Flora Fauna Guests and other News

So, I have learnt to value flowers over the last couple of years. I can’t say that I have learnt the value of flowers as there is so much to learn. Most of our colour appears on plants that have either been given to us, been snaffled from other peoples gardens or we have grown from seed. There are a few exceptions which have been purchased like a couple of Agapanthus and Dianthus for example. Initially our plants came from Clive, our builder friend who was a great gardener and trained as a nurseryman (Day Lillys, Hollyhocks and Phlox). Breezy’s Father gave us all our roses which now flourish each summer. I won’t elaborate on the items snaffled but most were with the owners permission. From Ken’s in Derbyshire we gleaned a couple of Crocosmia Lucifer corms which we are hoping to see flower this year. From Keith in Chamonix cuttings of Forsythia, Dogwood, Bamboo and Willow. These are still tiny but with leaves and buds. Seed has either come from my Parents in Berkshire, been bought, or gathered from the wild or others gardens. Growing from seed definitely gives one huge respect for Nursery folk who may be bringing plants on for years before they look good enough to sell to people who want instant colour.
Then there is all the learning about what flowers when, what height and breadth each plant will attain so that you can get all year round colour and shape in an area. We have not even got to that stage as anything in our garden is plonked until it is moved. It’s fun to learn, just takes a long time and patience.
Yesterday we saw our second family of Great Tits fly the nest from the bird boxes. Each fledgling pokes it’s head out, tentatively. Then there is a couple of wobbles before they takes flight, beating their wings furiously and using far too much energy to stay in the air. I think I would do the same with just an initial briefing from the parents then venturing out of a small dark room into the wide world for the first time. Very soon they start to dip and dive in the air almost playing as their proficiency increases.
Other guests fall into one of two categories, welcome and unwelcome. Deer are welcome as long as they don’t eat from the veg and fruit garden. Though it must be like stumbling across a tuck shop with the door wide open and nobody in attendance. Unwelcome include voles, of which we seem to have an abundance. They burrow everywhere trashing the lawn (which not long ago was a field) and eat the roots of the plants. Having read that they hate daffodils, these have been planted at strategic points to deter them. They also don’t like coffee so we are scattering all the coffee grinds from the local Auberge around the garden. We have also invested in a solar sonar thing which buzzes every few seconds during the day. Then there is Chilli, Alison and Peters dog, which eats at least two each visit by digging up the garden. Chilli, though destructive, is in the welcome category.
Otherwise we have been using up some of our stash of bits of wood salvaged from different places to be more creative. Recycling materials into art of functional items. Food is also a keen interest for us both and so we have been trying out new recipes at least 4 times a week. Somehow this season we have got 5 courgette plants in the garden so I think we may be supplying the Auberge as well as ourselves.

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