05 May 2008

Keeping an eye on the flowers

A neighbor's tamarisk (salt cedar) tree, in flower

This weekend, it was hard to do much to advance the job of getting the kitchen walls scrubbed, scraped, patched, and sanded. The weather was just too perfect and it was hard to stay indoors. We had lunch in the back yard Saturday and then spent much of yesterday afternoon out there, or out on the front terrace, where we sat far into the evening.

View over the Cher River valley from the vineyard.
Those are fields of oil-seed rape, aka colza, on the other side.

Kitchen work or no, I do have to keep track of all the flowers at this time of year. It's hard work, but somebody has to do it. Luckily, Callie likes to go on her walks, so each of us — W. and me — gets a good 30 to 45 minute walk in the vineyard every day.

Here's what the vines are looking like these days.

It was a pleasure to be able to go outside this weekend and not worry about getting rained on. Last week, it seemed like every time I got more than a couple of hundred yards (meters) from the house, I'd get caught in a downpour. One morning it was bright and sunny, but as soon as I went out to walk it poured rain for about five minutes. Another day, I decided to go out early because rain clouds were building on the west. It rained while I was out walking, and then the sun came back out brightly just as I got home.

Columbine flowers in the back yard.
There are pink ones and purplish-blue ones.

Speaking of rain, I have a theory about the orchids in the vineyard. This is the first year I have really noticed them. W. says there were probably some in other years, but I was just not paying close attention. Maybe. But I think it's the rain and wet ground that has caused them to come up in profusion this spring. The ground is still very soft and damp in many spots.

Orchids in the damp spots

It's downright marshy in the lower spots around the vineyard. I read somewhere that there is a plant called a marsh orchid. These might be those. Some are a light bluish-purple, and some are of a deep violet color.

Yellow flowers out in the vineyard

Today, Monday, there are dark clouds out west and the weather report shows a front moving in off the ocean. A rainy day might be just what we need to motivate us to get serious about the kitchen work. Or maybe it won't rain at all. Either way, we have to make some progress today.


We didn't just laze all weekend, by the way. Walt mowed the grass for the second time this year, and I weeded under the artichoke plants to try to give them some breathing room. We'd like lots of artichokes, please. I also spent some time pulling ivy down off tree trunks all around the yard. I don't know how to get rid of the ivy, but I can try to keep it under control. Same with blackberries growing in the hedges.


  1. I'm so glad that the weather has turned nice!

    Also surprised at the size of the "trunk" part of the grape vine. Huge!


  2. it's important to keep track of the flowers.

    this post reminds me of the beginning of wind in the willows, where mole is whitewashing his house at spring cleaning time. and throws down the brush and goes a wandering and meets the water rat, and goes on a picnic, and sings.

  3. read page one here:


  4. Those flowers are so lovely! After looking at your garden all winter, and Autolycus' video on the flowers' market in London, I've decided it's my turn. On Mother's Day, I'm going to the market with my son to get a few plants for my windowsill. I hope I have a green thumb.Cacti shouldn't be too hard...


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