An early morning strim

mow walnut pathNot a swim. A strim.  Another super hot day ahead so I knew I had to get the toys out of the cellar ready for an early start.

And were you fast asleep anywhere on this mountain region at 755am you would have been rudely woken by the sound of the strimmer roaring into life.

And thank goodness I held off till then.  I was itching to start.  I had stupidly woken half an hour earlier than planned (a poorly closed shutter the night before meant blazing sunshine beamed into my eyes at 630am.)

So I drank an extra pot of tea and plotted my moves.  I wanted to get the grass (and nettles) behind the guest house strimmed down and then move on to the sloping bank above the courtyard. artur watering

That takes a bit of deft footwork as it’s very steep and slippery from tussocks of festuca grass. And the oaks are stubbonly small and easy to slice off in strimming haste.

So that’s where I began.  And then worked my way noisily down to the steps to the pool, along Alice’s path, Sarah’s path, and all the edges around the pool and potager in between.

It was way too noisy for Artur who kept getting displaced from his snoozing spots.  Not Happy.

But I was. I love strimming once you’ve taken the heavy machine off, and it’s all silent again.  I raked like mad and dumped all the rakings onto the eragrostis bank.

mulch eragrostisAnd then once I couldn’t cut any more grass with the strimmer, it was out with the mower.

I had brought it up from the stables the night before.

So in seconds I was up and onto the walnut path and zipping just about everywhere.

As I was cruising past the new landscape area I realised it’s going to be too steep for the grass seeds I was considering sowing.

I have banked it up a bit too high to comfortably get the mower onto it. And it’s not madly creative just sowing grass. So I have come up with Plan B.

ready for hornbeamsSo instead it will be mulched heavily to slow down the inevitable weeds.

And I think this autumn I will plant, wait for it, hornbeams. About six I think. Paced out about a metre apart.

Goodness these are workhorse trees. I must count how many I have planted in the past few years. Easily fifty of them. mulch around grasses

I mowed and mowed, all the while dreaming of where the grass cuttings would go.  Some had to go onto the area behind the soft fruit orchard.

Now that you walk past and don’t ogle at all the fruit on the bushes (I’ve harvested as much as I can) you see the gaps in the mulch behind.  So a bag of grass cuttings went there.  To Artur’s annoyance; he thought he had finally found a place in the sun to snooze undisturbed. Hah!

watering eragrostisAnd the rest went onto yet more eragrostis. I think I have enough there now.  The next bags of cuttings from any future mowings can go onto the new hedge area which I planted up this spring.

I did most of the first terrace below the road (pause while I remember to reach for my notebook and tick that chore off the list. I had forgotten to do it after I mowed) but the heat was getting rather oppressive so I stopped.

And then hid from the heat until 7pm when I ventured back out to mulch with my newly purchased sacks of compost.

I had forgotten to mention that. I ducked down to town a few hours later than I planned as our electrician came by and I had to be sparky’s mate for almsot two hours testing wires and generally entertaining poor Pierrot as he patched and mended as best he could in our fuse box. (Don’t get me started. I’m like M. Bois and his tomatoes when it comes to this farmhouse and the electricity supply problems.) mulch in potager

Supermarket shopping is never fun, but I went by the cut price supermarket further up the Rhone valley and found they had their 50 litre sacks of cheap compost on a pallet by the cashiers.

Yippeee.  And even a bemused employee happy to help me load up the car with ten sacks. (What on earth do you do with this stuff? Obviously not a gardener with 100 square metres of vegetable garden and a serious weed potential.)

9pm mulch of potagerI love this smothering ground cover.  Perfect for the potager beds which had a few bald patches from harvesting of the broad beans and peas.

And I even had four sacks left over to mulch the beds on the steep bank behind the potting shed.

Here is the potager at 9pm when I finally finished. That was what I call a long, long day.