Quoi de neuf?

It’s an almost exhausting onslaught of work-work-work-work at the moment. All good. I like work. It’s all lovely work too, and it’s nice being work-tired. It’s also nice to stop and chat and meet new people. I stopped for coffee yesterday with the fabulous Hege to discuss my design input. She’s so cool, she puts me to shame, although I think we’re both hankering for a dress-up occasion.

Now the lawnmower hasn’t yet had an outing, though the lawn needs doing. I guess that will be a job for next week. Steve’s been helping my dad conquer the plot of land at Charmé – mostly by setting fire to stuff, as far as I can tell. It’s the monthly ‘freebie’ weekend where some venues are open for nothing, so we’re going to go over to Aubeterre on Sunday. It’s amazing that I’ve been here two years and haven’t been yet. We’re going to take a picnic and stop somewhere on the way. I’d leave it til May, except the boys aren’t here. I can’t do it in June because I’ll be marking, and by July and August, the department doesn’t do the free days at all. So it’s a case of now or never, really. Unless we want to pay. And we don’t. I’m cheap like that.

So it might be Monday before the lawn gets a mowing. That’s okay. The weather looks like it might cool a bit by then. It’s been baking these last few days. Plus, there are lots of other little jobs that need doing if I get so much as a minute. I’ve not even managed to get anything planted this week – it’s been a case of keep it watered and get out of the house. I’ve got so much that either needs to go in the propagator or needs to go in pots or into their growing space. The mirabilis have popped up, the broccoli I planted in last week have also put out a couple of little leaves. The turnips – it’s going to be tomorrow, or never. They’re getting too big to be handled. Calendula and last week’s asters, as well as the marguerites are all showing leaves. It’s taken a week for them to pop up – not bad at all. I’ve not seen any sign of my radishes yet, but it’s early days. And the courgettes and cornichons have also got their first leaves!

It’s going to be a busy, busy Monday and Tuesday next week!

I’ve got some Calendula Pink Surprise to sow.

The flower looks like this:

This blog has some lovely images on it, as well.

The next thing that will be planted is Pepper Prairie Firewhich are apparently an extremely hot chili pepper. I’m not a big lettuce fan, but I’ll also be planting some ‘Webbs Wonderful’. This is a loose lettuce which should serve Steve’s need for a vehicle for his salad dressing.

I’ve also got some kiwi fruit seeds, though I’m not sure if they’ll make it through to a full tree (though why not? I’ve got a lemon tree outside that I grew from a pip. It may never get any lemons on it, but it’s a lovely pot plant anyway and I like it very much…) They’ll be going in the propagator when the other stuff comes out. I’ve got some achillea that have put out their tiny, tender little leaves and thin, white stems, and some scabiosa.

I’ve really got to get building my flower garden in the next couple of weeks – otherwise it will be so dry the soil will turn to dust. I think a lot of organic matter is called for! I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to put it yet. I don’t really want it in full sun – it’s absolutely searing hot here in full sun and most places are so far away that they will be a pain to water. I figure a little light shade won’t hurt.

I’ve got a few options. One is to build a raised flowerbed in our courtyard. Another is that we’ve got a little space under a couple of trees – which is pretty shady, but also quite a bit cooler and more moist. The other area – I think my third choice – is down at the side of the garden along the hedge. There are a few things in already but it’s not very pretty, so it could do with being all flowery. The only problem is that it’s quite far away from the rest of the house. It also gets morning sun, but then not very much for the rest of the day.

One potential site for a flower garden

The other potential place is here:

Other site... minus the step ladder

This site is nearer, but drier… though the bath pipe comes out beneath the peach tree on the right. Now that’s efficient grey water use for you. But the site is in shade til about lunchtime and then sunny until the sun sinks behind the house – maybe about six hours. I suspect I may end up doing both, but we’ll see!

I planted up the turnips today and noted what other things have popped out or are yet to pop. I suspect slugs are wreaking havoc in the polytunnel, but only on the lettuces, which are kind of like little leaf-less stems. I’d be very sad and hungry in there if I were a slug. I’ve removed the lettuces. Maybe they’ll move onto the leeks and the cabbages, though they seem untouched. Cornichons and courgettes have made an appearance, as have the asters and the campanulas.

All rows of peas and beans have now got shoots, though something is clearly eating the beans. Time for a bath in nettle tea, I think! They also all need stakes in the next few days. By then, all magazines should be out, I hopefully won’t have surprise clients and I’ll finally get a bit of a rest. Mind you, I just got my request from AQA to mark in the summer. Yes, you’re right… there’s definitely no rest for the wicked.

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