Le Jardin

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.

What does one do with a greenhouse? mine is a storage shed

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.’

The outhouse. Complete with bench seat and hole in the ground. Conversion to chicken coop?

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?

The side garden with a patch of cosmos and chaos.

That all took some sweat equity, nettle stings, and jigger bites.

Making headway.

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.

This became the Cosmos corner.
Better, right?

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 left end of the Ornamental Garden. An overgrown working well surrounded by Mint.

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.

The middle of the garden. Bedlam.

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.

The right end, coming together.

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.

The well, after a good clearing.

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.

My example of strategic placement to fool the eye. But the roses lost all of their leaves due to some odd spotted sickness…

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!

A little detail. We got this glass hummingbird in Truckee, when we went for my sister’s wedding.
All of this was stagnant, lying flat and listless, until I got these plants lifted and staked. Still new blooms daily…
Mid cleanup looks like nothing was saved. But this is all filled in with foliage again.


13 thoughts on “Le Jardin

  1. Avatar Lynn Stewart says:

    laur….a big endeavor but you are making huge progress!! glad it makes you happy!! looking great already!

  2. Avatar Beth says:

    Love these posts of your adventures in France- my only complaint is that they are not frequent enough! Also, have you not heard of Round Up; of which, per Jeff, I am the Queen. It works wonders on those persistent obnoxious outgrowths. In addition, I have found a product that seems to ward off the bunnies and whitetails! I finally have some flowers and being perennials I hope to see them next year- time will tell.

  3. Avatar Renee O says:

    The best thing about your garden will be the continued surprises. Weeds will forever plague your garden but the challenge is half of the fun. I constantly battle them in my vegetable garden but sometimes victory is mine. You are making amazing progress. Stay strong. I’m sure Sable is loving life. Cudos to you and Howard. Can’t wait for your next update …

    1. Avatar Laura Lee Drucker says:

      Sable tries every which way from Sunday to drop the ball in the middle of my work….and then flips in a patch of sun and moans with frustration….

  4. Avatar Dolan Dana says:

    Remember the part of the jump rope song…How does your garden grow?
    Thanks for letting us have a thorough peek at yours! I’m sure by next Spring it will be ready for planting. Then you must do another blog with the hard won results!
    Lovely blog!

  5. Avatar Karen says:

    Laura Lee – I so enjoyed reading this – love the ‘clucking’ image 🙂 Can just picture you fussing about …. excited for Spring to see what pops up!

    1. Karen, your garden with all of your single hand hard work inspired me to jump in.

  6. Avatar Jan Hart says:

    Laura Lee, this property looks absolutely lovely and luscious! I am pretty jealous you’ve got a greenhouse and just need some elbow grease, shovel-digging, soil amending, etc. I’m sure by the time I get there it is going to be absolutely gorgeous! Did you take the dragon with you? He would look so handsome there! As one who has just cut down my entire garden for the winter this is a breath of fresh air. Enjoy!

    1. Jan, yes! Puff survived the Atlantic Crossing and arrived in one piece. That dragon has been with us for 18 years. I agree, I think I will move the planter and place him there. Will send photo:)

  7. Avatar gail Pudaloff says:

    Oooh-La-LA ma cherie Laura LEE!! LOVE that you bought this and LOVE HOW ”neuro-muscularly” you are INvested in this….especially the Planting*(s)!! veryVERY AMBITIOUS OF YOU! I know how exhausting and, at times, difficult gardening can be….one needs to often feel like ”Mighty Mouse” to keep IT all going….errrr…or shall I say ‘GROWING!’ Brava to you many xs over…..as I’m a true Francophile, tho’ I’ve never been there ‘at your latitude nor citycode,’ I love how you’ve made friends from the Get-Go, and on-going as well….and your love for Adventure (yes, I surely include Howard AND darling Sable!), you have really ”implanted” yourself/&yourselves over yonder!
    I can almost smell the sweet scents of your plantings…..and will most certainly be following your ”Flowers-and-Vegies-that-will-be in multiples!”

    Bonne chance ma cherie LauraLee ~~

    gail&bob (PS….would it be a-ok w/ you if my ‘big bro’ Ross wanted to join in on your website? He’s my ‘Prof. Brother’ and I know he’s interested in lots, esp. traveling and yummies of many types…. looking forward to your answer AND your many ‘adventures to follow!’

    1. Gail you are always so kind! Of course share my site. But it might be a bit boring for Ross….XX

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