Sniff the air

almondsDare I say the S word?

Spring?  When you stand stock still, raise your eyes to the sun and just inhale hard. It smells of spring.

Or is that maybe because it hasn’t rained for two days straight now. And the forecast is set fair for three more days. Yippee.

I celebrated by planting trees. The happy result of driving to Aubenas yesterday to collect my haul from my favourite pepiniere, Frederic Cochet.

He is the expert in old varieties of Ardeche and Cevenole fruit trees. And will happily try and match your soil and altitude to his varieties. And no, he still won’t sell me any pears. We are way too free draining and dry for any chance of that delicious fruit.

But I do have two apples, another  cherry, three almonds almonds.  There are now fifteen trees in the orchard (plus two very small almonds) which makes a rather handsome collection.

I put the larger of the almonds right in front of the herb garden so it’s closer to the original one we have on the farm.  I’m curious to see if it will help with the pollination of the one that grew from a thrown pip over the terrace a few years ago.

tulips comingFrederic Cochet assured me that almonds make very handsome trees, but you just can’t rely on them fruiting very successfully.  But it will be fun trying.

It’s hard to photograph the entire orchard as most of the new trees are just sticks.  But it looks promising.

I need to water them in well tomorrow, and get the protection around each stick. The deer cruise out of the deep forest and work their way along the orchard and head lower down the mountain. I don’t want them snacking on the way. raspberries

And everywhere you look, there are poking tulips, daffs almost up and through and the threat of weeds everywhere.

I must get on and sow grass seeds tomorrow where I still have bare earth.

There were also twenty raspberry canes in the swag; so I have given two of the beds of the potager over to this magical fruit.  But I am going to underplant with twenty (or is it forty?) strawberry plants.  That ought to slow down the hares and the deer from plucking my favourite first fruit of the season.

It might make picking a bit tricky for me too, but it beats losing them in the thicket of the verbena bonariensis hedge right now.  And I might even have a chance of less slug damage. The current strawberry bed is flush against the stone wall of the calabert and the courytard, and I suspec they live happily in the shelter of the stones and then ooze out at night and munch on my fruit.  They will have to slime over gravel to get to these ones.