Le Garden Rescue: Part Two

A year ago we attempted some de-weeding in our garden; the first of two failed attempts in quick succession. It soon became apparent that simply removing the weeds that took up every inch of our ground was not enough. These weeds were persistent, and seemed to grow back with anger and vigour as if to say “is that the best you’ve got?” The two failed attempts were not simple or easy, instead heavy going and a large drain on the bin-bag resources as at our local Bricomarché. We have a small garden on a steep slope that the previous owners never tended, instead they put up a sign on the terrace above it that said ‘Interdit – ne pas entrer’. Maybe they made two attempts at de-weeding and gave up.

The view we have from our terrace never ceases, and will never cease to overwhelm us. Our kitchen opens up to the most incredible panoramic vista, and the view from the bottom terrace matches it, although for the last nine months it has been spoiled somewhat by the sea of cardboard and soil that has been impossible to ignore. But, extreme measures were required to see off the weeds, and after a little investigating and advice we have hopefully seen off the stubborn buggers, having been starved of sunlight for nearly a year. Some of the cardboard decomposed, the remainder was removed a few weeks ago and the signs so far are good, with very little evidence of re-growth.

Here’s a few photos from a year ago, and another showing a beautifully cardboarded slope.

During our nine-month weed obliteration we made loose plans for the aftermath. Our garden is split into six levels, with a path along one side. There are foot-high border walls bordering each section, seemingly keeping all the soil from slipping to the bottom. These walls were a bit all over the place, and leaning alarmingly towards the lower end of the garden. These have been straightened, secured by lengthy metal stakes and now complimented by a further wall along the path. We would like an abundance of colour and life in our garden; through wildflowers on the lower three levels, potted plants on the second, and the shrubs and greenery that surrounds it. We want birds and insects to enjoy our garden as much as we do and we would like to grow some veggies and enough carrots to keep on top of Pepper’s daily requirement. That’s on the third level where we’ve put a couple of potagers. The top level will be a terrace area, for relaxing and enjoying what we hope will be a feast for our senses.

Some progress, with Pepper’s approval…

Heather’s knowledge of plants, flowers and garden life drastically trumps mine, but I’m glad to have been able to do much of the groundwork whilst she took a recent trip away, including preparing for, and laying a heavy drop of shingle. We have since scattered wildflower seeds and are eagerly awaiting evidence of growth. We are heading back to Edinburgh for a week together in a couple of days to do an overdue family Christmas, as three months ago our trip was scuppered by the grip of the latest covid variant. When we return our attention will turn to the potagers, planters and large empty confit pots, with a trip to our local nursery Les Serres De Biennac planned. The path needs work, as does the ancient bench that (just about) stands at the bottom of it.

We’re also currently working on our gite with the help of our lovely neighbours, one of who just happens to be a master carpenter and watching him work has been a privilege. Our kitchen upgrade is looking fantastic, and our terrace will also see the colourful benefit of our trip to Les Serres, with our planters needing attention for our first guests in April. Now, we’re ridiculously excited about our imminent, delayed family festivities. Spending time with loved ones is precious, and we can’t wait to be with them. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I’ll also be just a little bit keen to get back to our garden, to check on our wildflowers, to say ‘hi’ to our new garden friends, Gregory and Peck, and for final confirmation that we have won our year long battle with the weeds.    

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