D-day: the couriers have promised to get my mighty order of Plantagenet plants up to the farm by this afternoon. But they need to be guided in when they get close. So, as the range of the telephone only reaches the courtyard, I decided to do the furthest parts of the chores first and then mooch about the house waiting for the call in the afternoon.
I sowed two boxes of wildflower mix in the bank below the pool, and then bent down on hand and knees, shears, scissors and secateurs and tidied all the lawn edges. My, we do have a lush lawn. And the edges have been neglected. If the lawn mower doesn’t get them they are allowed to run a bit wild. So I had a mighty crop of clippings by the time I had worked my way around.
Next up was a first go at all the connectors. With a lot of help I am connected to the top potager and the water tank. But I wanted the hose to run down to the terraces below the road near the potting shed. Previous owners obviously did the same thing for their chickens. But the hose was buried under the road and it took a bit of digging to unearth the end. It was chock full of dirt. But I thumped it with a long metal rod curtesy of the wall-building detritus and even managed to get a good flow through the entire length of pipe. It was a good thing our neighbour Jean Daniel wasn’t driving by at the time – he would have found pipes snaking all over the road. The black long hose pipe is very stiff and unwieldy but we have scads of the stuff and if I managed to connect A to B then bingo – a watering system.
And it worked! Didn’t leap up and down for joy – didn’t want to scare the birds. But this means that just using the overflow from our spring I have now joined the ranks of gardeners who spend their waking hours ‘just popping out to move the hose’. Bliss.
Following this mighty engineering triumph I went in for a strong cup of tea and a few hours of indoor chores to wait for the courier’s call. But blow me – he rang at 1130am and said he was at the end of our street. Well, in Ardeche terms he was about half an hour away and needed directions. So much for a tidy house, back out I went to wait for him by the gate.
150 PENNISETUM alopecuroides Hameln
9 ASTER frikartii Wunder von staffa
5 FILIPENDULA rubra Venusta
7 CALAMAGROSTIS x acutiflora Karl foerster
2 EUPATORIUM maculatum Atropurpureum
3 RODGERSIA pinnata Superba
7 ANGELICA Vicar’s mead
9 MISCANTHUS sinensis Gracillimus
I watered them well with my new watering system, then set about setting them about. One of the eupatoriums was destined immediately for the planting scheme in the terrace bed. I was one short so the lack of symmetry was going to kill me if they all grew up. But that was rectified. And then I added a few plants to a new scheme near the steps: one eupatorium, one calamagrostis Karl foerster, three miscanthus Gracillimus and then a few Angelica Vicar’s mead. I thought that I would get something fun from them while I was waiting for the grasses to bulk out and shoot up. We shall see. It’s a rather rushed bed and needs more work. And it needs a long trunk of chestnut tree just like the ones I have now to complete the picture. But that will have to wait until June when Nicolas promises to return (note the sound of a frustrated gardener holding her breath).
I also planted Angelicas around the new Molinea that Andrew gave us near the entrance to the Calabert. I don’t want one lonely grass. And there is plenty of room there. Just had to saw some huge ivy roots first. And there is an elderflower tree in there too. I think I have finally managed to kill it. If it was left unchecked it would have shifted the entire barn with its mighty roots. But I will be vigilent as ever. Shame the leaves are so vile and pungent. I hate the smell on my gloves after I have ripped them off the trunk.
Being a tad inattentive I managed to accidentally (and lovingly) plant the Filipendula rubra Venustas in this place by mistake. There is only one label for the whole grouping of plants. So naturally I managed to pot up the ones the wrong way round. Luckily I noticed rather fast and didn’t end up with a shade-loving beast baking in the full glare of the courtyard gravel garden. The filipendulas are going to be placed around the water butts behind the potting shed. With luck and water and a bit more sun than this area received last year they may grow up and hide the vivid blue of the butts. The mighty chestnut tree has been well pruned.
The asters and the one calamagrostis went into the lilac bed: which now is complete. Can’t wait for that to show more life. I think I was going to add more rodgersias there – but now I think they can fit up in the shade garden instead. Ah the anxieties of so many plants.
And the grasses I hear you say: what about those one hundred and fifty mighty pennisetums you have neglected to mention? All this faffing about with ones and twos. What about the job? Yes. True. I have Friday and Saturday to get the beasts in. Not exactly dreading it; but it is going to take all my skills to plant them straight, weed out the dying bramble roots, not fall in the pool, and make a good stab at landscaping.