Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring at last

The winter here in south west France has dragged on a bit this year, with the cold and wet weather extending into the beginning of this month.

tulipsHowever, the last couple of weeks have brought some spring weather with them and, suddenly, things are bursting into flower

These tulips are in a small flower bed right next to the main door to the house, so, although Tulips are short lived, I get to enjoy them everday whilst they are in bloom.

Elsewhere in the garden, my tomato seedlings are slowly growing.  The other day I potted on about 50 of my “Ian’s Red Cherry”.  I was very pleased about this as I thought I had lost all the seed to mice in last years mouse attack, but, happily, I found a canister of seeds which were a couple of years old.   As tomato seeds are well known for their survivability, I decided to give them a try.   Hopefully, I’ll now have enough tomatoes to save seed from later in the year.

I also have both Marmande and Moneymaker seedlings waiting to be potted on which I expect to be doing this week.

Earlier in the week, I found a few berry bushes being sold off for less than 2€ each and bought some.  I had an issue with my labelling of the black currant and blackberry bushes…  OK, I labelled them both as blackberry by mistake… but, once they fruit I’ll know which is which.  I’ve planted them and also a gooseberry bush I bought at the same time.

I also bought a couple of raspberries from the same place, but they are intensive care due to violent abuse before I took charge of them.   Another thing I bought recently, which is also in intensive care was a small olive tree.    I don’t think it had been watered for many months when I took it over.

The bulk of my work at the moment is directed along two paths.     The boundary hedges are in a pretty terrible condition and I’m investing a lot of time in restoring them.   The second path is simply weeding and grass cutting!      Sadly, my ill health last year meant that I didn’t get to do very much in the garden and, therefore, I have my work cut out this year to restore order.

In the orchard, the pear and cherry trees are in blossom and the apples are not far behind.  I noticed lots of buds on the peach and nectarine trees as well.   In the kitchen garden, Forsythia is blossoming in the corner beds.   I hope the bright yellow flowers are attracting lots of insects into the area.

Finally, I’ve also been attacking some of the large shrubs in the “park” area and am hoping they will respond to the harsh treatment.   Roses have been heavily pruned again this year.

The long drought and then severe winter have caused many of the potted shrubs to die.   Some pots froze solid even though I had moved them into an unheated workshop.   I’m keeping a careful watch on the pots, just in case there is any sign of recuperation.