First of all, I've been a bad blogger recently. Sorry, really. One excuse is that I've been trying to get the garden in shape for the winter. Some days ago that meant spending hours and hours hacking away at the bamboo patch with a pair of secateurs (borrowed from a neighbour) that were powerful enough to chop through canes as thick as your thumb, sometimes thicker. You think I'm exaggerating. Some of these are massive, I'm guessing seven metres high at their tallest. Once they've crashed to the ground, or on to the arbour or into the nettles, each one has to be chopped into small sections, then bundled and tied with string. I've called the office in Mirepoix and the nice people at the Communauté des Communes will add us to their list on October 26 when they send their colossal fork-lift truck around.
Also on the "to do" list is moving plants around. Sometimes I do stupid things. One, earlier this year, was to plant herbs midway down the garden instead of close to the kitchen door--and to plant the vegetable plot even further. Fine in mid-Summer. Not so good on a rainy day in March.
Our friend Dave who built our spiffy new terrace--two in fact plus a small semi-circular one custom-made for drinking Pimms under the arbour--suggested a potager at the rear of the main terrace. It's not huge but it's surprising how much it holds, and how well it feeds us.
The verveine, thymes, rosemary, sage and oregano have all found new homes there. In front, I'm growing chives, Bright Lights chard (that's the kind with the almost fluorescent pink, yellow and orange stems)and roquette/rocket/arugula. The front row is made up of frisée plants interspersed with red-leaved lettuce with little patches of mâche tucked here and there. I buy the plants at the market, 80 centimes for six (although you often get seven or eight). Everything is deliberately crammed together to allow scant room for weeds. When the frisée or lettuce gets so big that it threatens to leave the mâche in the shade, I simply break off the offending leaves for the salad bowl.
Another day in the garden is earmarked for the planting of 80 narcissus and 60 crocus bulbs. A friend gave us a package as a housewarming gift which inspired me to buy more. On top of that, there are ten Hidcote lavender plants still in the car. I'd been looking for this variety for some time and there they were in Bricomarché this morning when we drove over to buy screw to hold the new handles on the kitchen cabinets--so I grabbed all they had.
And then there's garlic to plant.