Tuesday 19 July 2011


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It's three weeks since we posted an article on our Blog and over a month since we started to move house for the second time in just over a year.  Now we've moved ourselves, business, cat and everything else into a new rented house on the edge of Chatillon-en-Diois about 16 Km from Die.  It's a lovely spot at the foot of Glandasse at the southern tip of the Vercors Plateau.

We passed the last 14 months trying to get a house built in St. Roman, about 4 Km from here.  For reasons too tedious and annoying  to go into in detail, though eventually practical, we don't think we will be building ourselves a house and hope to be contented tenants here for the forseeable future.  It's not what we intended, certainly not what we planned and not something that we imagined we would like very much.  Circumstances drove us this way yet we rather like the environment and situation we find ourselves in.  We think we can flourish here though we never imagined that it would suit us at all.

On that subject, the plant kingdom does remarkably well, even when the seed falls in an apparently impossible, even hostile, place.  Deserts bloom after years lying barren.  Plants survive in salt pans, quickly colonise lava and decorate impossible mountain tops and cliff faces.  We've been thinking back to a few of the persevering plants that have caught our eye, most of them not just persevering but apparently thriving.  Alas, we're still trying to identify a number of these  -  positive botanic feedback would be appreciated.

Just outside Die on the path climbing to the Croix de Justin.  Could be a huge plant growing on a mountain ledge.  This delicate plant is in reality very small and is, as yet, unidentified by us.

We haven't even started to try to identify grasses.  This splendid tuft was growing in isolation on scree beside the path along the Balcons de Glandasse.

Corsican trees thrive in adversity.  We saw these Laricio Pines at Bavella a few years ago, not merely apparently growing straight out of the startlingly colourful rock but playing their part in creating magnificent landscapes and silhouettes.

The most delicate of flowers colonise hostile environments.  The first of these three, Primula Latifolia, was the only plant growing in a massive vitrified rock face in the Vallee des Merveilles in the Mercantour.  The second, Cerastium Lineare, was growing in dried out clay which, after rain, turns impossibly sticky and slimey and won't even support a boot sole.  The third, which has made an appearance in a previous blog, is Primula Vulgaris, growing out of a rock fall not so far from Chatillon.
Quite a while ago, we saw these trees growing out of a hillside of chalky clay on the Catalan side of the Pyrenees.  How do these trees manage when even the grass is struggling.