Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sunflowers in Provence

Shirley's three favorite things about summertime in Provence are lavender, coquelicots (poppies) and sunflowers, especially when we come upon them unexpectedly in large fields along the back roads. Shirley loves flowers and is forever on the lookout for these and other flowers, flowering shrubs and vines wherever we go in Provence.

Unfortunately due to work demands, Shirley was not able to spend time in Provence this summer. So I made a special effort to look for and take pictures of as many fields of lavender, sunflowers, and coquelicots as I could find. I was there at the perfect time when all three were in bloom. Shirley, this post is for you.

For those of you who don't know, sunflowers, known in France as tournesol, are an annual plant, native to the Americas, first domesticated in present day Mexico. Sunflowers possess a large flowering head. The sunflower is named after its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun.

The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of many individual flowers which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds, on a receptacle base. From the Americas, sunflower seeds were brought to Spain in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient.

This field of sunflowers was off the old road to Orange. I have not yet found a place where there are both sunflowers and lavender planted in such a way that you can get pictures of both. If anyone knows where I can find this in Provence, please let me know. I will put it on my list of places to go visit when we are in Provence next summer.

I have a long list of favorite things about summertime in Provence. What are your favorite things? Tell me in a comment below. Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt. Have a great day, chat soon!


  1. Beautiful photos, we are surrounded by sunflowers at the moment, the countryside is just stunning and covered in yellow. I am sorry that Shirley missed the visit during this time of the year. Keep well Diane

  2. Best things of summer in Provence? Tomatoes fresh from my potager, long balmy nights with friends around a pitcher of icecold rosé wine, having a swim first thing in the morning.

  3. A walk early morning

    the sun, the light, the air (warm)

  4. Diane - Shirley was sort of ok when I left for Provence but when she saw my pictures and heard my stories, she was really upset she didn't get to go.

    Barbara - I would include chilled rosé as one of the best things about summer in Provence, although I enjoy it here in California too.

    Greyman - Thanks for checking out my blog and for leaving a comment. I would agree that the sun and especially the light, the luminescence in Provence is very special.