “thoughts” but also is the word for “pansies”, that translation is not going to be much help to you. But you can get the gist of what is being said, even if it won’t be perfect. Bon voyage!