And then the rains came…

Or, at least I hope they do. It’s been dry around here and we are much in need of a few showers for the garden.

It’s beginning to look like a proper potager again – it always amazes me how it can go from weeds or bare soil to great big plants in such a short period of time. It’s really quite wonderful.  It’s amazing that it can look so empty and then be so full just a few short weeks later.

Things are beginning to move on into the garden. The kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks broccoli and cauliflower have all gone outside in the last week, waiting for a right good soaking I hope. The potatoes are beginning to appear, so I’ll be earthing them up soon, and my latest sowings of broad beans and peas are showing. Some lettuces have gone out already and I built a new bed for the clematis I picked up a few weeks ago. It’s going to be a really simple bed, and as the bottom is shady and the top is sunny (which I believe just might work for the clematis) I’m going to see if I can’t find some hostas.


I had both a variegated and a simple hosta back in the UK, and they did really well considering they are possibly a slug’s favourite meal. I’m hoping it will be okay here for them too, tucked up against the wall. There are lots of maidenhair spleenwort ferns that have taken up residence in the wall – actually a very handsome wall, if I do say so myself. On the top, there are some sempervivum that have practically taken over an old oil can and a couple of dishes.


So I dug about 50 cm down and put in a border, planted up the clematis and put in some lilies a friend gave me. I’d put in some pansies as well, but the chickens came and had a real scrape around with them before I could run back with the netting. I’ve also planted some Asclepias tuberosa, or butterfly milkweed. I might move that though, because it doesn’t really go with what I had in mind.

I’d figured I’d have a couple of hostas and some ox-eye daisies. I was quite looking forward to some subtlety, especially after yesterday’s post. And what have I gone and done? I’ve planted orange flowers. Not exactly subtle, now, is it?

Maybe it’ll end up a little show-off corner.

As to what else is in and what else is up…

  • Gardener’s Delight tomatoes
  • Super Marmande tomatoes
  • Alicante tomatoes
  • Super Roma tomatoes
  • cauliflower ‘merveille de quatre saisons’
  • musselburgh leeks
  • Autumn Giant leeks
  • kale
  • sweet banana pepper
  • Rachel’s cauliflower seeds that I can’t remember the name of
  • cheap aubergines
  • expensive aubergines
  • savoy cabbage
  • oak-leaf lettuce
  • red lettuce
  • brussels sprouts
  • basil
  • red cabbage
  • Webbs lettuce
  • tabasco pepper
  • poppies
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • more lettuce
  • pumpkins
  • courgettes
  • Reine Marguerite
  • sunflowers
  • soucis
  • cornichons
  • prairie fire pepper
  • more Gardeners World tomatoes
  • runner beans
  • normal courgettes
  • round courgettes
  • coriander
  • cosmos
  • scabiosa
  • broccoli Romanesco

I am very glad I didn’t plant out my tomatoes though – there was a frost this morning. That’s almost the end of April and there’s been a frost. It’s a good two weeks later than last year. All my ratatouille vegetables are still inside, keeping warm in the lean-to.

Once the rain has given my seedlings a good watering, I am going to plant out the rest of the cabbages and broccoli, and put in a line of turnips. Then, finally, I’ll be able to plant up the big patch. It feels like most things are in, or in a position to go in when the weather is right.

At the weekend, I went looking for two kiwi plants for my friend Rachel. It was her birthday. She is a keen gardener as I am, and she has very good taste. We tend to like the same kind of plants I think. I found a nursery in Montbron that is possibly just as good as some of the nurseries I went to back home. I used to drive out to Lady Green garden centre between Southport and Liverpool – I picked up a lot of great plants there, as I did at Crocus. I wish I knew if there was an equivalent of Crocus here. They do lots of specimin plants and perennials that are harder to find in your average garden centre (which is why I loved Lady Green) although the queen of garden centres was Bents, out off the East Lancs road.

I did kind of wonder if the pepinière in Montbron would have a website, and they do! I love this place. It’s small, but they have things I’ve never seen anywhere else in France, like witch hazel. Not only do they have a great website, especially for France, they also have a great English version too! Bonus. That is so infrequent. I write things sometimes that require research, and you wouldn’t believe the number of French websites aimed at tourists that have the worst Franglish. Including, I must add, some of the top-rated places in the region. If they don’t have Franglish, they have nothing at all. That made me even more impressed by the pepinière in Montbron. Not only did they have the best plants I’ve seen, but they have a great website that doesn’t make sounds when you press things and doesn’t rely on flash and has an excellent translation – not that they need to, or, indeed, should.

It also has little show gardens, a bit like Chelsea. I like the fact that the owner is obviously a real plant lover. It makes a change because most of the nurseries round here are chains and they really don’t seem to care much about their plants. It shows when a nursery really loves their plants. You can see it in everything they do.

8 thoughts on “And then the rains came…

  1. Imagine! A French website that doesn’t make sounds or use flash! I was unaware that such a thing existed!!

    The nursery at Montbron sounds like a real find! (seriously)

  2. pic 2, we call those “hens and chickens” or “hens and chicks”. old people had them when i was young. just to make you feel good. lol. peaceup, billy

  3. I want to say that I loved to read about Heston’s birthday party. Your photos, on every subject, are just wonderful and bring it all, everything to life. And, to keep “on topic”, the garden and garden ideas, look great too. That helmet……..stunning.

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