Flowers and more flowers

Having read my blogger friend Loulou’s post about roses, there’s obviously a transcontinental love of the rose going on. And let’s face it, what’s not to love?

IMG_0532This is one I planted this year – I have only one rose bush (the one with the pink and cream flowers I showed you yesterday) and I’m already in love with the colour of this new one. They may be blousy and trampy and ostentatious and showy, they may be the over-cultivated, needy Marilyn of the flower world, but I love them. And with colours like a tropical sunset, you can see why.

My favourite non-fruit tree is also in flower. Is it weird to have a favourite tree? I’m such a tree hugger. This is the Indian Bean tree flower or the flower of Catalpa bignonioides for the fancy-pants botanists among you.


Its flowers are not unlike my favourite wild flower, bastard balm (seriously!) which smells of cherry almond bakewells and looks like a pretty little orchid. This tree is huge – another thing I love about having lots of space here – who gets to own a huge tree in their life? The bark is gorgeously ap-peeling and the heart-shaped leaves are just as lovely. It’s the last thing to get leaves and one of the first to lose them, but it is well worth waiting for.

Yesterday, I spent the morning in the garden. It got too hot for gardening after 12pm and I’m a wuss; I could have carried on in the shade but was feeling the effects of doing five hours outside. It’s delicious at 7am. At midday, it’s only fit for mad dogs.


Guess who will be making plum sauce for her Chinese food later in the year?

I managed to finish the brassica patch and move on to hoeing the big patch. I noticed that there is a tiny little corn growing on one of the mini-pop corn already. I can’t wait. I love the cute little blonde hairdos the corn sport. The brassica patch is looking decidedly forlorn without its weeds. I need to plant in some stuff to fill the gaps. That’ll be a job for tomorrow morning, I think. I tied in and trimmed back 30 vines – the rest will get done over the next week unless the weather gets really too hot to handle. I did think about putting up a parasol over the bit I was working on, but it seemed like a lot of faff. I’m a worker butterfly. I prefer to flit from task to task doing a bit here and a bit there. I don’t have the patience to sit things out and be a perfectionist. It’s a good job because a gardener has little time to be a perfectionist; it’ll drive you crazy in trying.

pumpkin flower

The pumpkins are also putting out flowers, though they have yet to set fruit.

I easily slipped back into the habit of 7-11 outside, then spending the afternoon either inside or seeking shade. Today, I even had the luxury of spending a glorious hour on a sunbed under a parasol with a book. Wonders will never cease. Still, it’s no rest for the wicked because the rest of the exam papers get ‘released’ today and it turns into a colossal bunfight over who can mark the most before they all run out. On Saturday, I have a helper arrive – can’t wait! – for a week, and then another from the 23rd, as well as a friend or two en route to other places. It’s a good job the weeds and grass slow down from here on in, because the temperature looks set to stick at 26°C or above for the next two weeks (as well it should at this time of year!) and it gets a little sweaty out under the Charentais sun.

Is it crazy I’ve been thinking of getting up at 6am to go out and garden?


4 thoughts on “Flowers and more flowers

  1. Your new rose bush has gorgeous blooms. Such a pretty colour. And the Indian Bean tree is very interesting. I don’t think they grow here. As least I’ve never seen one.

    Thanks you kindly for the link, my friend, and happy early morning gardening! 🙂

  2. I can tell you that catalpas are very tough. I think they come from the South of the continent but I live in Ontario, Canada, where temperatures of -35 C are not that rare in January and my catalpas are doing fine. What I find strange is that it should be blooming now in the Charente, that is to say at exactly the same time as it is blooming here. I suppose they have their own time table and bloom at the same time no matter where they grow. Don’t you find the blooms look like orchids? The large size of the leaves make them look very exotic I find.

    1. It is funny that they should have a kind of global timetable… It’s one of the great magical things about the planet. I love the orchidy blooms. My tree is covered this year in ways it has never been before.

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