Friday, 18 April 2014

J'adore Les Asperges

Asparagus season has been underway for a week or two now. It'll be all things asparagus for at least another month.

The French preference is for the blanched, white asparagus. The black polythene keeps photosynthesis away - no chlorophyll here.

This is the courtyard to one of the most magnificent asparagus farms around.

It's been in his family for generations.

With views to the villages and chateaux of Beynac and Castelnaud, the panorama is also magnifique.

Et Voilà.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Meadow Prep - (From This To This)

Many hours of digging and tilling and the meadow area is ready. I'm waiting for the bloody bindweed to appear and then spray it off. It's the only way, those roots are everywhere, more so following the rotovating which cuts them into a million pieces all ready to sprout and continue the cycle. Once they're dealt with I'll sow. I'm aiming for about two weeks time, three weeks later than in previous years, which makes sense on many fronts, primarily to give me time  to deal with the bindweed, but also to enable the meadow to 'peak' a little later and continue through to October.

I've decided to sow Pictorial Meadows Classic Mix again. It didn't perform as well last year than the previous which I put down almost entirely to oversowing.  That's it above in June, poppies are the star of the show.

Later into July and things gradually turn gold.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Days like these...

Spring's arrived.

The blossom is coming out.

Unbroken sunshine,  no wind and a perfect 20 centigrade. Warmer days ahead.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hunting Kniphofia

I need to grow Kniphofia but to be able to do that I need to extend the garden - in that order, though in fairness I've been meaning to extend le jardin for a couple of years but just haven't got around to doing it for one reason or another (time really).

Red hot pokers provide the motivation. I always remember seeing a small private garden in Cork, Ireland some years ago that was full of pokers 'bobbing' amongst grasses and thinking that the whole effect was just superb.

So I've lined the path which leads past Le Tournesol with stone that Karen and I hunted out in the fields around, I needed to do that in order to raise the 'border', and next week will order about 4.5 cubic metres of topsoil.  It's work I would of preferred to avoid, but it's necessary as the weedy grass that grows there currently does so on about 6 cms. of soil with an unfeasibly thick layer of old castine (gravel) underneath as I guess the entire area was gravel many moons ago and would have been re-gravelled many times over.

Back to the kniphofia, and I've had zero luck locating K. caulescens here in France. This poker has possibly the best foliage of them all and as such is a must. I eventually found them online for mail order through Toby Buckland nurseries - as in Toby Buckland, the ex Gardeners' World presenter -  at a fiver (sterling) apiece. The only snag was the Royal Mail postage to France which was price prohibitive, but luckily there is a small logistics company I have used in the past who brought them down at a sensible cost.

Along with the pokers I ordered five bare roots of Asphodeline lutea, a tall, yellow flowered meditterranean plant, together with a rose, Rosa Alissar, Princess of Phoenicia and have to say that, by a country mile, these were the biggest, healthiest bare root plants I've ever received.  I was like a kid in a sweet shop opening the box. Enormous great roots wrapped in damp newspaper which I've potted straight on until I'm ready to put them in the garden.

Even Henri, my 9 month old kitten was taken aback with the quality of the roots.

The plant list needs to be finalised, but other pokers and various Panicum, Stipa and Pennisetum will be in there.

To be continued....

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sarlat Fête de la Truffe 2014

Sarlat's fête de la truffe continues today.

Chappie on the right (a la droite) is a wiley 'ol Perigourdine fox - in the nicest of ways.
That truffle is 550 euro to you. That's not all, I've seen him back in October with armfuls of the best Cepes, plus he'll sell you the finest Charente Oysters by the dozen.

I've never seen so many truffles. Alright, well at least not for twelve months - since the last fete.

The radio people are there.

TV coverage from around the world. This is NTD TV. New Tang Dynasty Television. Chinese interest in this corner of the world continues to grow rapidly, particulary across into Bordeaux where they are the principle buyers of traditional Chateaux and wine estates.

Of course there was plenty to eat. High gastronomy indeed!

Bon weekend à tous! 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bonne Année (Errm, And French Roundabouts)

Happy New Year!

  I was at a loss as to what to post up which had some relevance to wishing everyone a brilliant 2014 and guess what, I'm still at a a loss. So with absolutely no relevance at all, here are some photographs of a few of the local roundabouts.

Bearing in mind this is Walnut, Duck, Goose and Truffle country you have to admire the decoration of these roundabouts being true to the terroir, here in the Perigord Noir.

You ever see a Walnut that big? No, well you will on the D46 in Sarlat.

Truffles the size of Spacehoppers. 

Roundabouts are called rond-point in French. Strikes me that they are viewed as little opportunities for a nifty bit of conceptual landscaping - they may even improve traffic flow!

Of course you are never far away from anything Goose or Duck.

A gaggle of Geese as you approach Perigueux.

There's more to follow. I may even start a series as the decoration of circular intersection knows no bounds in these parts. Tobacco barns, vineyards, the list goes on.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas in Sarlat (Window Shopping)

Winter festivals are always quiet affairs in Medieval towns - apparently.  Though it's definitely Christmas.

Window shopping is always a treat. As with every year, the Chocolatiers take first prize.

Chocolate, Orange and Cinnamom make their way into everything. Perfect.

Warm flavours as the dusk falls. Another frost tonight.

Each year the Ville adopts a theme. This Christmas has a Chinese flavour with Dragons and lanterns.

Merry Christmas!