Blank canvass

Well goodbye snowy scene and hello storms. We have had days of tree bending gusts of wind that have driven us indoors and pelting rain. The beams are coming along nicely – but naturally it’s the garden that draws my interest. I don’t have any action photographs of the trees dancing in the storm. But the apple tree found itself at a rather rakish angle after all the wind died down.

At least the leaves have been ‘cleared’ from the courtyard. In fact I keep finding mulberry leaves all over the property in the most unlikely places. The rosemary bush is most decorated. And I even found them all over the shade garden. As if I didn’t have enough leaves to clear up underneath the chestnut monster. Here is the final process. Two days work but so attractive now. And full of promise. These really are blank canvasses crying out for some design and some plants.

I will take more photos when it stops raining. One things we did manage to do before the storms struck was to collect olives from the tree just in front of the house. Amazingly green. One always imagines olives to be, well olive. But these little luminous orbs are definitely off the spectrum. I will have to ask Sarah what colour they actually are. I need to soak them in brine for a few weeks, so will take them back to London with me on Saturday.

There were a few of my specialty grasses lurking under the weeds around the trial beds of the potting shed. Growing well as they have had so much water. But they are in the wrong spot. So up they came and I have dotted them around the next unstable bank that is crying out for some knitting and binding of roots. There are a few verbena bonariensis plants here on this terrace as well. Not sure how they will survive the winter, or even self sow. But it’s still an experimental part of the garden.

But the big creative part of the garden yesterday was the start of the potting shed terracing. Poor Nicolas couldn’t work on his wall as the weather was so inclement and the cement wasn’t happy. And he couldn’t make a start on the important stone steps down to the pool shed either. The ground is so sodden and shifting right now. We need a week of nice dry and lovely cool weather for more of that heavy lifting to get done. In the meantime he has made a start on the terrace. I was nearby hauling wood from the forest so had time to actually take some action photographs of the work in progress.

It’s a simple design, head up to the woods and find a good straight chestnut trunk. Drag it back. Thwack in some stakes; and then fill in the bank with some well dug soil (that was my contribution). This is a work in progress, and I will take more photographs so you can see the detail. They are actually quite large beds. So more work there then. And then the heavens opened and creative play was suspended for the day. Still managed another hour and a half of wood hauling. But that doesn’t take more than a strong back, a wheelbarrow, a raincoat and a determination to get all the wood in before dark.