Dans le jardin

The heading of this reminded me a little of my very first experience of French, from a textbook, in Mrs Short’s class. She was blousy, busty, middle aged and Welsh. Très bizarre.

Anyway, we had a Longman audio-visual textbook which introduced La Famille Marsaud, including the older daughter, Marie-France. I don’t remember the other family names (a web search reveals the names Jean-Paul and Claudette) but Marie-France stuck in my mind, mainly because I thought it very odd to include your country as part of your name. I wish I had been called something-something. Something-England. Something very English like Polly, and then England. Polly-England. Not quite the same as Marie-France. Anyway, I was convinced M. Marsaud was always ‘dans le jardin’ and the website confirms it. Sometimes, my memory is reliable.

But… one of the nice things about coming back is getting into the garden. I love my garden at home, and here, it’s less of a garden and more of a functional plot for stuff. There aren’t pretty flower bushes, or bulbs. There aren’t lovely plants, just only functional ones. I like this, but I do want a little more ornament in amongst the practical stuff. However, I was perfectly happy with functional stuff.

I raked leaves. I feel compulsion with leaf-raking. I can’t stop it once I’ve started until there isn’t a single leaf left. Not a single, solitary one. I know you realise at this point that this is quite a ridiculous compulsion, since it’s autumn and there are lots of leaves. Only yesterday I swept up all the plum leaves from the tree nearest the house and today, there are just as many again. The definition of futility, perhaps. I’ve got lovely piles of leaves all over the garden, waiting to be lifted and put on the compost heap.

I also cleared out some more of the polytunnel. I’d completely weeded it back in April. We’d planted some stuff and set up a basic watering system. Unfortunately, without being able to weed and prune, by the time I got here in July, it was like Day of the Triffids.

At first, this lovely poly tunnel (quite wrecked, knackered and in need of complete dismantling and ‘re-mantling’) was a mecca of order. I had neat rows of herbs and veggies starting off, all composted in well and watered well.

However, the watering system died before we were back out, some stuff died off and other stuff flourished. I weeded it a lot and sorted it out, so that by the time we went back to England in June, it looked like this:

Next time, we made sure the watering system was okay. Between June and July, this happened…

It’s quite nice to have it back to some kind of order now. I’ve planted some lettuces in, some carrots and some broad beans. There are still some final tomatoes in there that went a bit rampant. This time I shall be keeping a closer eye on it. Still, it is nice to be digging it up and finding potatoes going spare, as well as the remaining weeds. The problem was, once we’d let it go between June and July, there was no getting it back. I had some lovely-looking Kale in there that completely went to seed. This coming year, I shall be keeping a much closer eye on things!!


One thought on “Dans le jardin

  1. Hi Justine:

    Jealous of your “poly tunnel.” I could grow some much more with one of those (we have a short growing season here!).

    Our French teacher in elementary school was Swiss (and the French she taught us was totally different than any dialect spoken in Canada). I can’t remember the last name of our “family”, but I remember Marie-Claire being the youngest girl, and a dog named Pitou…


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