Le Garden Rescue

After the worst winter’s weather many locals can remember, we’re currently in the middle of what in Scotland would be described as freak temperatures with a deluge of blue skies and sunshine. In the UK temperatures can occasionally hit the high teens in late February, here it’s the norm or c’est la vie. So, we’ve been out lots and our evening meals are now accompanied by birdsong. As well as our daily Pepper walks, we (well, I) can now add a round of golf to our outdoor activities and as from today, gardening. The less said about the golf the better, other than to say I loved being back out on a course. It’s just a shame to know I’ll need to be out playing quite often to become consistent, playing to a level I know I can reach. Unfortunately Frank is a very willing partner, so I’m resigned to one or two more rounds. There’s even a chance that Heather may join us after some driving range dates with Carol. Here’s hoping.

Until last year my experience of gardening was restricted to pruning, mowing a lawn and pulling up weeds. Last year’s lockdown while living in Edinburgh gave us time to transform, in a Charlie Dimmock style, Heather’s back garden from an overgrown unused space to what potential buyers were calling “beautiful”. Neither of us are horticultural experts although Heather can put a name to most flowers that I just call white, yellow or purple. I’m exaggerating and I’m learning. But, last year’s lockdown garden transformation gave me a taste of green fingery and what’s required in our new garden should be within our capabilities. Before purchasing our new home we had dreams of a garden including a lush lawn, flowerbeds, a vegetable patch, countryside views and room for Pepper to frolic. We don’t have that here. We have two terraces, a shed, a summer kitchen and a small, very slopey unused piece of arid land. But we also have views to die for.

weeding begins

The house needed very little doing to it when we arrived. Not that we had much to do it with anyway, as most of our householdy things remained in Edinburgh. But we always knew that once the warmer, drier weather arrived the garden would be the area we’d be able to transform. It does though have its limitations. It drops down steeply, not exactly a white-knuckle ride but it’s not suitable for a lush lawn or outdoor pool. A veggie patch at the bottom where it levels off is our plan, with the rest shingled with potted vibrant plants, a wee walkway down and a deck at the top for just relaxing, because the two other terraces just won’t suffice.

Today we started weeding. We have much experience of this from Edinburgh, not that it requires any training, however there are do’s and don’ts such as take all the weeds out and make sure you take time to admire the view. And don’t forget treat yourself to a glass of wine or two when you’ve finished, which we managed quite nicely. The previous owners clearly did not use the garden area as the lower terrace has no further access, so a scramble over the decking is currently required. It will take us weeks to complete the weeding and shingle prep, probably months to get anywhere near a finished garden, but it’s been good to get started today and to get a little sweaty. Any outside building or resculpting will require a local written application, so that’s something we’re really looking forward to.

two hours later…

Spring is definitely just around the corner as new colours (flowers) are appearing as well as lizards, a kaleidoscope of butterflies and occasional short-sleeved shirt. The flooded trails and pathways have nearly dried up and it’s time to put our winter coats away. Our own summer wear is a slight issue as it’s all back in Edinburgh, so Monsieur La Poste may be required. Shorts and sandals may not be required just yet, and although the wet weather may return it feels like winter has done its thing. A six-month French summer as opposed to a similar length Scottish winter is one of the many reasons we came here. Our outdoor life feels like it has just begun.         

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