Trips to France in the past month have been disjunct and we have gardened whenever we could. Particularly Nick who spends much time outside, especially processing his compost. We have so much material now that we do not put spent weeds in our compost bin anymore; the seeds persist through out composting process and we know that it will be several seasons before we can get on top of our weed community, or at least reduce it significantly. Most pernicious is the Convolvulus as the roots go so deep.
The other thing we have had to contend with is dry weather so that has made it more difficult to work the soil but we have done our best. Ideas are evolving as we come to terms with the fact that we need to grow plants that like what we have to offer in terms of growing conditions, and the time available to give our attention to what needs to be done. We also need to restrict the number of pots we can maintain. Leaving the garden unattended for 3 or 4 weeks at a time costs dearly – should we consider getting a gardener?…..
Nick and I also need to agree to a maintenance strategy for our gravel areas, a large one at the front and another area at the bottom by the potager. We love the fact that at least a dozen Agapanthus have set themselves in the front gravels against a stone wall. Also an Echium is growing by our front gate, between one of our horse chestnut trees and the front hedge. I have a dispensation to keep one corner in my own way, allowing self setters like Aquilegia, chives, cornflowers and others to grow in dwarf form. We even found 3 new self-set bee orchid plants in the gravels this year but we moved them to greener pastures in the lawn!
Nevertheless we had a delightful flowering of bee orchids which are all now forming fat seed pods, the delphiniums were stunning although they developed mildew unfortunately. I have cut them right back, we hope for a second flowering. One of the Geranium madarense flowered and seeded, we are assured of plenty of plants to choose from next year. The banana tree has put on height although because of winds it looks very untidy. We have three Echiums in flower which the bees adore. It has been a great year for Roses.
So all in all it’s not too bad and our neighbours continue to compliment us on our garden, but I think they admire the tradition of English being talented gardeners. We do not claim this for ourselves however, we just do our best and there are still bits of flowerbeds which need rethinking and this autumn some plant-moving is likely to happen.
After Nick’s cousins left and before we left on Friday we had a calm evening on Thursday with Anne and Francois chez nous, where once again I wooed them with a chicken curry.