Gourmet Girl Denise here from the beautiful Loire River Valley, France. Spring has come early to the Loire this year, and the winter was very mild. Many of you may already know that in the States I worked as a landscape designer, and although I have yet to create gardens for clients here in France, I have been working hard on my own. So this post will be mostly about what I am accomplishing here in the gardens of Le Petit Saint-Barnabé and the amazing plant life I am encountering here in my local environs around Mouliherne.
These past two weeks the sun has been out and temperatures have been in the low 70’s. So I donned my steel-toed work boots, ran out to the garden, and began setting huge stones as a border to what will be my future, gravel, circular driveway. It’s times like those that I wish I had a significant other to help me lift some of those stones! But with a dolly and a steel digging bar for leverage, I managed to make quite a dent in the border. I even planted out a portion of it with daffodils, daylilies that needed dividing, and bearded iris that I have been storing since I dug them up last fall. It doesn’t look like much yet but it should be a really great show this summer!
Soon the concrete well in the center will be faced with stone and sport an iron bucket lifter. Just for show as this is not the main well on my property.
While I was working away a very sweet scent filled the air. In the background you can see the source of that aroma; a huge, white flowering ornamental cherry. Here’s a closer view:
I walked up for a closer look and it was covered in at least five different kinds of bees, and lovely butterflies! They were working the tree over after their long winter’s sleep.
A Carpenter Bee
And my favorite, Megabombus or Bumble Bee!
Here is one of the many butterflies that were busy gathering nectar too. I think they are Buckeyes but I am not sure. If any of you know, let us know.
I was overwhelmed by the sweet perfume and the humming sound made by all of these beautiful creatures! I have added this short video that I hope you will be able to open. Turn your sound up!
I recently went on a bike trip with an English friend of mine to visit one of the oldest trees in France. It is a Chestnut tree, a really old soul!
This tree brings new meaning to the word ‘gnarly’!
I am planning my veggie garden or potager now and am planting some strawberries today to get it started. I have already planted three artichokes and begin indoor seeding my future tomato plants. It is still too early to plant those warm weather crops, as it has been known to freeze at least one more time before the end of March here. This lovely weather is sometimes called ‘false spring’ here in the Loire but is the reason the Kings and Queens of France built their many lovely chateaux here. April first I will plant the rest of my larger ‘potager’ with an eye to canning my soon to be bumper crop of tomatoes and make jam from my peaches, nectarines, figs, and pears. I hope you are enjoying the weather where ever you live! And don’t forget to get outside in nature and enjoy the birds, butterflies, and bees as well as the endless variety of life on this garden of Eden planet we have inherited. Camping is a great way to do just that! Where are you planning on camping this year? Let us know here.
Denise, Gail, and Lindsey