This is supposed to be about gardening

The places you find me tapping away at my laptop writing news of the garden.

This is not gardening. This is not even the Ardèche.

It is France. Just.

I usually start by calling this the road less travelled in a vain attempt to be literary and worldly wise and well-read.

In fact it’s not less travelled as this is the walk I do every July, without fail. For the last six years. So I fear it will pop up if I searched hard enough in my archives.

From Alpe d’Huez to the Col de Serenne. A road around and through the high Alps that is a glorious plod.

Glorious because it is full of fascinating peaks in the distance. With amazing Alpine wildflowers by the verges and on the steep banks beside the road.

A plod because. Well. It is.

And as this year is the first one I actually made a GPS record of the whole trip from the hotel up in the top part of the village all the way to the Col and back I can cheerfully say it is 18 kilometres round trip. (In miles? 11.)

I suspect it will be my last trek along this mountain as I accompany David for this weekend away and he has done the huge Marmotte cycle sportive every year. And he promises me it will be the last. 7500 other cyclists, four huge mountain peaks, 180kms of cycling. Battling.

Luckily we have taken to going for a high alpine walk on the first evening after dinner.

This is the glorious Alpine region called the Rif Nel. La Tourbière de Rif Nel.

No. I don’t know either. Well, the first bit I do. Tourbière is a peat bog. But the Rif Nel is just that most glorious bit of language that makes you chant it quietly under your breath and wonder if you could write historical fiction and take it up as a Nom de Plume.

I ought to have done more research on this. Or even just read the damn information board they so helpfully provided for ignos like me.

For my homework, I need to find out more.

But for now I leave you with some images of the plants I always photograph on my walk. How on earth do the centranthus ruber (pink varlerian) look so great here in this setting and not the self seeded ones in my garden?

And yes before you all leap at me, it is possible I’m not looking at what I think I have seen. Foliage looks completely different.

Thank goodness for the Wildflowers of the Alps book I have…

Left behind at the farm. Curses!

And don’t get me started trying to work out what I’m seeing here.

My ignorance of botany and plants is a never ending source of wonder.