Lunch time entertainment

I sat eating a mozarella and tomato salad at the outdoor table this afternoon; watching the cabbage moth butterflies attempting to lay their eggs on the cabbage plants.   But luckily all my cabbage net cloches seem to be doing their trick.   I have a perfect view of the vegetables from the table.

I do feel slightly sorry for the butterflies, but I care more about my cabbages.   And they seem safe.

This morning started with the usual task of watering. We did actually have 8mm of water from a rather surprising 3am thunder storm overnight.   Jean Daniel lost his modem as he didn’t leap up and unplug as I did. But it was a close run thing.

But the courgettes are just starting to fruit so they need a good soak.   And it was a way to visit the rest of the vegetable garden in a good light.   My cucumbers are fantastic; but need more staking.   The poppies are over and I can yank them out and give more room to the spinach.

And I can see that the broad beans need to come out.


And an hour later I have a good harvest; not as many as I would wish. But that’s gardening.   And I am starting to get some good long little green beans.   Salad nicoise tonight. Hurrah.

I was sitting here at my desk earlier looking over the lower terraces and I spied a flowering verbascum. Horrors.   So one of my morning jobs was to stalk down to the lower terraces and hunt them down.

I had a good haul of half a dozen flowering plants. They were chopped down, bagged and then carefully dumped into the rubbish bin. Someone else can have the seeds.

I stayed in for a mid afternoon pause to shell beans and watch a spot of Wimbledon. But the lure of the weeds called me out.

I had to get a handle on the plum garden. I didn’t cover any of the little bank between the two beds with weed proof fabric. And the weeds almost defeated the plants.

Somewhere in here were over 40 thyme plants and half a dozen perovskias and rosemaries.

But it took almost an hour of yanking and ripping to find them. I really must do something here. Because it’s a fantastic bed with plenty of room for more exciting plants.   And I think a bit more mulch might be in order. If I ever get to a plant nursery in the next week.

I’m happy with the results.   And took three loads of wildflowers, brambles and other exciting green things to the compost heap at the end of the stables.

It did mean that I had to walk past the orchard three times and that meant there was no hiding from the sad and bitter truth.   My fruit trees are not happy.

Most of the apricots and peaches have peach leaf curl; and one of the apples looks like it has died in the past week.

Dying leaves, drooping limbs; very sorry indeed.   I have no idea why.   What has changed over the past week or month?  We’ve had more than average rainfall.   There are fruit galore on the tree.   But I’ve done what I could. I have pruned away most of the dead branches. Fed and then given all the trees a really good water.

I didn’t dare take any picture in case it puts you off your food. Well, okay. For the record.

To cheer myself up, I went up to the top potager and dug up a few kilos of spuds.   And to my surprise and delight, Artur turned up. Boy does he look poorly. Purring and happy to see me, but his coat is a mess, he is scrawny and he is moulting. I must speak to Jean Daniel about worm tablets.  Â  But I’m just so relieved to see him.

I was pining for him all day. It’s not often that he doess’t turn up two days in a row. But hopefully he will be more present in my gardening life from now on.

Tonight’s dinner: my first salad nicoise of the season. Apart from the tuna, the anchovy olives and the neighbour’s eggs. It’s all my own work.