Paris Tango

A teacher I know gave me a copy to read of her favourite French book called Paris Tango by Carla Coulson. It’s a visual feast of beautiful photos that Carla captured while moving to Paris. It’s a book about beauty and the finer things of life.


Carla says that she felt like Alice stepping into Wonderland. A new adventure, betwitching and enchanting – as a photographer discovering romance and charm in every street. Carla takes us into studios, workshops, introducing the perfumers, architects, couturiers and artists.

In the chapter on gardens, I want to share with you about the romance of flowers.

“Parisians scent the air with little bunches of orange and white lilacs, melon and leather, musk and vanilla, bergamot and cinnamon.” It’s the unexpected beauty of roses mixed with mint that Carla mentions. She loves to combine all sorts of fruit, seed pods, exotic bark, stones, crystals, mint, basil and coriander..something that adds a surprise.

I love my garden in Mapleton – the cascade of colour, smells and textures. I step into the garden and feel immediately relaxed and tranquil. It’s a place of beauty and surprise. I have even developed a French country sign post that points to different parts of the garden.


There’s the scent of lavender, jasmine, lemon balm and rosemary. Le Jardin is a place where family and friends gather and enjoy a meal. A rustic table and chair set the scene for a glass of champagne and a beautiful view tops it off. In the cool of the evening as the sky turns a soft pink, the black cockatoos fly across the sky to sit in the tall trees.

What flowers suggest romance to you? Where in your garden could you create a romantic vista?

I am also reminded of my childhood garden or backyard with the mango tree, veges that Dad proudly grew and the chook shed. At Graceville in Brisbane my brother Jim and sister Kim and I played  on the swings, rode our bicycles and chased each other past the hydrangeas and hibiscus hedges. Dad was always proud of his strawberries and plants saying to me, ” I talk to them”. I will be forever happy in a garden. It was a simple space that took us away from the noise of television and homework inside. As Carla Coulson says in Paris Tango, “our backyards exuded a heady perfume of freshly cut grass twisted with the sweetness of white gardenias and old fashioned roses. The sight of sweet peas tumbling down the length of an old paling fence is a treasured childhood memory.”

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March 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Good on you Marg…..therapeutic for the soul. The vista of our garden viewed from many vantage points brings great joy! Hard to pick favourite plants, but the perfume from our growing walkway of gardenia hedges, under planted with sun jewels and a forming overhead row of pleached tallow-woods is a winner. Second to that would be the flourishing ‘Monet’ irises in our ‘lake’ (sounds more romantic than our ‘dam’!

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    March 12, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Judy the Monet irises sound gorgeous and what better way to feel romantic than to wake up to such beauty – thank you! Marg

March 5, 2017 at 5:42 am

I’m not really a romantic person, but a garden filled with sweeping colours and fragrance appeal to me. A lonely chair amidst the greenery with a book and a cat on my lap would make for a relaxing, free hour. I remember your chooks and the cage of budgies. The game of hide and seek amongst the blue hydrangers. The game of May-I around the footpath. Things I often think back on while sitting or strolling around my own garden.

M.J. Gibbs
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