Shed anxiety

After a refreshing walk around Mont Godin (scoffing some delicious early cherries at Boucharnoux village enroute) I had one of those oh god, where do I start?  moments. Monday was to be departure day for two weeks and it was agony knowing the neglect and watering difficulties that lay ahead. So many of the poor little seedlings had drowned outside last time. Do I leave them all inside and beg Bernard to remember to water?

Or put them out again and hope the poor Ardeche weather improves. While waiting for inspiration I decided to bring all the endless pots and containers inside, call Bernard our neighbour and beg. And just to while away a lovely drizzly Sunday I potted up 20 tomato plants that were bursting out of their nursery pot, more verbena that had survived their soaking, some little Swiss chard (finally some yellow and red stemmed one) and six cucumber plants.

It never ceases to amaze me how much easier it is to pot up in a shed rather than at the kitchen sink. (And ever mindful of making messes all over the draining board and floor. In my potting shed I just sweep things onto the earth floor below. So practical.)

I’m not sure if I have missed the season, but decided to try sowing yet more dwarf French beans and climbing beans to replace those that went swimming last month. I have a suspicion that two-week departures over the vital growing period won’t produce healthy crops, but we shall see.

One of the discoveries of the wet season was the nicotiana. Something (and I suspect slugs) had eaten most of the little seedlings that I had placed out under the cherry tree beside the shed. So instead of starting again and losing about a month of work, I simply had to look in the bin. I had pricked out endless quantities of the little seedlings before I left and just had that ugh, forget it action when confronted with dozens more. So putting the pot of yet more little seedlings aside, I went on with more valuable plants of the edible variety. But now here is the neglected pot all sprouting and healthy and ready to take their rightful place in the garden.

With all these new flower seedlings it was time to sort out the trial beds. I did a spot of minor landscaping and created a mini bed for this seasons flowers. Outside now are the following:


Calamagrostis brachyta

Horedum jubatum

Poppy black paeony


Penisetum hamelin

Stipa (of course)

Lupin My Castle

Nepeta grandiflora

Agastache liquorice blue


Verbascum Aaron mix

Sporobolus armoides

Plus the nepeta six hills giant which I bought from one of the gardens we visited in Devon.

As you can see from my Chelsea experience I had a bit of lupin envy: such spires of colour and fat plump plants. They seem more pleasing than delphiniums but that’s probably because I am such a novice and haven’t learned how to grow any yet.

Back inside for yet more cups of tea and out to prick out the last of the Swiss chard. Cuckoos in the nest came to mind when I was looking carefully at my packet of Swiss Chard rainbow seeds. Why oh why were there so many tomato seeds in there as well? And you can guess what has come up. My dreams of yellow and orange and red chard in gentle drifts all across the lower vegetable bed may have to wait another season. Instead it’s leggy and sickly tomato seedlings to nurture and hopefully plant out and harvest in a few weeks time.