Whimsy and Water in Provencal Gardens

There are whimsical surprises around every corner in Provence. Medieval towns had drinking fountains and they are still gathering spots today.

This variation of a white picket gate would work in many small gardens.

This variation of a white picket gate would work in many small gardens.

This gate creates a feeling that something different awaits you behind this gate. Entrances to gardens are often overlooked, but they can really set a feel for the space beyond.

This style of fountain must have been all the rage in it's day.

This style of fountain must have been all the rage in it’s day.

Fountains similar to this seemed to be in every small village in Provence. These were places to get water for the house in the past. On this day it was definitely a hit with these kids.

A not so ordinary mailbox with a playful kitty daring you to put the mail in.

A not so ordinary mailbox with a playful kitty daring you to put the mail in.

No room for a vine? how about a faux vine? The French love of art is apparent everywhere in Provence.

Different town, same fountain.

Different town, same fountain.

Was there a fountain franchise? Mass production? Church approval? Don’t know.

No room for a real tree? Then we'll make one.

No room for a real tree? Then we’ll make one.

Those are colored soaps, it was a soap shop. I’m betting there was something growing there in the past and they removed it to renovate the stone work. If you live in a place that is hundreds of years old, plants can become a problem.

 No really, it's a different village.

No really, it’s a different village.

Remember, this was your water supply. If the design worked well, why not use it again.

 This is in the area that is famous for its Mistral winds, having experienced them I can attest to their ferocity.

This is in the area that is famous for its Mistral winds, having experienced them I can attest to their ferocity.

The Mistral wind is similar to the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. The scrolling in this iron work evokes the wind bending branches, the grapes just hanging on and the snail looking for cover. Or is the snail heading over to eat the grapes?

Finally a different fountain!

Finally a different fountain!

But you don’t want to drink from it, non-potable. I’m sticking to the tried but true.

Yes, the ubiquitous Cigale or Cicada.

Yes, the ubiquitous Cigale or Cicada.

Cigale images are everywhere, pottery, tableware, tablecloths, souvenirs, etc. In the summer, the sound of the Cicadas is there to remind you it’s hot outside. Anyway, I found this iron Cigale very appealing.

Obviously a very different fountain from a different time built for a different reason.

Obviously a very different fountain from a different time built for a different reason.

What can you say, those people in Aix had all the money, no drinking fountains here. The point being that fountains add allot of sight, sound and feel to a landscape. If you are going for grandiose, have the right setting for it, like this one does. So many times I see fountains that don’t match anything about the architecture of a home or the style of the garden.

Guard kitty, not quite sure of me, but with a little petting he came around.

Guard kitty, not quite sure of me, but with a little petting he came around.

 Dog Guide...hey you, for a bite of your sandwich I'll give you the tour.. . and he did!

Dog Guide…hey you, for a bite of your sandwich I’ll give you the tour.. . and he did!

Just go and see for yourself, no guide needed!

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