In the garden / A l’òrt
The geographical location of each village determines the places suitable for developing the gardens: close to the houses or on the banks of the river where the besal (canal pound, irrigation system) was used to supply the village with the water necessary for watering the gardens. This was done using the techniques and respecting the distribution quota of yore. A hedge was grown to offer shelter from the wind, a shed was built where the tools were kept (l’aissada, lo bigòs, lo rastèl, lo palabés, l’asagador), sometimes a birdcage or a rabbit hutch. Gardeners check calendars, refer to the saints, study the evolution of the moon in order to plant their seeds at the most appropriate time. In Durban-Corbières, the Maison botanique (Botanical House), will welcome you during the summer months for visits and events on the subject of wild and domestic species of plants. You will learn more about the secret life of the Mediterranean garrigue plant kingdom.
The garden, providing households with their own vegetables, is well cared for on a near daily basis: weeding or removing insects or other animals potentially harmful for the crops. The gardens are drawn according to square geometry, rope is used to sow in straight lines, some espaurugal or other is used to scare away the birds (or serve as their perch) – these are often replaced, in a far less poetic way, by CD’s dangling from the branches of the trees … Some flowers are also planted to brighten things up.
E cadun e caduna will produce sas patanas, sas favas, sos favòls e sas mongetas, sas tomatas, sas ensaladas, sas cebas e sos pòrres, l’alh e lo jalverd, sos viet-d’ase e sas cogordetas, sos naps e sos rafes, sas carròtas e sos caulets, sas cojas (que siague mai gròssa que la del vesin !) ; but also the fruits : las majofas (strawberries) and those grown on the fruit trees : cerièr (cherry tree), pomièr (apple tree), perièr (pear tree), perseguièr (peach tree), etc.
Different kinds of flowers (roses/ròsas, lilacs/lillac, tulips/tolipas, elder/sambuc, iris/cotèla, gladiolus/glaujòl, peony/pivèna, etc.) brighten up the flowerbeds and the hedges are the pride of the gardeners, especially the women amongst them.
After being neglected for some time, gardening has clearly been put back on the agenda these past few years, with a great many newcomers looking for plots of land to grow local products and put some of lo país dins la sieta and renew with a healthy and savoury diet in which fruit and vegetables are eaten at full maturity.
We also suggest you pay two more or less unusual visits related to gardening. First of all, Villerouge-Termenès with its jardin des simples (medicinal plant garden) created right next to the town square. Here, you will find all the essences required to treat diseases and heal people during the Middle Ages: thyme, sage, balm, lavender, etc.
In Rouffiac-des-Corbières, you will be surprised by the Zen atmosphere which reigns in the Centre de bonsai des Corbières. Alain Blervaque will explain to you how he goes about choosing atypical trees in the garrigue, then transforming them into real bonsai with lots of patience and devotion.