Another gloriously cold but sunny day. I have decided my task today will be to weed all the terraces on the bank above the potting shed. A good sort of warm up task while Nicolas keeps on with rocks and soil.
But first I had to build up the sand castle of soil around one of my newly planted eleagnuses. That doesn’t look right. Elaeagnus x ebbingei. Better. There is a small mountain of very good topsoil that Nicolas is going to move and distribute around the garden. It was removed from the area where the new potting shed now stands. So I thought it wise to get in with small repair jobs while the stock was at hand.
The rest went into filling behind the newer of the walls on the lower part of the garden below the pool, and in creating a small ramp behind the shed where I used to skid down on a rather steep slope.
I was having fun with my major weeding while the heavy loads of soil in impossibly full wheelbarrows teetered past. My back was wincing at the sight of it.
The weeds came up easily in the terraces that have been newly created; but I found the mother load of brambles to the left of the terraces on the edge of the property. When we first arrived there was a natural barrier here of brambles and weeds and I seem to recall bits of a fence to keep in the chooks. But we cleared it all. And now the only thing separating our land from Jean Daniel’s is a single strand electric fence.
Actually, it is no man’s land. A strip of land that belongs to an absent farmer who will never use it, sell it or look after it. So Jean Daniel’s horses keep the grass down and I do the brambles. I was making good progress of this part of the garden when, speak of the devil, our neighbour roared up.
He loves watching the progress of the land improvements, but had a suggestion of his own. How about a hedge between our two properties to screen the hideous potting shed from his view.
Ah. Well I couldn’t object. I’m the one who has put up the monstrosity. But how on earth? What to plant? How many? Where?
Not a problem, Nicolas said as he staggered past with yet another load of soil. Down to Vachon plant nursery on the Rhone, cheap as can be. Not the best quality, but you could get a decent mixed hedge that would be perfect for the location. He plonked down on the edge of a step and wrote out a list.
Both Jean Daniel and I must have had our mouths agape, as we couldn’t believe a garden could be so instantly sourced and sorted.
Down tools, down to the Rhone. An hour and a half later I came back with enough plants to cover 33 metres of ground.
Here’s the list. Cotoneaster lacteus, prunus lusitanica, carpinus betulus, elaeagnus x ebbingei, cornus alba, viburnum tinus, ligustrum japonicum, viburnum rhytidophyllum, sambuscus nigra. I have 33 plants in all, and they should make a lovely mixed hedge with most of the plants keeping their leaves all winter. Plus I want to add the five rosa rugosa plants that Leslie and Teo gave me so that I have something more fetching to look at over the summer, rathern than just a wall of green.
I couldn’t get any laurel or aster ginnala or aster campestris, they won’t be available until March. That would make the hedge complete according to the Mont Godin expert on plants. Who was I to argue? I am thrilled the potential neighbourly discontent was so quickly and easily nipped in the bud.
But the whole episode was quite surreal. I had to take the car with the boot open, then drive along at a slow creep behind the owner who walked in front choosing the plants from our list. The whole thing was the size of I don’t know how many football pitches. I filled the car and then drove back to pay.
A quick trip back up to the house (not, there are major roadworks on the Eyriuex valley road, so you tend to wait at quite a few temporary traffic lights) and the plants were ready to be placed.
Actually we ran out of time. But Nicolas agreed to come back on the morrow and get them in. I, meanwhile had to clear the land. It was playful to have to weed so close to the electric fence. I had forgotten to ask Jean Daniel to switch it off. But I was only zapped once. And the horse just loved the close up company.