Here we are rapidly approaching the longest day of the year, and time flies by – why can’t it just slow down ? I’d like to press the pause button just for a little while whilst I catch up. So many jobs, so much to do, and not enough hours in the day. Last weekend was wet and grey; and while it was not much fun for us, the garden and vegetables loved it; unfortunately so did the weeds!
The runner beans are smothered in blackfly; if anyone has a natural organic way of getting rid of them please, please let me know. I have tried washing-up liquid and at the moment am squashing them by hand (yuk) and then hosing them off with water…. it’s a wee bit time consuming, to say the least, but I don’t want to lose the entire crop just as the beans are developing.
We have never had grapevines before and we have much to learn, so at the moment it’s rather a case of discovering as we go along; lots of research on Google and lots of help and advice from friends for which we are eternally grateful. In the winter I nervously pruned them, but much to my relief they survived and are flourishing – now onto the next stage. We were up and out early this morning, training them along new wires, trying to tame them.
Even though I’m feeling a little trampled, I’m rather in love with my garden, and once the lawn is mown I think it manages to look good, weeds included.
The scent from the flowering Magnolia Grandiflora is incredible and as I duck down low to mow underneath the perfume is succulent and clean; no wonder it is full of bees. I pulled the branch below downwards to take a look (and to take the photo) and was amazed to see the stamen loose, sitting in the petals like matchsticks.
The mixed flowering-hedge along the drive has also come into its own,
and the terrace, totally unlike the rest of the garden, is a place to linger. It is also the one place where I strive for perfection – that means it is weed free!
It’s not only plants that are growing at lightening speed; so are the chicks, now nearly three weeks old and they scarcely resemble those little yellow fluffy newly hatched bundles. We are fairly sure we have two male and two female, time will tell!
There is little, that can beat fresh food straight from the garden, especially when it is totally organic. I am immensely proud to be able to give the children a simple lunch entirely from our garden and potager, red-currants, our first cucumber, lettuce, baby carrots; whether the goodies are eaten within an hour or less of being picked, or cooked whichever way – raw or thrown on the barbecue, everything just tastes so much better for hard work and good fortune – it all tastes delicious, especially the eggs thanks to our laying hens.
Everywhere around us now, food is being grown. Fields of barley and wheat swim uphill and down dale in the landscape….
Maize and sunflowers – another month of Charente Maritime hot sun and they will be bursting with corn and bright yellow flowers.
I have decided I need a cook, a housekeeper, a gardener and a chauffeur for the children – wishful thinking! In the meantime I am forcing myself to take a break every now and then; the guest-house can wait, and the summer kitchen (a project that has been thought of but not even started yet!) can also wait; the weeds can grow a little higher but the children won’t be at butterfly catching age forever. One has to take the time to walk with them and enjoy their company. Every summer day is precious, and every day I realize how lucky I am.