Ruth Phillips

Ruth Phillips, cellist, writer. Taken March 18, 2013.

Ruth Phillips, cellist, writer. Taken March 18, 2013.

It was early spring 2008, a year after Lucien Chauvet’s death. Along the length of the house now ran four wooden boxes in which grew the beginnings of four varieties of tomato. There were aubergines. There were salad leaves, chard and rocket, turnips and beets. A Sicilian gourd reached upward with its first rampant tendrils. Potatoes were planned, naturally. Every square of growth was punctuated with an organic insect repellent or bee attractor such as rosemary or marigold, and the vegetables were arranged in happy families. Carrots that loved tomatoes, tomatoes that loved basil, radishes that loved mustard and redwort pigweed. Julian tapped a packet and three seeds plopped into his hand. He took a pencil and created an indent for them in a pot the size of an egg cup. He let the seeds drop. He placed earth on top of them, sprinkled fine sand over them, and watered them from a great height. Next, he transplanted a row of lettuces, gathering earth around the seedlings as lovingly as if he were tucking a child in to a bed. Then, looking as smitten with the yellow blooms as he ever had been with me, he picked four Lady Banks roses from the bush and walked them toward the studio.

Ruth Phillips – Cherries from Chauvet's Orchard: A Memoir of Provence.

Tim McLaughlin

Photographer and writer based in Vancouver, Canada