Monday, 6 May 2013


For over eight weeks, every day, I drove up the drive from the cottage, past the house, averting my eyes from the sight of Nature rampaging through the garden and made my way into town to clean floors, paint walls and repair lino.

And now, with time to garden again, I've no idea where to begin.

The rose beds, the bushes already in full bud? Strangled with buttercup and bindweed tendrils, great juicy thistle, dandelion and dock stems barging their way skywards, cutting out the light and killing the lower branches.

Perhaps the paving round the swimming pool? A jungle of dead nettle, self-seeded alliums, more dock, dandelion and thistle (of course) and speedwell.

Or the loving planted borders either side of the one-day-to-be front door? Now overrun with rye grasses and wild oats and yet more dock and thistles.

Or the lawns, round the house and the cottage?  The grass now so high and stems so coarse that mower and strimmer struggle to do more than just knock the plants down.

I despair at what a mere eight weeks' neglect can do to all my previous hours of care. How do those of you who spend no more than a few weeks here each year cope?

I sit on the bank behind the cottage laboriously extracting fronds of sap-filled grass from the middle of a large cotoneaster that is desperately trying to flower.  Vita and Bertie sit close by, watching me mournfully as I cut back what are obviously their absolutely favourite blades to chew.  Don't be ridiculous dogs!  There are acres of greenery all round us, just waiting to be eaten.


  1. You just can't go away.
    We were at the house in San Jose for a week at the start of the rainy season and came home to triffids...and damned obstinate ones to shift too.

  2. Yep, I know the triffid scenario! :) Round here, only time to go away is January and February and even then ... :)

  3. We don't even try to have a conventional; garden. Our third of an acre is grazed by the neighbouring farmer's young stock in our absence, which stops the hayfield taking over. When we're there I just mow and mow and have flowers in pots and one tiny border which I rescue and replant each summer. I call it rustic charm... :-)

  4. We could do with your neighbour's stock Perpetua! Round here it's all arable - which means I can add wild rape plants to those coming up round the garden. :( I admire your good sense. :)

  5. This is Normandy we're talking about, Sue. The only crops we see are maize (and more maize) and the odd field of barley. Oh, and apples, of course. :-)

  6. Ah! Maize! We too - like a great green fence all round us by end summer. Though I think I've seen some baby sunflowers poking their noses up in one of the fields behind us. Hope so!

  7. It's a pity that the vines don't cross boundaries as well as the odd rape plant and the ever popular (not) poireau sauvage. Going away for a week will produce lots of biomass but the pots and planted stuff will get so o o dry without us.