Thursday, 20 May 2010

... And when you come home

Of course, at this time of year, the garden is going mad. It seems that while we were away, the weather was fairly dry, so I'm glad I put all the new pots on the irrigation system. I even put a sprayer into the small plastic greenhouse we use as a temporary shelter for tender plants. It seems to work well and everything gets wet.

The Irrigation controller

Nice surprises are that the new clematis (Avalanche) that we thought would only have a small, bell-like flower, has blossomed into a real stunner. Next year, when it's grown a little, it should cover about half the trellis and set off the roses very well.

We also invested quite a lot in Tulips. We're both very fond of Tulips, though I favour the original, simple, elegant, closed cup types; Marea loves the more extravagant parrot types and the brasher colours.

The Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles Japonica) always produces the goods and, this year, is more laden with flowers than ever. It makes a good rear entrance to the garden.

And just under the Quince is our Lily-of-the-Valley. This took such a hammering a few years ago when we had the courtyard paved that it's good to see it recover so well. The scent as you enter the garden is wonderful. It is, of course, the base for Dior's 'Diorissimo' perfume. It always brings back memories of the days when Marea was a perfumery consultant and I was a display artist (window dresser) in all the best department stores in Leicester. I still only wear Dior cologne - 'Fahrenheit' in Winter and 'Eau Sauvage' in Summer.

May 1st is the Fête du Travail in France - see our attempts to buy a replacement tyre over the 1st May period here The other thing about 1st May is that everyone buys small pots of Lily-of-the-Valley to give to their mothers.

"May 1 is also La Fête du Muguet, and the tradition is to give the ones you love a little bouquet of lily-of-the-valley, for good luck and to celebrate the arrival of spring. Originally the idea was to take the kids into the forest and lose them pick your own muguet together."
Chocolate & Zucchini

The new Magnolia is looking good and will slightly obscure the square corner of the Summerhouse/studio when it grows a bit more.

I really love these 'black and white' tulips. They've really lasted well and look both elegant and slightly wild.

However, out in the fields it is the season to be... a dandelion.

I don't know why, but the village is overrun with pheasants this year; they keep coming into the garden and you can hear them in the fields all around.

And fledglings are everywhere - this one can't quite reach the water in the pond, so is pecking the splashed water off the rim.

As the weather warms up and the northerly winds change to south-westerlies, the air is filled with the heady scent of May blossom (Hawthorn) and, of course, with its pollen!

I don't know the name of this particular shrub and, indeed, it belongs to our neighbours, but I love the way the flowers are held high off the branch almost like shiitake mushrooms.

Finally, among the herb post, the Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) is living up to the 'Arch' bit of its name and growing like a tree outside the kitchen door. It's very tempting to candy some of it, but it seems very labour intensive, boiling it in sugar syrup for hours, etc. Perhaps that's why it seems to have largely disappeared from the shops?

"From the 10th century on, Angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant,[2] and achieved great popularity in Scandinavia in the 12th century and is still used today, especially in Sami culture. A flute-like instrument with a clarinet-like sound can be made of its hollow stem, probably as a toy for children. Linnaeus reported that Sami peoples used it in reindeer milk, as it is often used as a flavoring agent.

In 1602, angelica was introduced in Niort, which had just been ravaged by the plague, and it has been popular there ever since. It is used to flavour liqueurs or aquavits (e.g. Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Vermouth and Dubonnet), omelettes and trout, and as jam. The long bright green stems are also candied and used as decoration

No comments:

Post a Comment