Saturday, March 13, 2010

Back at Last

After several months away from the garden I'm pleased to be back on familiar terre.

However, I chose to return from the UK on a weekend when France was being battered by severe Atlantic storms causing extensive damage up and down the west coast.  Before leaving the UK, I had seen mention Aiguillon sur mer of the storms on national TV news but it was only once I was in France and able to pick up the French TV news services that I realised the true extent of the damage with some parts of the west coast being completely flooded out.  One of my favourite areas, and, I think, one of the most beautiful parts of France, the Vendee, was looking very sad as mile after mile was awash with the results of the storm.

However, closer to home, here in the Kitchen Garden in France, most things seem to have survived the awful weather and I was even able to pick some leaves to eat for dinner on my first day back

The plastic tunnel I had put over a few things for the winter was however blown to pieces and there was quite a bit of tree damage, particularly in the old walnut trees, which had shed some large old branches.  But there again, that's what Walnut trees do in winter!

The storm had somehow managed to break the cold frame with one of the glass covers being shattered.   This was quite an achievement as the cover was actually open and strapped back tdead beanso the wall...

Broad beans usually over winter here but this year, the repeated swings in temperature have proved too much for the ones I planted back in November

I've had to spend the rest of the week, mostly, working in and around the house trying to bring back to life the property which has lain empty for just about fouIMG_0682r months.  In particular, the local field mouse population seems to have found doors in to the property that I never knew existed and have been having quite a party.

Still, at least on this trip away, the mice seem to have been kept out of the few seeds I had left.

And finally, I'm pleased to see all the signs of spring bursting out around me.  M. Gary, a local farmer, tends a small field I own, and he was out preparing the land for planting...  The forsythia is in bud and I expect that by next week it will be a bright yellow splash of colour which is  my true indicator that spring really has arrived.


Kitty said...

Welcome back!

The snow and cold probably did the most damage to the broad beans. Good to see that Spring is struggling forth in your neck of the woods! Here, I have seen crocus in bloom, but we still have daily morning frosts.

chaiselongue said...

Good to hear you're back, Ian. I know the weather in Britain has been pretty bad, but you've missed a very strange winter in southern France. This week we've even had snow here in Gabian - the first time it's settled properly for 30 years, apparently! I think (and hope) spring has started now .... good luck with the new gardening year in your garden!

Landsnails said...

Hi Ian

Hope you had a good time in UK. Yes, we've had a snowy winter in UK and down here in the mountains. We were pushed down the hill on the snow by our trailer last week! But the sun is back in the south now, the bulbs are all coming up, and no doubt the grass will start to grow soon as well. We'll be coming and going over the summer, and hoping that the tomato's and broad beans will survive. Started pruning the apple trees ready for the year.

I'll keep visiting the blog to get your news!

All the best, Mary & John

Ian said...

Thanks for your comments.
Kitty, I hope you didn't suffer too much in the recnt storm,
Chaiselongue... Yes, I think the broad beans suffered from being frozen then thawing before being frozen again. They seem happy with a bit of snow over the winter but I guess this year there was just too much change going on
Landsnails, nice to have you back reading the blog...Spring will soon reach the Pyrenees. I'm seeing more of it here every day now.