Calm after the storm

Well that’s a relief. The rain gave up, everything is sodden, but at least the sun is shining. I have a task list that goes over two pages, but can’t do it all. So I shall start with the courtyard projects and then range up into the woods.

First job was to give in and plant ivy. Which is about as mad as wanting to put back verbascums or plant elderflowers on this property. We have more than enough ivy climbing where it isn’t intended. But the trough just cries out for a makeover. After a year and a half it isn’t getting any prettier. So out of the London bag comes five little variegated ivy plants. With luck they will cover this over-restored classic of the Ardeche courtyard, and I will be able to keep it in check when it eventually reaches the top.

Just beside the trough is a very fetching rock (about the size of a small bus) and then the dreaded rose. An eyesore. It is about to be disguised by a giant stipa grass that I want to plant in front. This gravel courtyard will eventually be a gravel garden and this is the first grass planted in a determined effort to improve.

It looks a bit stark right now. But give it time, and a few stipas around it and we shall see.

Another courtyard job was to remove the mint from the large planter (we call it the mint prison as it actually keeps this rampant creeper from escaping all over the path). The mint is now in pots in the shed for the winter. And in its place goes about fifty tulips. All white, and all fun to plant. Can’t wait to see if they come up and thrive. We don’t have squirrel problems here, but who knows may feast on these underground carbohydrate bombs?

No rest for the decorative, it was time to go up to the forest and bring down some wood for the fire. It isn’t really hard work, but repetitive and rather painful on the sciatica, but so satisfying first when you get them wood down to the launch pad just above the potager. And then when you can whip out your camera and take a picture of the mighty pile sitting waiting for a lift in a wheelbarrow down to the shed.