Staring at the walls

wisteria bed in progressMy internet has been down overnight and this morning, so I’m behind. It’s amazing how much you take the electronic world for granted.   And today I have my favourite lunch guest: Andrew.   So this post won’t be updated for a another day alas.   But it will be well worth the wait.   Here’s a hint.

Yep, wall work.   Nicolas came for a day and I seem to have set him a challenge. Any chance he could rebuild three small walls? In a morning.

east garden rock wallSo with the French equivalent of  ‘nay bother’, he set off. The condition was that I collected the stones. I had found a cache up between the border of our property and Jean Daniel’s vegetable garden that was easy pickings.   So I thought I was on the easy deal

First up was the sorry excuse for a wall that I reassembled a few years ago in the lilac bed. Dare I show the before shot? Here it is.   He disassembled it and had it up and looking proud and attractive in the time it took me to load up the car with granite and drive back to the car parking area. completed lilac bed

before under wisteria wallThe second wall was one that has bothered me for ages.   It’s also at the entrance to the property and quite an eye sore.   I always had the feeling that it was half a bed.   Built up under the wisteria, and then abandoned into a scrappy bit of gravel.

I tried to pretty it up by planting lots of tulips, but it was time for a proper redesign.

Out came some of the tulips, and in went proper solid rocks. (Nicolas had to come and haul the hefty ones; I wasn’t going to undo all that assiduous physio work by putting my back out).   The trick was to make the bed narrower than the original area on the right.   This is the narrow path that cars can use to get up to the courtyard.   I didn’t want to make it even trickier than it is now to navigate the narrow path between the houses. east garden wisteria bed after

And here it is. Looking splendid and so natural, it should have been this way before.   Does anyone ever design a big garden in one go? I can never imagine it being possible. It has taken me four years of walking past this bed to work out what was needed.

walls east gardenI think the tulips will have to be sorted out after they have flowered. The kniphofia (no, not right, red hot poker) will have to go. It needs a sunnier spot.   And I am thinking of making this a more formal garden with just box balls and bulbs.   They aren’t expensive at Vachon and I think the stark stone will take the severe and plain form of fluffy ever green plants nicely.   We shall see.

completed strawberry bedI had no time to marvel at Nicolas’ work. I had to get on with the strawberry bed.   Time was running out and I wanted to get all the mulch down before more weeds romped away.

I’m almost there, but have a bit more chipping to do. And decided to make the most of the warm and windy weather to go and hide up in the forest collecting sticks.

Nicolas meanwhile attacked one more bed.   This is the one that juts out at the end of the courtyard, and heads up the walnut path to the top road.   Trying to cure my love of straight lines, and to make the most of the sun that hits this part of the courtyard, I have been adding heleniums, day lilies (please don’t ask me to try and spell hemerocallis) and little pannicums. walnut bed before

walnut path bed afterAnd to build it up and I did one of my embarrassing walls.   Luckily I have someone who can put this right. And here it is.   Small but perfectly curving up around the barn.

Pretty indeed. And more in keeping with the rest of the barn beside it.

forest sticksNicolas came and helped with sticks in the forest – and put me to shame by quietly correcting my French. I was hissing away saying that cutting saplings and small sticks in the forest was ‘tahsome’  (but I didn’t use that word) but he replied, no, it’s just fastidious. That will teach me to be lazy about my vocabulary.   file sticks in forest

And it is fastidious. You can only select skinny sticks from the brambly piles of branches that are piled up in the forest. And to untangle the ones you want, and then pile them up on a tarp and finally drag them all the way back down to the parking area for chipping is no fun.   But it’s easier with two.

sticks for chippingI’m so pleased it’s done. Even if the chipping is ahead of me.   And after that I decided on more genteel jobs.   But did cheekily ask Nicolas to help haul over the Mount Tacoma tulip pots from beside the potting shed.   They are now in position in the courtyard where they will hopefully flower like mad.  tulips in courtyard

He went on with strimming the worst of the brambles down by the vineyard, and I planted a long, long row of parsnips and planted out cabbage at the top vegetable bed.

Artur the cat came to keep me company, and rather cleverly rolled in the dirt just where I had planted, but not finished watering the parsnip row. Drats.