Blade day

living room finishedI have been neglectful. Of the garden and this blog.   But very productive indoors with painting and adding coats of protective sealant to new ensuite bathroom.   And with great care and attention I have painted our new swanky fireplace and living room wall.

And I had a day where Manu put his electrician’s hat on and did a full on lights, fuses, new plugs, new light shades all over the two houses and outdoors in the bread oven and calabert.   And he finished off with a mighty drilling for my new wall hangings in the gite.   Swanky too.   But don’t look too carefully, they aren’t finished. I need a rainy day indoors to get the sewing done and take a few inches off the width of the coloured one.wall hanging gite

wall hanging gite colourAnd then there was entertaining. I actually spent time around the pool chatting with Leslie and friends and being lazy.   So to make up for idleness I decided to do the most important task I have been avoiding for months. Chipping.

cleared sticksOh yes, that humungous pile of sticks at our parking area has finally gone.   So funny to think that a bare bit of ground is my favourite gardening photo today.   But here it is.

It felt like I was chipping all day, but I actually managed to get in a few hours of watering first. And while I was working my blades in the east garden, Nicolas had a few hours of his own sharp scythe to do.

Strimming the nasty bits.   I can’t manage the steepest of our terraces, and the brambles that grow out of the rocks on the paths above the road. So in no time at all the first terrace below the road is now a dream of neatness and a delight to behold. strimmed first terrace

quince bank strimmedHe also did the quince bank in the east garden which I can’t reach. Well, I could, but I’d probably plummet half way through strimming and end up in a heap at the bottom among the quince trees. With a whirring sharp machine in my hands.

While I was in my corner working through the pile of sticks (higher than I am) I couldn’t help but look pensively at that huge philadelphus shrub that is at the entrance to the house. It is way out of proportion to the lilac beside it and masks the beautiful holm oak behind. before deutsia

So once Nicolas staggered back (warm day) from the strimming I asked him to reduce the height and girth of the tree. He gave me that look which says  ‘the client is barking mad’, but I can do without it shading out the plants in the lilac bed below.   And two weeks of flowers don’t work hard enough to give me 50 weeks of too much shade.   So I ended up with an even greater pile of sticks and branches to chip. deutsia tamed

after deutsiaBut that’s okay. I’m happy now. And naturally I then sent him off to the rose in the courtyard which I inherited and have been glaring at for four years now.

It’s the wrong colour, doesn’t have any scent, has flowers which flop as soon as you try and put them in a vase, too many thorns, and is in the wrong place.   I received another raised eyebrow from the blade wielder, but he cut it out. Hurrah.

Isn’t if funny how one has to justify cutting out inherited plants.   You take on a garden and then are fearful of making radical changes.   Or feel guilty about removing things which have grown for years.   But I don’t feel any guilt about this one.   There is a magnificent stipa gigantea in front of it, and I’d rather it be the plant of honour in this corner now. removed rose

The next person can replant a rose.

pannicum bed mulchedI had sacks and sacks of lovely chipped sticks to spread over the garden now.   And twinkled up to the pannicum bed and mulched like mad.   This is a great success (to my eyes) in a small bed – pannicums, bulbs, flowers.   So now it has been complete with a good thick mulch.

And then I added a good thick covering to my newest bed: the sage and stachys bed that flows on from the courtyard up the walnut path all along the edge of the barn. mulched walnut path

This is a tricky spot as it faces north, but it hot and dry at the same time.   So I have spent zilch on plants in case they all die from exhaustion, starvation or thirst. Instead it’s all stachys grown from one packet of seed and propagated purple sage cuttings. It now looks neat.

path to shedThe rest of the mulch went on the edges of the newly improved path up to the potting shed. I forgot to mention that. It has always been a goat track (what they call them here) for ever. And the path from the barn to the chicken shed in the Reinhart’s day.   It was a bit narrow, wonky and full of rocky stones. No fun to wheel a heavy load of stuff along. But now it is wider and smoother and a joy to walk and wheel on. path from shed

It is a path I walk up about twenty times a day and for ages now I have been thinking it really needs to be sorted out.   And that was the reason I actually booked Nicolas to come and work this month.   He broke up the stones, removed some of the mini boulders, and widened and flattened the rest.

So lots of achievements for four hours of Nicolas’s time.   Every two months I come up with these such projects for the landscape gardener and splash out.   But I don’t think I have any new projects for this year.   I just need to take endless cuttings of the santolina and gaura to make new plants for new areas. flowering santolina baby

I was looking down from our bedroom last night (closing the shutters) and thought, wouldn’t that be great if I planted a mass of santolinas there.   That way I could look down on the olive trees and the bank and not see weeds. But a lovely mass planting of these sun loving, drought loving beauties.

calabert bed julyThe cuttings will come from the plants in the calabert garden.   It is putting on good growth. But it’s funny it’s a bit of a cheat. On the top layer you have last year’s plantings of eragrostis curvula (from seed) and gaura plants (from cuttings).   They are all billowing and dramatic.   But the real work is taking place on the ground level.   That’s where the 55 shrubs are working hard to impress: the santolinas, lavenders, cistus, caryopertis, agapanthus, and all the rest of the Filippi plants.   They are too small to stand on their own as a garden display this year.   But next year I will take out most of the eragrostis and maybe move the gaura too. gaura close up

Enough. Tired. Tomorrow I have a whole day of potting shed work and weeding. A reward from doing all the mighty chipping.