Thursday, 21 February 2013

A small, green tree frog ...

... clutches at the stem of a plant whose name I can never remember, watching me balefully.

I'm strimming between the shrubs that are growing on the bank which was covered in tired mounds of mallow when we first moved here and he's not impressed that I'm clearing his territory.

My approach to the garden is Jekyll and Hyde - part of me wants to leave everything weedy and overgrown (as the bank has been for the last umpteen months) so that all the birds and insects (and tree frogs) thrive but another part wants it all neat and tidy - clipped box hedges and not a weed in sight.  The latter me is winning at the moment, spurred on by having watched three episodes of Monty Don's "French Gardens" on the BBC.  How do the French keep those vast parterres so impossibly neat?

Bertie is doing his best to create the "natural look" further along the bank - bottom skywards as he frantically tears a hole between lumps of sandstone and old roots.

The bank needs more shrubs.  Those that I planted (what? three, four years ago?) some have thrived, others are struggling and judging from the gaps as I strim back the dead thistles and tall grasses, not a few have died. A trip to the tiny, elderly lady who runs a nursery behind the prison in Villeneuve is called for - her prices are half those elsewhere.

The weather is idyllic for planting - weeks of rain, so the ground has been saturated, followed by mild sunny days.  And everything is springing into life - hence the need to strim.  I'm itching to get on with pruning all the roses as they are already smothered in tiny red leaves but winter hasn't completely released its grip, we're promised sharp frosts for the next few nights, so I'll wait a few more days.

It's time for the cranes to start flying north.

The plant whose name I can never remember silhouetted against the evening sky

Monty Don's French Gardens


  1. Yes, even the non-gardeners amongst us are giving the garden a little tidy. Just in time for the last - one hopes - frost, I've planted in the newly painted (thanks to Him Indoors) concrete planters some greeny things that will require constant watering later and the services of a garden sitter while we are away on hols. I'm also starting to think about the window boxes.
    How a little sun affects our brain!

  2. Hello Lesley - yes I know that "thinking about window boxes" feeling - lovely thought, summer's on its way! I'm delighted I've managed to nurse some of last year's geraniums through this mild winter. Hope I can keep them going 'til it's time to put them out. :)

  3. We've had the cranes going over for about a week now - after a really grey three months it's lifted everyone's hearts. There must have been about a thousand wheeling around overhead yesterday, new flights kept on arriving and joining in the general melé - the noise was incredible/

  4. Oh Victoria, I'm so envious! We're not always under their flight path. Some years we see them, some not. As you say, their flight lifts the heart! :):)

  5. I used to have mown and civilised near the house, veering off into distinctly untidy but nice for wildlife.

  6. Trouble is Helen my distinctly untidy starts right outside the house! :)