Tuesday, 28 July 2009

In the Midnight Garden

They come alive you know

These are some of the stars from the festival des épouvantails (scarecrows) held anually in the village of Meyrals near Les Eyzies.

Head this way if you're feeling peckish.

Easy does it as you pass the metal spider. No sudden movement!

The Joker's on you.

There's an army of them and they're on the move.

How about a 'cup o' tea an' a slice o' cake' for Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally?

Everybody's happy, but beware, things may be different after dark!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Willy de Wilde (again)

Pépinière du Lac des Joncs, near Rouffignac, is a truly wonderful nursery. I blogged about it back in March here . Home of Monsieur Willy de Wilde, this is a gem of a place, not just because of the great selection of perennials and grasses but because of all the other touches such as the dry garden (pictured) , the seriously beautiful stone buildings plus all the help and advice you need courtesy of master propagator and plantsman Willy . All is well at chez de Wilde.

I mentioned previously that this is a great place to find many varieties of Ivy. Now that's a sentence that may not 'float' everyone's boat, but I like Ivy and it's a plant which I'm hoping will be a problem solver for a difficult area in front of La Grande Maison. The short wall which runs the length of the terrace also acts as a stone planter. The soil is inevitably impoverished. the micro-climate is harsh (it gets hot in the courtyard, 37 C yesterday) and I struggle to get anything to grow. I planted Nasturtium 'Empress of India' this year and already they're dwindling plus acting as complete martyrs to pests. Black aphids love 'em. So plan B, I'm planting Ivy.

They're small leafed varieties which should grow quick and cascade a bit. The plan is hopefully to have the wall cloaked in green for next year and to introduce colour with a number of well positioned pots planted with I don't know what as yet.
Completely off topic, early yesterday morning this flew over Le Banquet and landed in the next field. Oh to balloon in the Vézère Valley! I was lucky enough to get a photo. Incidentially, if you want to see more images of this beautiful part of the world, please visit my other blog Dordogne Daily Pic.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Still Standing

It had been dry for about a month until the early hours of Tuesday morning. Dry and at times hot with temperatures sometimes reaching 36C and many hours of unbroken sunshine.

I seem to have spent a lot of time these last few weeks repositioning the sprinkler and hose to needy areas of lawn around the various buildings in an effort to keep them not only green but in some spots alive. At least it's a simple enough task to then spin the tap and let irrigation begin. Not so the rest of the garden . That becomes a ruddy good workout. On average, each evening I've been lugging about 35 cans of water around the place ensuring everything gets a good soak but it's never a perfect replacement for soft Summer rain. I should point out that I'm lucky to have a small well, fed from a source which filters through the limestone rock further uphill. All I need do is dunk the cans into the water and I'm away, no lengthy waiting for the tap to fill the bucket.

Early Tuesday morning and all change as some very lively thunderstorms moved across and dumped a good couple inches of rain. Lots of electrical activity too. You know the kind. Lightning that's almost constant and lights up everything outside clear as day, plus, for good measure the ensuing thunder claps make you jumpy and wonder whether something nearby has taken a direct hit, there's something about a valley that just plays tricks with the acoustics.

First light and I shot out to see what had been knocked back. Some of the Cosmos lay horizontal, but nothing too serious. Some roses needed 're-tying in' but all in all not too bad. Amazingly the Nicotiana sylvestris (pictured) was still standing as if nothing had gone on. Everywhere feels alive again. There's green creeping back into the lawns which, sadly means I'm going to have to resume mowing again.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Plants in Pots part 2

Pelargoniums. I can never make up my mind about the oft' called geranium. I quite like these though, not so in your face as some of them can be. I might 'overwinter' these and take some cuttings for insurance.

As near to blue as I've seen Verbena. This sits at the edge of the wall by the tobacco drying barn. The daisies behind are 'Mexican Fleabane' , Erigeron karvinskianus, I'm hoping they'll seed themselves about in the stone walls for next summer.

Australian Fan flower, Scaevola aemula. For fear of stating the obvious, I'll not mention that I'm very into blue flowers this year, OK.

Rose William Shakespeare, a David Austin rose.

Finally, below, Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra' or Japanese Blood Grass. This looks really good in a pot and probably deserves better positioning than sitting on my terrace with a possibly overmixed assortment of plants in pots. I think I'm going to take some time out and arrange all of them together a bit more creatively, complimentary groupings if you like rather than the current state of ad hoc kleptomania.