Sunday, 20 May 2012

A cold May

Lilly of the Valley
France voted on Sunday 6th May for a new President. Francois Hollande has been elected by voters who are hoping he will scrap the austerity measures that the previous president tried to impose.  Watching the television immediately after the results were announced, I couldn't help thinking that the pictures were reminiscent of last year's Arab Spring. Cars with people hanging out of the windows waving flags and hooting horns drove around the streets of Paris. Hollande's supporters had gathered in the Place de Bastille to await the results and then to celebrate his victory. Flags flying, fireworks and flares being let off setting the sky red.

Tuesday of this week saw the inauguration of the new President.  A very long ceremonial process. Hollande gave a speech at the Elysee Palace after being sworn in and then later in the day after having toured the streets in an open top car in the pouring rain then gave another very lengthy speech at the Paris town hall. 

The wild flower orchard
After the wettest April on record we must be now experiencing the coldest May on record.  Luckily we have a good supply of wood as from time to time we feel the need to light up the wood burning stove.  Although we have had a few nice days, they have been rare. We did manage to get the grass cut on one warmish and breezy day.  We have purposefully left part of the grass uncut to see if the wild flowers thrive and attract more butterflies. 

It is possible that passers by just think we didn't manage to get it all cut before the rain came down again.  The poly tunnel is up and the tomatoes are thriving, we even have the first flower so hopefully we will get an early crop this year. 

Ready for summer, but protected from the cold May weather.

Unfortunately when I sowed my cucumber, squash and courgette seeds this year I forgot to label them and now I can't identify them.  After looking at a couple of websites I have now decided which are cucumbers and they have also been planted in the poly tunnel, to grow up over the metal trellis that forms the base of the structure.  I just hope they are cucumbers and not courgettes, it will be a case of wait and see.  

Last Autumn we planted up some fruit bush cuttings which had successfully rooted. These have now been planted along the edge of the garden which I hope will become a fruit hedge.
The first shoots of a willow hedge

We also put in some willow hoping to form a woven hedge, just over 50% have taken, so we will either have to wait for them to grow long enough to provide some extra cuttings or find another suitable tree to take cuttings from in the Autumn.

Soft Fruits enjoying the rain and cold.

The soft fruit appears to enjoying this cool wet weather. The red and black currents are full of fruit as is the gooseberry.  The strawberries are full of flowers just waiting to be pollinated.  The raspberries are also full of flower buds, no doubt just waiting for a little more warmth. 


Despite the weather the birds are really active. Blackbirds and blue tits are nesting in the hedging opposite the kitchen door and as soon as it stops raining they are out looking for food. 

 One apparent advantage of the cooler weather is that a lot of  plants are still  flowering, the primroses and violets started flowering in March and are still full of flowers now. They have now been joined by forget me nots and lilly of the valley.

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