Sunday, 18 September 2016

Gardening Needs a Sweater and Long Trousers.

There's definitely a nip in the air.  Tod lit the fire in the lounge last night (this hot summer has made us soft).

Was it really only last Monday I lingered in Lacanau, reluctant to leave the beach in the late afternoon sun?  And drove home through the dark with the car thermometer reading thirty-four degrees.

I zigzag across the lawn extracting long bleached maize leaves that are huddling in small groups between the bushes.

My prayers for rain were granted as storms during the week drove through the Bay of Biscay, travelling on the coat-tails of a small tornado that flung Monsieur F's field across our garden, lifted the morning glory-draped trellises from the poolside off their posts and hurled the swimming pool cover into the pool.

The mess is worth it.  The water butts are full for the first time in two months.  I cheerfully pull up barrow-loads of dead weeds that have succumbed to the heat - their roots slipping easily from the damp earth.

The last of our paying guests have departed, so I trot backwards and forwards to the cottage, linen and towels in my arms and breath in the sweet damp smells of autumn.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The French Summer Holidays are Over!

Lacanau-Océan 23rd August 2016

Le Grand Crohot 5th September 2016

Friday, 2 September 2016

I'm bored ...

... with this endless hot, dry summer.

I email our next gîte guests and sign off, saying I hope the good weather will continue for them.

It's not true.  I long for lower temperatures, a cool breeze and rain. Days of rain, not the occasional ten minutes-worth of droplets every two weeks or so.

I husband water. The pots round the cottage are done daily.  New bushes, foolishly planted early summer, just as the rain ceased, are fussed over and I fret when I see their new leaves droop. The veg patch is done every night and still the stems of the cucumbers and tomatoes turn brittle and crack. Everything else - trees, bushes, roses, perennials - have to manage as best they can.

A large viburnum by the gate to the swimming pool, tough as old boots, suddenly starts shedding yellowing leaves.  The canna lilies stubbornly refuse to bloom, curling their leaves into long thin pointed tubes.

Plants that are supposed to thrive in heat - lavender, majoram, grey furry-leaved sage - are dull and dusty.  The occasional rose struggles to flower, petals pale and brown edged almost as soon as they open.

I try weeding, but the ground is baked rock hard and stems snap as I pull them.

I itch to get out there and dig, mulch, move plants that are struggling, redesign the cottage border so it's easier to care for. Instead, I lurk indoors, glad of the shade and the draught through the pulled-to shutters.

I look at the meteo long-range forecast and it shows nothing but sunshine. Our next guests will be delighted as they lie by our pool, which has been at a pleasant twenty-eight degrees centigrade for weeks now.

I, on the other hand, will be silently praying for rain.