Shade garden flowers

hydrangeasverticalMore delights from Chalencon today; it’s a bit like a gardener being on holiday. Visiting other gardens.

Now you might raise a quizzical eyebrow and ask ‘where are the gardens?’ And it’s true that many of these villages in rural France have very little outside space in the centres of the village.

The vegetable gardens are usually placed on the outskirts.

But ever ingenious, the best shrubs growing in teensy patches of bare soil are the hydrangeas.

I was never a fan until I came to Europe. But it seems to be one of those ubiquitous fuss-free shrubs that just work. In Holland they sell the flowers in autumn for astronomical amounts. morehydrangeas

Sarah and I were visiting our friend Karen in The Hague one autumn and gawped at the price of €15 for a small posy of hydrangea flowers.  And they weren’t even the dramatic dark colours I do rather prefer.

There is a large shrub of a French variety called Merveille Sanguine that sits next to the school house in Silhac. And in autumn when it starts to turn deep darkest red I almost crash the car as I go past.

roseschalenconAnd every year I say ‘I must ask for a cutting’. But maybe this year I might even be reckless and actually buy a plant. Or ten.

I was secretly relieved to see that the roses are suffering from the heat on the giant wall of the hostel in the centre of the village. So mine aren’t the only parched ones around here.

But they still put on a good display.

And in one of the very few patches of sunlight in this perched village you get the treat of geraniums in pots.

I like how they play with the heights and the display. It’s the sort of thing I make sure I come by when I’m trailing friends en route up through the cobbled streets.