Mystery bulbous bits

A day of discoveries – the rhubarb survived the winter. So too the asparagus. I was watering and cutting back the raspberries and decided to have a good rummage around the top vegetable garden and see what was alive. The cranberries are still extant. A bit wind-blown and crisp, but they relished the buckets of water I have been heaping on them today. And I counted four asparagus spears up already. Naturally they are two years away from being devoured, but it is pleasing to see them.

I had the first afternoon in the garden and just didn’t know where to look it is so vast now that the snow has gone and things are in growth. First up was a mighty watering of all parts the hose would reach. It’s mad that in this farm there is just one tap and one very very long hose. It’s weight lifting work just dragging the whole length around the lawn and edges. Naturally I understand that an indoor tap inside a basement room and fed out a small aperture will save it from being frozen solid and snapped during the cold winter. But it does make for heavy work.

I watered the mache and land cress under their cloches. And a good thing they are cloched too (is that a suitable use of the word?) Daisy or some passing Ardeche fauna has taken a fancy to a varied diet. My leeks and cabbages have that chewed and scalped look right now. And means I have to do a bit of a rethink on how I am to plant the peas and broad beans. Even I can’t resist pea tips, so who am I to imagine that anyone else won’t find them juicy, succulent and a very tasty treat after a bite of raw leek?

The hose goes as far as the lilac bed and the tulips and narcissus under the wisteria, so everything had a good drink. So exciting to see growth of little shoots in the lilac bed. One small group of bulbs are coming up. But as they seem to be sitting directly under some Russian sage shrubs in my planting plan then they are definite blow ins. Can’t wait to see what they actually are.

The grasses on the bank are showing teensy signs of green. Which is frankly a relief as they have looked like raffia straw bundles for a few weeks now. I must get the rest planted up this week. But that does involve a bit of heavy lifting of all the rocks that impede my design. Strong slave anyone?

And the lupins look to have survived the transplanting from around the back of the potting shed beautifully. I do like the look of promise in this bed. All the plants do need some compost around each small green growth. But the home made compost is sitting way down by the lower potager, about three hundred wheel barrow metres away. And as I am banned from hefty wheelbarrow work for the duration I can’t quite see how I’m going to get it up to the right spot without wasting hours with small loads. Strong slave anyone?

I have unburied the small plants under their blanket of bark chips on the top terraces to give them an easier passage to the light. But things look very promising there.

And here is a surprise. What on earth are these bulbs? I must have planted them in this temporary home first thing last year. And thought I really ought to move them to their well planned and designed home. But I never did. So here’s another clump of bulbs to watch.  Nearby I planted 48 more liatris spicata bulbs. Wonderful colour and good long season. Almost as good as my Agastache plants which are coming up lustily nearby.  More lupins are coming up under the chestnut tree. Dead hopeless place for them. So if I manage to find some time after the vegetable garden work I must transplant them.

I have mislaid the piece of paper where I wrote my first of the day notes, but I also planted up twenty gladiolus bulbs. Ten silverstreet and ten deep red black star. I’m only doing them for height in the monster vase we have in the house and thought the deep reds might do well with the armfuls of cow parsley and euphorbias that we get here in summer. But they may need more moisture and muck that I am prepared to offer them.

And then after lunch and helping Sarah set up her painting studio in the guest house I trotted up to the potting shed to sow and sow and sow.

The seeds sown two weeks ago are mostly up and romping away. And here is the list of the afternoon’s easy toil.

Baby sweet corn
Cucumber (that embarrassingly named Burpless Tasty Green)
Climbing bean blauhilder
Sunflower velvet queen
Yard long Italian climbing beans
Cosmos purity
Rogersia Pinnata
Cleome hassleriana
Marigold red brocade
Scabiosa lachnophylla Blue Horizon
Melon edonis
Cosmos Sensation tall mix
Foxglove milk chocolate
Poppy coral pink
Spring onion Apache deep purple
Berkheya purpurea Zulu Warrior
Spinach Bordeaux

Sorry to mix up the veg and flower seeds in the list. But that is how jumbled my brain is right now. Tomorrow it’s vegetable garden work.

How about this for a plant that survived the winter. These euphorbia wulfennii’s are just lush and vibrant right now. And here is the first blossom on the first tree. It’s the almond that self-sowed in the rock (of all things) under the terrace of the house. No sign of blossom on the cherries. Looks like we will be about two weeks later this year than last.