Thursday, May 23, 2013

Between raindrops

Climate change is effecting the narrative on our little planet. Monster storms, odd-ball inversions; wherever you are, weather seems to be big news. This wasn't the case when I was young. Those were the days when you could predict the weather based on the date, and never be very far wrong. Not so now. Spring here has been very unsettled and the birds, plants and I are all a bit confused.

While in Moscow people are apparently turning on their air conditioners, over here the heat has gone back on and we're searching around for left over sticks of wood to build another fire. Significant downpours have kept me inside. Looking out from my studio window, it seems as if everything wants to bloom.

If I see a shaft of sunlight, I throw down whatever I'm working on and rush outside. Ah, for the glory of the sun on your cheek!

Our terrace garden is in form this year, despite the off and on weather. My favorite clematis has been blooming extravagantly for a couple of weeks and shows no sign of slowing down. The jasmine that shares the trellis will bloom later.

Even the yellow rose that climbs up the front of the house is covered in buds and is beginning to present itself.

I am really enjoying the terrace this year as everything has nicely filled in. I wanted to show you the full view, how it looks from our front gate, so I used Photoshop to put several separate photos into one panorama. It did a half-decent job,. Except for the distortion in the middle, this gives a fairly accurate representation. Be sure to click on the photo for a larger view.

Irises, temporary as they are, are among my favorite flowers. Outside my workshop this year is a lovely profusion of classic dark purple ones.

Lilacs are in their glory all over the village.

Our garden is in early spring mode; so much in bloom and yet so much left to emerge. The dahlias have not even poked the smallest leaf out as yet and the annuals - sweet peas, sunflowers and nasturtiums are barely starting. We haven't dared to put out our tomatoes yet. It's still just too inclement.

The wall around the far side of the garden is the ancient defensive rampart of the village and is quite thick, perhaps 8 feet. On top grow trees, shrubs, vines and these iris. All volunteers.

Our project this summer is to build a deck. For the moment it is a huge patch of weeds just beyond the little cherry tree.

My all-time favorite garden was one we visited in England many years ago, called Hadspen. It no longer exists but has remained the model garden in my mind. Nori and Sandra Pope created a garden based on color and it was truly breathtaking.

I tried to follow the basic principles when we put our own garden together. I certainly have neither the knowledge nor creativity, or the time that is required to really accomplish a garden like Hadspen, but with each succeeding year, the garden does look better and better.

The stand of white iris enlivens the garden at this time of year. I hate to watch them bloom out, but as they do the rest of the later bloomers, like the roses and penstemon begin to come alive.

This little beauty blooms early too and keeps the irises company.

I've lost track of some of those vigorous perennials. I've forgotten who they are, but each year they come back in force.

None of my beds are yet perfect. This one has gotten a little mixed up, but I love the light blue linen plants which this year are well-established.

This may not look like columbine; it doesn't to me, but it is. Maybe a mutant one, as it seems to have changed its form since last year.

Another pleasure of the spring garden are the daises in the grass. They remind me of being about eight years old. I always feel a compulsion to make chains.

Yesterday, while Rick did the work, I sat in my chair, enjoyed the sun in my eyes and dreamed of the summer garden.


One positive result of so much rain is an electric green world to live in. This is the forest of Montmirail as we passed through it last week on our way to visit the family in Paris.

Rick built a nice desk/sewing table for Emily. It turned out beautifully well.

Emily has become a most excellent seamstress. Here Quinn proudly models the hoodie (lined in yummy white fleece) she made for him.

Zinnie is fully upright these days.

While Rick was building, Quinn and I made our own structure.

Quinn and his mother did some baking one afternoon. Here's his monster bread. Seems a shame to eat him, he's so cute.


  1. I adore those cornflowers! Well, all of it, but they leapt out at me.

  2. Beautiful pics ! and lovely garden.
    Poor Rick who is "doing the job" while you ... joke indeed ! I am fascinated by your energy to create around you inside and outside.

  3. SO beautiful..a feast for the eyes everywhere you look! Tell Emily I think that's the cutest Hoodie I ever did see!