Sunday, 27 May 2012

In The Long Grass

Each year I seem to leave ever larger areas of grass uncut. Not because I'm on some' ditch' the lawn tip or similar, rather it's a matter of creating a perfect environment in which the crickets choral society can congregate.  And now the weather's hotting up, boy can they sing. The sound of Summer.

I like to cut paths through it,  a kind of lawnmower topiary which is better than ever as the grass is nearly waist height courtesy of a wet April.

Best of all things unexpectedly pop up, like wild orchids.

I struggled to get a good photo this afternoon, it was impossible to lie down  (didn't want to flatten the grass) so arms stretched downward, camera by my knees. Below is a better pic, taken a few years ago.

Gladiolus byzantinus makes an appearance. These aren't wild, I planted about 125 corms back in 2009.

I've completely forgotton what this is. Very common, very pink, very welcome.

Monday, 21 May 2012

L'Abbaye Nouvelle

Of all the plant fairs at this time of year, perhaps the most beautiful venue is L'Abbaye Nouvelle, a 13th century Cistersian Abbey near Gourdon just at the border of the Department of Lot.

Despite heavy thundery showers, yesterday's Fete des Plantes still enjoyed a big turnout and understandably so. 

Voices echoed in the vaults - there's a certain atmosphere that only an 800 year old gothic abbey can deliver.

Inbetween cloudbursts, it was plants for the dry season that I was drawn to.  Plantes pour terrain sec and particularly Lavender.

I bought armfulls of  'Edelweiss',  a white variety. Being an angustifolia type, it grows large and is covered in insects during mid-summer. Completely hardy, I think this is a nigh on perfect plant.

Les aromatiques.....

to every type of pumpkin (this photo appears not for my love of squash and gourds, really it's the hand painted signs, luv 'em)

All in all this was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Another beautiful May morning, April's rain and the bitter cold of February long gone, however Spring lags behind just about every year I can remember in the nine Springs we have seen here. Like everywhere, the garden is a catalogue of hits and misses.

Definite hits are Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', sedums and Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia.

Bronze fennel is putting on good growth, the grass to the right is an Elymus variety, I've no idea which, it looks good and as I remember has an arching habit, being a 'cool' season grass the inflorescences are not far away now. It's getting big though, almost swamping out some Muhlembergia rigens or deergrass which being 'warm' season is a liitle out of sync. and will probably need to be moved.

Artichoke, 'Violette de Provence' is starting to gain some size. I'm growing it purely for decoration, as for my money both the foliage and the eventual mauve 'thistley' chokes warrant that.

I mentioned before I had seeds for Onopordium acanthium, the Scots thistle. Well here they are, about five weeks old and in need of planting out. The question is where? I'm a little dubious as they can grow into huge ten feet specimens, but I'm going to plant out at least a couple and see what happens. Scotch thistle is undoubtedly magnificent.

Cheery souls Fleabane.  I love them.

Do well in pots too.

Salvia sclarea, the clary sage, is starting to grow rapidly. It may shade out the Japanese anemones, but will need a trim before they want to flower, in amongst it are seedlings of self sown borage.

A sheen of green is visible where I sowed the meadow flowers back in mid-April. I agonise over this bit of land, it seems a race between the emerging seedlings and re-emerging bind weed and creeping buttercup. It has potential to be beautiful, stunning in fact, there's just so many factors that come into play. Fingers crossed it works out.

Lining the pergola, allium are popping up amongst the stipa calamagrostis. I am sure there are less this year, something has definitely eaten some of the bulbs, a vole maybe? I'll plant more this Autumn.

Continuing the onion theme, an onion relative, Nectaroscordum siculum or Meditterranean bells are looking really fine. I  like this bulb and hopefully it'll seed itself around a bit more for next year.

I keep adding Sempervivum and Sedum at any opportunity. I've also found myself developing more than a sneaky regard for Delosperma. I picked up a Delosperma dyerii 'Red mountain' which shows better in the photo below.

Perefctly hardy in this zone I'm told.

So that'll do for now. Off to a plant fair held in the grounds of an old abbey in the Lot department this Sunday, can't wait.