Despite cold nights, recent days have been mainly sunny and feeling mild. I like February, the sun starts to have some strength and the increasing daylight allows more time to get things done.
After being cooped up for weeks decorating, plumbing and generally immersed in DIY, finally being able to get outside and catch up around the garden is pure therapy.
Back in the Autumn, after rebuilding the stone steps here, I decided that as a finishing touch I'd plant a tree down at the edge where they meet the lawn. Well it had to be a Cypress de Provence. Cupressus sempervirens var. stricta to be exact, also known as Italian Cypress or Pencil pine but as I blog from here in France, then from Provence it is.
Just as soon as the we get a break in the frosty nights (anytime from Thursday onwards) I'll get on and plant it with as much TLC as befits my most expensive plant purchase for some time. Spadefuls of manure, compost, handfuls of hoof and horn, maybe a little light conversation, that kind of thing, certainly better treatment than my method of transportation, I drove the 50 kilometres or so from the nursery near Bergerac with the tree sticking out of the car window. At some 30 kph below the average speed limit and in a country where tail 'gating' is the national sport, trust me when I say this was an interesting journey.
Beautiful days such as these are just made for pruning. This is an activity I enjoy, you feel like you're back in control after months of gloom and neglect. I have to climb on a step ladder to get to the back of the nameless yellow rose here on the gable end to the long barn.
Pruning away, all feels good in the February sunshine, even if the temperature drops like a stone at nightfall.