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All images are from July 2014, Francheville, France.

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I have never seen so many snails in my life, but then again, I’ve never experienced spring in France before either. More precisely, the little dudes running amok (as much as a mollusk can be said to “run”) are terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusks–but let’s just call them escargot. *and friends (other species are also represented …

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One of my favorite aspects of my birthday is that, at least in temperate zones, June strawberries are usually ripe right around the time I celebrate. According to Wikipedia, garden strawberries were first grown in France, though wild cousins have been around (and appreciated) for ages.

Personally, as much as I love strawberries to eat, it’s the plant that really captivates me. Strawberry plant leaves are broad and not at all delicate. They serve as effective hideaways for the lovely blossoms which later yield the strawberries themselves. The whole process seems coyly done, covert.

Here, a vast expanse of strawberry plants at the Oxford Botanic Garden. More on that garden soon. If you happen to be living in or visiting Oxford, I highly recommend a visit. In the meantime, here’s a preview…

strawberry