But first the jungle. It has rained almost non stop for two weeks and I swear most things have grown a foot in that time. The broad beans and peas are a foot higher than when I left them. And so too the weeds in between. there is a carpet of weed trying to mimic the new grassy neighbour of lawn.
Where to start? First went up to the nascent flower garden to inspect the water logging. And it was as I had feared. The borlotti beans are a write off, and the cleomes are only just clinging on to life. Lots of other seedlings are soggy, and I can’t even recognise what is in some of the pots. First chance of spare time I need to get sowing again.
But things are rather the opposite in the herb garden: what a lot of growth. That will teach me to try and mimic planting designs I read about in creative vegetable gardening tomes. All those sage plants and thyme and artichokes. No-one warned me that sage will do what all plants do. They will try to flower. So I am the proud possessor of enormously tall sage plants which are throwing flower heads all over the beds and positively ruining my gorgeously ordered display. Do I let them seed? Do I trim them down to perfect size? I just do not know. So I distractedly pulled off the tallest (and we are talking feet of height here) flower spikes and went in to breakfast.
Refreshed but still undecided it was time to have a walk around the curtileges and polices with Jan. She has seen some mighty changes in the six months since her last visit. And I don’t just mean the weeds. The water is overflowing everywhere;. and the potatoes need not so much an earthing up as an earth transplant. So high.
Must attend to top potager once we have wrestled the vegetables away from the choking weeds in the lower one once we had taken a walk down to the vineyard, the limit of the gardening projects on the lower terrace. The land drops further down below the road, but as it is even more of a jungle of brambles and self sown cherry and elderflower trees it’s best not even to contemplate what has to be done down there.
Jan worked her magic on the mighty strawberry bed. And not knowing where to start I just went at the closest bits to the path and sat down and pulled weeds out within reach. Dark mutterings of weed-proof fabric could be heard as we worked out way in the warm Ardeche sunshine. And what do you know it, five hours passes by and it’s almost done. The weeds were going to the compost bin but in this era of abundance, even the bins were filling fast.
So fast that I knew I had to put all the lovely compost (only a sad gardener would call it lovely) onto the vegetable beds as a mulch and free up some space. So heave ho, on with the bucket and spade and the vegetable garden (well the brassica bit) is now a bit more smothered. and who knows; maybe I won’t be spending a whole day next month trying to smother yet more weeds.
Now back inside I have time to collect thought and write up a task list of what we need to to this week:
Finish the weeding on the onion bed.
Strim the rest.
Weed the top vegetable garden
Sow more seeds in the potting shed
Buy more honey from our beekeeper to keep all the new Tony honey addicts at bay
Buy some mighty pruning shears and cut back the lilac and viburnum
Prune the path of low chestnut and oak branches on the way to the vineyard
Stifling a yawn. It’s late this list will go on forever. Better to get some sleep and power up for the next days tasks.