Extreme top dressing

thyme bankTough times call for tough measures. That was what I was thinking as I tucked into my breakfast eclair au chocolat early this morning. Heavenly.

I had to go up to town to drop off my car at the garage and buy some supplies. Funny how bread and water was on my list; but the patisserie purchase didn’t quite go with the austerity sound of the first two items.

But hey. It was freezing cold, I’m a bit miserable and the illicit treat worked.

I bounced back to the building site and disaster area that is our farm and set to work.

I seem to be channelling the mass planting of cistus at Valence TGV train station with this planting scheme.

But here are the thyme plants packed into what was last week a flood ravaged gully. With a wooden fence at the bottom and at the top. I must try and take different pictures for the before and after shots. But the sun was shining too brightly today and the thyme plants looked dappled.

Complaining about the sun? Bad sign. damaged edge of orchard

It was cold today – only 6C when I started retrieving the strawberries that are lying precariously on the edge of the orchard.

This is actually the hardest part of the damage we need to fix. I’ve lost about four feet of garden all along the length of the orchard.  And it’s going to make harvesting all the soft fruit in spring almost impossible.

Or it will take a bit of abseiling to get to the back of the shrubs.

You can see the strawberries just clinging onto the edge of the drop.

Bernard and Manu have toiled another day inside the swimming pool and are pulling out endless loads of soil.  Today’s haul has been redirected to the sides of this orchard so I can hopefully add it to the edge (if the bulldozer men can get some boulders back in place).

pathBut no use moping. I decided to rake all the topsoil that had fallen onto the path in the potager.  Talk about extreme top dressing.

A lot of people choose this time of year to brush sand onto their lawns to add some grit and help with the drainage.  And then sweep vigorously to spread it around and into the spiked drainage holes they have made.

I have no time for that sort of leisurely and orderly activity. Instead, I was just picking up the soil with a trowel and then raking like mad.

Still it did the trick and then I hit upon a mad scheme. mowing the lawn

What one thing would cheer me up? Apart from another eclair au chocolat.  I decided to reclaim some part of the garden by gettng the mower out.

And I mowed the lawns. Such a tonic.

mown orchard and trackThe orchard on the lower terrace, bits of lawn around the fallen wall, the track up to the two sides of the pool. And the pool garden lawn.  Plus the path I just raked and scoured and the fetching bit of lawn in front of the house.

I couldn’t mow the duck pond garden as the chestnut nets are still up. But the ground is so soft I would probably get the mower bogged and then break down in heaving sobs.

So instead I worked my way in front of the house.  I skirted around the fallen plum tree branch that I haven’t had time to saw into bits.  And also Etienne who was busy digging a big hole and making a mighty mess in front of the house where the exit pipes are to go for the new bathroom. last flowers

It felt great to be actually having a walk and doing something useful at the same time.

And then to finish the day I actually picked a bunch of flowers for my friend at the market.

It’s a bit of a mixed bunch – cosmos, dahlias, tithonia, zinnias and calendulas. Plus some nice flowering grasses from the pannicum. It will do.