Les poissons en France

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cultural Digression

As it was raining today and hence no gardening, the gardener decided that she would humour me and let us go to an Art museum/gallery that I had discovered.  The artist, Paul Rebeyrolle, is considered to be an important French painter of the 20th century, even though I'd never heard of him.  The gallery was in the small town of Eymoutier where he was born and grew up;  Eymoutier is to the east of Limoges in the Haute-Vienne.
Rebeyrolle's art is violent, political and aggressive.  He uses diverse materials to create very large paintings.
There was also on show some lithographs he had done in conjunction with a poet.
After this burst of culture we were ready for lunch and Sue had noted a restaurant in one of the small towns on the way in, Châteauneuf-la-Forêt.  When we got back to it, there were about 10 workmen's vans parked outside ... always a good sign!
(NB. This photo was taken after the workmen ... and their vans, had gone.  We were the last to leave.)
The restaurant was full ... and for good reason.  A warm gessier salad for starter, a huge plate of roast pork with lentils and grilled tomatoes, as much cheese as you wished from a selection of about 6 cheeses, a choice of 4 puddings, bread, more wine than we could drink at lunchtime and all for 13.50 euros each.

We were interested to see a different part of France, rolling Limousin cattle country, no people and then, to our delight, some flocks of sheep ... with baby lambs.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fertile Ground

We're still at it!  I went to get more bags of compost yesterday and two trips again this morning.  So, now the 'Christo' bed is done!!
So we moved on down to the Dry River bed.  This was started back in October 2007 but a lot of 'water' has flowed since then!
The gardener is talking about sowing Californian Poppies all along the 'bed' but there's along way and a lot more compost to go!!! (About 25 mores bags full)
Just when I thought it was time for a glass of wine she had another brainwave.  She wanted me to mow a path across the back field following the mark I'd made in the grass with the wheelbarrow when I took the bags of compost down.
No sooner said than done.
So what are we going to call this path? ... Deer walk? ... Yellow Brick Road? ... The Road to Nowhere?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sweet Smells

Well, the postmen are finally back at work ... just in time to deliver our order of 120 bare rooted, young lavender plants!
So we now have 4 'lavender' beds at the end of the Serpentine Walk, lavenders planted in with the roses as accent planting, and we're now looking for homes for the remaining 60 ish plants!

Sue has finally got her way and planted a Clematis at the foot of the Plum tree in the front.  I don't like the idea of flowering climbers growing through trees but then ... since when does it matter what the labourer thinks?
Meanwhile, everything is responding to warmth and sun!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Good News, Good Progress

This week we have both been for 6 monthly health checks and all is well. John's cardiologist even said that his heart is a little better - words no one, least of all the doctors, expected to hear.

To prove he is better, yesterday we made 5 trips to the garden centre and collected 43 bags of compost, each weighing 16 kgs, 1 25kg bag of fertiliser and a 25kg bag of dishwasher salt. We were a source of great amusement to the girl on the till. She was so worried that John would have a bad back!! Today he started spreading it and look at the result.
As you can see we still have some bags left and these will be going on the Christo bed tomorrow.  But we'll still need more!!!

We are under some pressure as we/I  have a large order of plants arriving the week after next and my order of 120 lavender plants which I thought had got lost, is en route. So you know what the future blogs are going to be about. Sorry we're not doing anything else at present. Yes we know we are balmy, but very happy.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Full Steam Ahead

It's March and the weather has warmed up (although we are still getting frosts each morning), so it is full steam ahead in the garden. We/I have changed our strategy this year and I have recruited John full time in the garden throughout March. Once the temperatures rise the weeds always beat me so we may do better with our double whammy approach. Hope springs eternal!!

The most pressing job is covering the four new beds with compost. On Friday we discovered that it was on promotion so I persuaded John that we should make two trips to the garden centre in case they ran out. Well of course they had by the time we returned for the second load, but all was not lost as they had more in stock. The very helpful assistants rushed round and produced another pallet and one man offered to help John load it into the car.  All was going well until....... I saw John on the ground and the man dazed and rubbing his jaw. I had no idea what had happened!! Apparently John had fallen over a bollard (stupid place to put it) and as he fell flung his arms out and punched the man with a super right hand to the jaw. They were both very brave soldiers. When we go next time we feel sure the assistants will scatter as the bush telegraph reports that those "dangerous" people are here again.

So bright and early yesterday John finished spreading on the bank, I sowed some grass seed along the edge and then I began planting in the afternoon.
As it was frosty first thing yesterday I decided that I would re-pot my cannas so that I would get flowers earlier in the season. I had four large pots and the plants had not been disturbed for two years. A nice little job I thought whilst the ground thawed. Wrong. Firstly I had to enlist John's help to get them out of the pots as they had grown so well.  I had triple the number of plants I expected and it took me until lunchtime to pot them up. They are now ensconced in the dining room having been given the usual words of encouragement - "grow you ------- grow!!".

Must dash weeds are calling.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Welcome to the Health Farm

The Gardener has been whittling on about how all of the beds, particularly the newer beds, need a dressing of compost before she starts planting.  So, we have been collecting bags of cheap compost from the local Garden Supplies centre.  As this morning had been messed up with me going to the recycling centre to get rid of the rubbish, and then collecting our mail from the post van in the village square ( the Postal strike is still on !), I suggested to Sue that we could start 'spreading the compost'.

We started with a pile of 15 bags of compost which I'd stacked on the car hard standing.  This went on the 'bank' we've been making for the past 2 years.
The Gardener was happy with a reasonably thick layer ...
...but there's still a long way to go, perhaps another 30 bags worth!

So then we turned our attention to the 'raised' bed in the back garden.  We had built up a stock of about 30 bags of compost in a pile half way down the Alley.
We reached a convenient point to stop, just as it started to rain.  So, about 20 bags used and about 25 more needed.  Some of you will know that, as part of my health regime, I'm supposed to exercise daily, and to this end I bought an exercise bike.  However, as on days like today, I don't always need it.  Today I moved and spread 1400 litres of compost and we need about 2200 litres more.  And that's without the 'Christo' bed and then the 'dry river bed'!!!!

As we were packing away at the end of a constructive day, and the rain was starting to fall, I heard the distinctive honking of geese .. or in this case, Cranes.
Hearing and seeing them is such an uplifting feeling.  Sue rushed off to tell our neighbours and Nadine came out to watch, crying "ah, it's spring!"  And I really think it is!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Foire de L'arbre

Some friends had told us about a plant fair to be held at St Martial de Nabirat on 1st March so, yesterday morning, despite the rain, we went.
This Tree fair is an annual event in its 26th year so I don't know how we've missed it previously!  The whole village is closed to traffic and the streets are lined with stalls and displays.
Despite it being a 'tree' fair there were lots of shrubs and flowers as well.
But the Gardener was very good and we only came away with 2 carrier bags of plants!

Meanwhile, back at the Plant Factory, all available areas with good light are being used.

Our bedroom :-

The dining area:-

The Hall:-

The Landing:-

And of course, the Porcherie/Potting Shed:-

Wait till the delivery of plants arrives from Holland!!!!