How Our Garden Does Grow

…… and so I finally get out into the garden to join Nick who has been busy on various tasks.  We are watching all the putative orchids closely.  I’ve sent pictures to various friends for corroboration, or otherwise, of my hunch that these rosettes of lily-like leaves are, indeed, wild orchids.  For what it is worth, my money is on Anacamptis morio – the Green-winged orchid.  I base this on a description of habitat, and the fact that we are in northern France where this species is more widespread, apparently, than in southern England.

Coincidentally the former supervisor of our illustrious botanical guru over in California has posted very similar photos of plants growing on the Reading University Campus, on his Facebook Plant Diversity page.  He has even placed a £1 coin next to them for scale, as I have in my most recent photos.  He has identified his plants as Orchis apifera – the Bee Orchid.  But this species prefers rather drier conditions than those that our lawn offers in St Vaast.  On verra!  If it turns out we have a flock of wild orchids in our French lawn I will give up all other gardening and focus on the wild flora.  And build upon it.  Not literally of course……….. 😉

I’ve been meaning to clear the corner near the washing-line lean-to where the large  pink Hydrangea flourishes, together with Iris unguicularis, Houttuynia cordata, Penstemon, Phlomis.  The Salvia ‘Hot Lips’  needs drastic cutting back.  This done I turn my attention to the understorey beneath the Mimosa. The ground flora here needs some encouragement.  There are more ‘orchids’, Arum italicum and several Mimosa runners too.  Primroses and Cowslips planted last year around the perimeter of the Mimosa have come through.  I will have to banish the mower from this area.

Meanwhile Nick finds it impossible not to pull the mower out for a therapeutic cut (therapy for him!).  He mows a track around the various orchid areas we have identified.  He spends some time digging out daisy plants.  He sets a few more rows of seeds and he pressure hoses the terrace.  He is addicted to mowing and washing.

I buy some seed compost from Point Vert and sow nasturtiums and three different grass varieties.  The triumph of the week is to discover that the builder says I can reinstate the Trachelospermum on the front of the house – with restraint!

On the day of departure I take my camera for a tour of the garden.  It is worth capturing the exuberant flowering of the various daffodil varieties, planted by Andrew Tompsett 4 years ago.  These bulbs have surely multiplied well in the interim.  The Camellia bushes all have flowers although the dark pink variety in heavy shade has few blooms.  The lemon tree has many fruits which still need plenty of time to ripen.  The spare Bearded iris rhizomes, which I had left over after stocking the small round bed, were planted in an arc by the side of small path around the lemon tree and I long to see what colours they will be.  Anne thinned her Iris last year and gave me some 15 or so rhizomes and I have no idea how many colours there were.

On the day of departure we start to ease ourselves out of 104 methodically, packing up in very good time but inevitably there is a last minute rush.  I fail to do the supermarket shop before lunch which is an error as I lose valuable time when I have to queue behind a gargantuan woman, buying up half the deli counter in Intermarche.  Time I had set aside for a short session on the treadmill and a relaxing bath prior to departure is reduced to 10 minutes.  We drive out of our gates with a car packed to the gunnels, as usual.

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4 thoughts on “How Our Garden Does Grow

  1. Isn’t ‘she’ just! And all from a two-pronged cutting 3 years ago. The Daphne at 88 may be on the way out. They are not long-lived are they? Shall I try cuttings from this plant? When? The Echium is staked, look again!

  2. They are really weedy here in California and can really take the wind. By my bus stop there is a carpet of English Ivy surrounding 2 trees which were recently cut down. Within weeks and before the Ivy could cover the stumps 2 Echium seedlings arrived and established themselves which was really remarkable.

  3. In addition to this one I found two small seedlings in February. I moved one which was in the wrong place into a pot (has since died) but the other was tucked in a corner between the shed and the wall, rooted in the gravels. It’s an ideal place. Echium have this knack. So do self-set hollyhocks.

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