Lawn floaters

With the windows in the office wide open I can hear the persistent sounds of our newly sown lawn floating away. Yep, it’s raining again. And it may be flooding. As soon as it gets light I shall go and see if the drainage channel up above the guest house is holding up. Naturally I have left all my raincoats in the car, so it will be sporting getting up there.

I gave up at 630am this morning – there was definitely no more sleep. All night we have had thunder storms and rain so heavy that I actually could hear it indoors. And when you see how thick our walls are and how quiet it usually is indoors at night you would be amazed too. Are we in for another big flood? It’s possible. Such a shame for that beautifully sown  piano of a lawn.

Yesterday was just heaven: spent hours and hours in the potting shed. If I can read my handwriting I planted on 26 land cress seedlings, 82 mache plants, 15 early purple garlic bulbs, 22 Albigensian varieties, 6 Purple Moldovan bulbs, 9 Chesnok reds and then for an encore sowed loads and loads of sweet pea seeds. And potted on more of the nepeta six hills giants which seem to have rooted well.

I did half the Matucanas straight away in long root trainers, and soaked the other half overnight. We shall see what germinates. I seem to recall that my germinations in the spring were very erratic. Fresh seeds may be the answer. And I brought from London Kings High Scent, Fragrant Skies as well as the trusty two coloured and aromatic Matucana. I’m not sure if this picture will show up the garlic bulbs. But I bought them at the Wisley Plant Centre earlier in the week.

They proved to be very pungent varieties of autumn sowing bulbs (stinky train journey for the other passengers). If all goes well I will also buy the spring varieties from Vernoux in March and plant row upon row of garlic in both the upper and the lower vegetable beds. We eat so much garlic and I found that I had to supplement the crops from ones bought up at the Thursday market stalls. Why? Because the grand total of successful bulbs that came out of the Marsanoux potager this year was… wait for it…. three.

Now it’s after lunch and I have warmed up enough to venture out again. Once I have tried to contact the miscreant chimney sweep for the third time. He was supposed to turn up at eight this morning, but the rain has put him off. I made fig jam while I waited, so it wasn’t an entirely wasted morning indoors.

Also morning I managed to vacuum the pool, reduce the water level (which was at flood height) marvelled in that aghast way at the amount of water gushing out of the springs all over the bank. One is up just above the future little wall. That drain can’t come in soon enough. And I think we might have to consider planting rice instead of grass seeds on the margins of the piano. It’s floating.

I want to take more verbena cuttings while I can (can’t get enough of em). And do some measuring up of the garden that I have ignored all summer. My last scale plan of the garden was completed in the spring. And did I do any more? Nup. Always found chores to put it off. I don’t know why as it’s rather fun striding off with a tape measure and the long line of string. It’s marked off every five metres so I can easily stride out and count off.

From the vantage point of the new orchard (27 metres long in case you were wondering) I heard the distant clatter of hooves. And it didn’t take long for the local transport to clop into chatting range. Twas our neighbour Jean Daniel who was riding off to work on his horse. It lends a lovely bucolic air to the place. Three of his horses escaped yesterday (hard to tell which as they are all greys) and were romping about the orchard at the top of the hill. They did look like it was an awfully grand adventure. Apparently JD doesn’t have enough electric fencing to keep them in check and relies on brambles and weeds to deter them from escaping. But these are Ardeche horses, brambles don’t deter them. I didn’t get a shot of him looking up as he was too busy showing all the reigns he had collected for the escapees. And I was juggling tape measure, notepad and pencil at the same time.

Forced in at four. Soaked yet again and not ready to come indoors. But it really was raining too hard up at the top potager to continue. I cut down the asparagus, pulled up the green manure. I think I was supposed to dig it in; but I couldn’t help yanking up the monster plants. So satisfying to fill two compost bins. Here is the before and the rather shorn after.

A few too many slugs were lurking nearby which isn’t good news. They were dispatched with secateurs in a manner that had me muttering ‘all god;s creatures’ and feeling some guilt.

I forgot to bring down the radishes I have pulled up. And I ate the raspberries rather than bring them back to freeze. There are still crops on the raspberry canes. But surely the cold will stop them producing.

Right, kettle has boiled. Time to remove a third set of clothes and cram them onto the clothes rack by the fire. I shall be forced to do painting and ironing at this early close of a gardening day.