Flower power

Oof, good to be able to sit down at last. Beer tastes so much better when you have had a hard day’s toil. More vineyard work today. I didn’t manage more than two rows but I’m more than halfway so that’s encouraging. Mighty tedious work. I have a new respect for vignerons.

But the theme of the day was the mighty Verbascum. I seemed to spend most of the time either strimming the wild ones (huge triffid like yellow things that are peppered throughout every terrace of our land) or potting up the new ones. Verbascum Aaron mix was what I sowed back in march and blow me if they didn’t all germinate. So like a good new gardener, I potted them up and grew them on. And now there are 45 plants out in the new flower garden and they need to thrive. They have the elements and the deer to avoid. And the weather.

We have had the most wonderful soaking rain each evening for a week. What’s the bet it stops now and everything gets parched and desiccated. Nicolas has promised to swing by and do a bit of watering, but it’s a nervous time for this first time gardener. Well, first time for flowers in quantities. I have moved every single seed tray out of the shed and into the elements. They stand a better chance out there than baking indoors in the potting shed. I hate having to go away for two weeks. This is that amazing time of the year when things seem to grow before your every eyes.

The weeds certainly do. Strimming is fine with our mighty new Stihl; you don’t even have to kill yourself getting it started. One good pull and off it purrs. Today’s fun was to finish all the little bits I missed near the vegetable gardens, and make some paths through the flower meadows.

Oh yes, we are going for meadows. For the simple expedient that it’s damn hard work mowing 10 acres of grass. So paths through the weeds (sorry, wildflowers) it is. The hardest part is the raking afterwards. Too tedious for words. Is there any chance we can get a mower with a grass catcher attachment on the back? It would save hours every time.

I even resorted to using the car boot as a large wheelbarrow to help pick up the grass cuttings on the top road first thing this morning. Luckily Jean Daniel didn’t speed past as I was ankle deep in piles of cuttings. Easier to rake everything onto the road and then pick up later.

The property was buzzing with people today. Bernard finishing the carpentry in the new bathroom, and Nicolas and Simon doing rock work. Will we have enough to finish the bottom wall? I hope so. They are so desperate for stones that they are cannibalising the absolutely lowest terrace just near the vines. The rest of the terraces have been picked clean. Makes strimming easy I must say. No jagging the strimmer cord in stones as you swoop along the grass.

Pickings from the vegetable garden finished off the day. Lovely strawberries for dessert, first mangetout peas (not many, but enough to feel the pea season has kicked off) and juicy salads. Hopefully when I come back in June everything else will be roaring away. And I can take back an armful of flowers. Snowballs from the viburnum are so abundant that the branches are groaning under their weight. The white lilac across the path is a damp squib. Few flowers and over already. And the Deutzia is sulking. It if flowers at all I will be amazed. It’s due for a mighty prune in July. And I threaten to be a brute.