Weekend harvest

Somehow a whole week has passed since I last posted on this blog and during this time spring carried on its one step forwards, two steps backwards progress, still feeling cold at times but with enough sun – and plenty of rain – to keep the plants growing well. In the garrigue some of the wild flowers are already passing their best. Wild garlic:

1-wild garlic

and wild salsify – I think I’ve posted a photo of this beautiful star-shaped flower before but I’m doing so again because this is probably the last one I’ll see this year.

2-wild salsify


In the garden, our big purple iris is almost embarrasingly big and purple:

3-big iris


and the white cistus – my favourite of the cultivated cistuses – is flowering, its delicate flowers lasting only a day at a time before being replaced by others waiting to burst out of their buds:





We’re thinking ahead from spring to summer crops now and this morning we planted out six peppers that have been nurtured up till now in mini-greenhouses on the balconies. These first six plants are of a variety that we call A and A Spanish as the seeds originally came from our friends A and A who had brought an especially tasty red pepper home from Spain a few years ago.

6-pepper plant


I’m very glad that I sowed two double rows of broad beans last autumn, one in October and another in November, because the second row is now producing huge pods while the first hasn’t finished yet either. In past years I’ve sown one double row in the autumn and then another in February, but I’ve found that the February-sown row never does very well, perhaps because there isn’t enough water for them at crucial times. Autumn-sown broad beans do much better here, as shown by the 4.5 kilos we picked today.

7-broad beans

These (most of which will be frozen), another small artichoke, some wild thyme from the garrigue and some wild flowers Lo Jardinièr had brought home to identify made the kitchen table look full of possibilities:

8-kitchen table


I cooked some of the broad beans straight away for lunch, in an earthenware dish over a low heat in olive oil, adding chopped garlic and oregano leaves and some tomato concentrate, then, once they were cooked which took only 5 minutes, some chopped leftover cooked artichoke hearts.


>Garden bloggers’ bloom day


I haven’t participated in this for a few months, but this morning I noticed how many flowers are out in the garden at this time:

Salvia, and close-up right …
DSC09370 Lantana DSC09372
A Himalayan plant – Ceratostigma griffithii – thanks Yvonne!
DSC09374 Savory DSC09375 Wild rocket
DSC09377 DSC09395 Dahlias, red and pink
DSC09393 DSC09382 Osteospermum
DSC09383 Morning glory … DSC09384

and another one clashing with the cotoneaster berries

DSC09387 Rosemary DSC09391 Lantana
DSC09399 A vegetable garden failure – radicchio flowers DSC09401 and late flowering passion – the last passiflora flower, I think, for this year.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

>Winter sun and light / Le soleil et la lumière d’hiver


Today has been a perfect Languedoc winter day.  The light is so bright here when the sun shines and the air is so clear in winter that everything looks in focus.  Even though it may be only 12 degrees C, the sun feels hot on your face, so long as you’re sheltered from the north wind.

light   sky_1_1_1

Aujourd’hui il a fait du temps parfait de l’hiver languedocien.  La lumière ici est si éclatante quand le soleil brille et l’air est si clair en hiver qu’il semble que tout est au point.  Mème qu’il ne fasse que 12 dégrées, le soleil sent chaud sur ton visage, si tu es à l’abri du vent du nord.

Good weather for working in the garden, so we cleared some more ground. / Du bon temps pour le travail au jardin, donc on a nettoyé encore de terre.

croustillous   salad_1_1 daurade_1_1

It was market day, so for lunch we’d bought a croustillou (pork rib) for me and a dorade (sea bream) for Lo Jardinièr to eat with freshly picked spinach, rocket and sorrel leaves and a glass of red wine from Domaine de Montesquieu.

Docking the Bay

It seems strange now to remember how we used to try to persuade our little bay tree to grow in a pot on the terrace in Wales.  Here bay trees grow everywhere, like weeds, and we use the leaves in cooking every day.  One huge bay tree grows in our neighbours’ garden and overhangs the fence just where we want to build a cold frame.  They were there today so we asked if they minded if we cut one of the branches.  ‘Coupez, coupez!’ was the answer, so Lo Jardinièr sawed it down.  There’s still a lovely big tree left, but it won’t shade our cold frame now.

cold frame_1_1 sawing bay 1_1_1
sawing bay 2_1_1 On a coupé une branche du laurier sauce qui donnait de l’abri au coin où nous voulons construire une serre.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

A few hours early, here are some flowers for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day:

lemon flowers jan_1
lemon flowers/ fleurs de citronnier
vinca - jan_1_1
the Vinca has flowered all winter/  a fleurit tout l’hiver
doorstep plant_1
Osteospermum on the front doorstep / au seuil
pansy on the balcony / pensée sur le balcon

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

PS Our order arrived from Seeds of Italy today, so we must get on with making the cold frame!

>Not many blooms for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day


The only plant in the garden which is flowering at the moment, apart from yesterday’s cauliflower, is the false rocket.  This plant is sown between the rows of vines to be ploughed in as a green manure.  It spreads and self-seeds everywhere, but it is pretty and the leaves are edible, although we don’t eat it as we have enough wild rocket self-seeding in the garden.

wild rocket_1_1

Other than that, my contributions to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, come from pots outside the house:

blue marguerite

Blue marguerite, Felicia amelloides


A slightly faded Lantana



>Buy sustainably challenge and Garden Bloggers’ bloom day


Maybe this is cheating a bit, but I think it qualifies for the Buy Sustainably challenge on 1greengeneration.  We wouldn’t actually have gone out and bought a rotavator, but when we were offered one which needed a little attention, and which otherwise was going to be thrown on the dump, we accepted it.  Lo Jardinièr cleaned the valves and the top of the piston, put the engine back together again …. and it works!

rotavator 1_1_1 rotavator 2_1_1

It will make cultivating the garden much easier – and we transported it to the garden in the cheap secondhand trailer which we bought jointly to share with our neighbour.  There’s no need to have one of our own – we don’t use it every day.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

There aren’t many flowers in the garden at the moment for Garden bloggers’ bloom day (hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens) and the ones that are there are mostly weeds, but we’re enjoying …

climbing rose_1
the climbing rose – not a weed
scabious – which is a weed but a nice one
vinca – also a weed which would cover the whole garden, given the chance.