So here we are on the 18th day of our lockdown in France and it’s our 20th day without any rain. Temperatures have been quite high during the day, but low at night. It’s forecast to get less cold this weekend, but since we are not due any rain in the forseeable future, that doesn’t make me very happy.
It’s grand now – but later? I have lots of young herbaceous plants waiting to go out into the ground and I can’t do anything until it rains (watering is hard here, due to the size of the garden/lie of the land). But I think all of us now know that once it starts (the rain, that is), it ain’t going to stop. Hopefully this isn’t a rescheduling of the drought we had from early June last year until mid-September!
Here’s my six for this Saturday.
1.The blessings of ‘help’ in the garden When the BV is here, he always gets around to doing things that I don’t have time for. It’s bliss to think that someone’s keeping an eye on the dandelion situation! We have a bit of a plague of them and fortunately he tells me he’s developed a special technique for lifting them (and he enjoys doing it!).
2. Parrot tulips Quite a few bulbs not doing what it says on the tin this year. This is supposedly ‘Rococco’, but now that it’s burst I can see perfectly well that it is not – and not nearly as charming.
Hey ho … I do think sometimes that the parrots are almost nicer in bud than in full flower.
According to my records there should be some ‘Black Parrot’ in there. We’ll see …
3. Tulipa sylvestris I’m gradually making something of the tricky area that I call the ‘Hornbeam Gardens’.
Last autumn I spent vast amounts of money (for me!) buying species tulips for this area, also adding things that have shown themselves very drought tolerant elsewhere in the garden, such as Euphorbia myrsinites and Helleborus x sternii.
Anything that has a good leaf even in the fierce heat of summer. Also added was Yucca rostrata (from the North American prairies, and apparently very hardy and drought-tolerant).
T. sylvestris has been a joy this week and I’ve high hopes that they’ll persist, since the species seem to do that better. There are other species to come. Such as the tempting buds from Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’.
4. Cowslips These adore our garden – even the hottest spots – so I’ve brought seedlings from elsewhere down to the Hornbeam Gardens.
They are starting to seed but (being plants – a bit like cats!) they are doing it in the middle of paths. It’s a great year for them. The French say that when they are tall and plentiful the hay will be good. They call them ‘coucou’ (which also means ‘hi’).
Thank goodness something this year is indicating it might be good!
5. Narcissus poeticus var recurvus’ I’m gradually adding to these each year, to flower under the four Prunus Tai-Haku in the orchard as I make new ‘wild’ borders there. Once again their timing is a bit out. So possibly they weren’t such a great choice. I had a dream!
6. Prunus Tai-Haku They were planted in 2014 and I’ve found that hot spring weather does us no favours as far as they are concerned. Not only do they not last as long, but the leaves tend to come out at the same time as the flowers when it’s warm. This year, our cold nights seem to have added a bit of frost damage. I had high hopes that I’d show them in full flower today, since I photographed buds at the beginning of the week.
Obviously they think it hasn’t been that hot because they haven’t come on much.
I’ve just been out to do some shopping. It always gives me a headache these days. The gendarmes are mostly ok, but have a tendency to show their military side if there’s something in your smile they don’t like. I went – although could have waited until Monday – because I was reading about the ‘mask wars’ in Vosges Matin this morning. Apparently two plane-loads of masks were ordered by Bourgogne and two Grand-Est authorities. When they arrived at Mulhouse the Grand-Est nipped in and collared them all. There was a second plane on the tarmac in China that was due to take off for us, but the Americans were haggling to buy, so it was grounded.
I’m sure the Grand-Est (where I am – badly hit) and Burgundy will settle their differences, but these things have a psychological effect. As I put my shopping away, was pondering the fact that we must absolutely continue to trust in the way that the authorities are handling things. Here in France, I’ve had confidence, but that episode shook me a little.
Now forget about the pandemic and go on over to the Propagator’s blog and see everyone else’s six – things are moving so fast, it’s hard to keep up!
Keep safe and happy doing whatever you are doing this week and relish your garden!