For the three months that summer lasted here in France, it was glorious; prolonged scorching temperatures and hardly a cloud or speck of rain to be had. The ground baked, vegetables cried out for water and our French neighbours could not pass by without proclaiming “le sol c’est comme sable.”
September has now arrived and with it the rain. The vegetables are no longer yearning for water, but I do wonder if before long they will be pining (like me) for more sun. I have a mountain of tomatoes which have yet to ripen and the wind this week has knocked over one of my bamboo tripods which is still laden with borlotti beans. With the rain still hammering down I’m afraid that the borlotti beans remain looking somewhat forlorn on the ground. One of today’s jobs is to figure out what on earth I can do to mend broken bamboo canes, heavy with beans that I do not wish to harvest yet.
The arrival of the rain has also brought with it our annual puzzle of ‘who has been digging in my garden?’ Yes with the ground soaked through and finally soft the mystery of which animal is digging up the back ‘lawn’ has returned. I guess that without us investing in a pair of night vision goggles we’ll never be sure if the culprit is a badger or wild boar. Whilst I’m happy that we’re providing some wild animal with a veritable feast of grubs and worms, I just wish that it would be thoughtful enough to tidy up after itself; each morning the grass looks like the aftermath of a children’s party at a McDonald’s.
The seasons here in France seem to change with a click of the fingers. There’s never a gradual change from heat to cold and back to heat, it just happens one night; and thus Autumn arrived. The French (and ourselves) are busying themselves with wood deliveries. The Chasse has recommenced with our otherwise silent Sunday mornings now being interrupted by the odd gunshot and old 4×4 cars flying up and down the lanes.
I’m still hoping for an Indian summer, the heat has not been with us long enough to erase from my memory the long cold winter and lack of spring that we had in France this year. The growing season has been short, vegetables and fruit have been late and are now struggling to complete their cycle.
Happily sun and 20 degrees are forecast for next week and I’m praying that the sun will stay for a few weeks beyond that before finally disappearing until next year.
Whilst the sun does shine for what may be the final time, take the chance to get out into the garden. Now is the perfect time to think about moving and dividing perennials and for planting spring-flowering bulbs. I have Iris, Allium (bulgaricum and purple sensation), and Crocus (cream beauty) bulbs all sat on the side, waiting to go into the ground. There’s plenty to do in the autumn garden so let’s hope that the cold and rain stay away a little longer. I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to start spending my days and nights in front of a lit fire just yet!
Perennials I’m going to divide this autumn include;