Helping hands

low wall rocksThis is a little photo essay on the wonderful two days of work that Nicolas put in this month.   I claim to do this garden and farm all by myself; but one or two days a month I get to hire the local nurseryman Nicolas to come and do hefty things and create walls.   The look of the entire area would have taken years longer if I’d done it myself. I love the instant changes that occur.

In just one day Nicolas has built me a small retaining wall above the calabert garden that will absorb the water from the terraces above and make a nice aesthetic back drop for the plants. second coat

Nicolas wall buildingI asked for small and then wandered over (I was doing the second coat on the potting shed) and found a trench that would have made the fox hole diggers in the Battle of the Bulge proud.   But fear not he cried. Well, he’s too cool to do that, but I was placated. A wide trench to fit in lots of small stones to absorb the run off was all he was doing.   The actual wall was only to be 20 to 30 centimetres high and wide.

calabert wall viewAnd by the end of the day it was done.   All neat and tidy and practical.   He even started in on the mystery steps that biscect this garden.

I don’t know who built them; but they must have been handsome once (in that quaint hand made Ardeche sort of way) but right now they were a bramble holder and buried under years of weeds. Dare I show the before shot? Here it is. before calabert steps

But with a lot of heaving up came the brambles and we even found the original pavings underneath. Lovely. And now I will be able to walk up them to get to the top part of the farm.

20 steps cleared of bramblesNicolas had to do a spot of creative paving work to link up the missing stones: washed away perhaps.   But now I have a clean slate.

I don’t know how long they will last in this weed free state, but for now it looks gorgeous and more typical of a landscaped garden.   It has taken a few years; but now I feel that most of the garden is now in the right shape.   Walls have been rebuilt where they fell down, steps created where needed, and I can almost imagine the plants growing and thriving and not choking on brambles and misplaced stones.  Rocks on steps