I am not showing you the Luxembourg Gardens, in Paris. So relax. I have not even been to them.
Sometimes I think you kind people are waiting for such a post…where I photograph and go into detail about a cultural, artistic, or dining experience, here in France. But the way I see it is this: you can google virtually anything, see professional photographs, and have a journalistic read about any such topic or place in this country. Who needs me?
This space is for fun and for me to have a vent sesh if I need one. And some of you actually like hearing about our little life and how it is unfolding, here, in the rural countryside.
We are actually coming up on a year….We can’t believe it. We have been in our home, outside of Le Dorat, since the very end of June. And we have been hard at it. Some of you are waiting for the grand tour, but I have decided to start outside. After a drought. It has been bad, having such restrictions placed re: the hose pipe. Why can’t they just say spigot?
There has been a little sneaking around, in the very early AM, or later PM, dragging the hose all over and selectively choosing what plant gets the sweet relief of l’eau.
So. Our great outdoors was vastly overgrown and weed engulfed on the day of closing. And I was still weak from Covid. And it was hot. And April and Petros flew over from London expressly to help us unpack boxes, break them down, and get all of that debris to the decheterie (dump). Somewhere in there, Petros and Howard put the lawnmower together, and haphazardly pushed it around the yard, proving to me that the amazon purchase worked. We all walked around wondering what to do with the rest of it.
And that meant, nothing, for a good six weeks.
The previous owners had some designated areas for flowers and vegetables, and then some random lets stick a plant here, because we can, sections. There are fruit trees that are not thriving due to a late, hard frost, and the aforementioned drought. There is also a greenhouse with some giant type of cabbage that has refused to disappear, an area in back of the greenhouse that we have named ‘the desert’ that has some old garlic bulbs, an ancient outhouse, old compost piles, miscellaneous unused building materials creating havoc over here and over there, a creepy and roofless ‘room’ filled with more questionable debris, a very prickly berry patch, a square of garden with an old rug coming up through the soil, which in this neck of the countryside could possibly mean a dead body…and all borders are overgrown with every manor of wild roses, hibiscus, brambles, weeds, et all. And there are giant thorns. Naturally.
I sent my sister in MT an epic pictorial of both the inside and outside of the house. To the outside she simply said, ‘you have your work cut out for you there.’
I am not growing food at this juncture, so the first step was to rip out the messy vegetable patch, move some cosmos to the potato plot, ensconce my buddha, and gravel the rest as a shaded seating area. Gravel instantly tidies a spot up. Eventually our little fire pit (a black cauldron, sitting in the garage awaiting Howard’s renovation of it) will go there as well. S’mores anyone?
That all took some sweat equity, nettle stings, and jigger bites.
And our French neighbors across the street, while enjoying their 2 hour lunch on the front veranda, applauded (literally) my muscle in shoveling gravel. To Howard’s credit, he did the bulk of that task.
But it really was a fast fix and I was jazzed to jump into the main, shall I say, ‘ornamental’ part of the garden.
The ornamental garden needed weeding. I felt it necessary to work slowly, in case there was a snake, in all of the mouldering old leaves and clover. Because if there was, I would run away, and hire professionals. I had to decipher what was useless, needed replanting, staking, cutting back, death. I have no education in gardening, so every move was a crap shoot. But it came together and for the last 3 weeks I have puttered around in it, clucking like a mother hen.
A cute moment was when, after removing so many peach pits during this endeavor, I explained to Howard how the previous owners must have put them there instead of the compost pile, to feed the earth. He then explained to me, that the entire ornamental garden was under a peach tree, and therefor the pits were from fallen fruit. Ah. Oui.
Continued weeding, rearranging, watering, more clucking. There are no high end adventurous plants in this little jungle, but as a newbie, that is for the best. And now, after a raw, wet spell, every weed I ever pulled is back with a vengeance. But next week is sun and so let the fun begin again. Because I love it.
Gardening just quells that which needs quelling. At least for me. And I am laughing as I type this because listen to me, like I am Monty Don or King Charles III. But who cares and who is judging my little plot of what I am sure will be trial and error? I can always showcase cute statues and place potted things around to make it look convincing.
I plan to be in this home for a long time, despite the insidious stagnant water smell we are currently dealing with (a post for another day), and this is just the beginning of the garden overhaul. Sadly, I got waylaid photographing my progress, and have no proof of how sweet it looked for a few weeks. It is a bit leggy and bogged down right now, as I got lazy with the damp weather that arrived. But I intend to work through the winter, as I know the snakes that I have not seen will be sleeping….keep you posted!