Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Bloomin' Rain!

Days of rain. And mud. But also flowers!  The little troop of about two dozen, cherry-red Darwin hybrid tulips are showing off their bold colour, alluring sheen, and elegant blooms. 

Tulips for the most part are not as reliable as daffodils, therefore they are worth planting each fall for an incomparable jolt of Spring colour.

Iberis sempervirens (candytuft) is an evergreen ground cover that blooms the same time as many spring bulbs. The dying foliage of knobby-rooted flowering plants stores nourishment for future blossoms. But being in a state of decline is not pretty so candytuft does a fantastic job of covering up limp and yellowed leaves.

White species (this type does return reliably each spring) tulips and candytuft

We recently tootled off in our electric Zoe to the south of chez nous. The Calm One dropped me off at a plant nursery as he needed to go to one of several community associations with which he is involved as consultant, tinkerer, and teacher. Whipping out my list, I got loads (OK, OK a few unlisted items found their way into my cart!):  bulbs to plant now for summer blooming like tuberous begonias and dahlias, potting mix for indoor tomato sowing, potted herbs/veggies like chives/basil/sweet red peppers, treatment for black spot in roses, 2-9-9 fertiliser for tomatoes/strawberries, and . . .

. . . wondrous dehydrated horticultural mix. A pot only needs to be one-third full and then watered copiously. Voila, before you know it, you got a completely filled container. Yes, baby! Did I say that it is light as a feather? I was able to tuck the bag under my arm as if it was a pillow. Upon The Calm One's return (I had told him via the portable, that is, mobile phone, that I and the contents of my cart were ready to be picked up), we unloaded the groaning cart into the roomy hatchback boot of the Zoe, and then sans fumes and noise, we zipped on back home. Life, at times, can be a breeze.

Peas are always a challenge to grow in southwest France. They have to be sowed by mid-March to avoid the heat of summer which is significant by June, but the soil also has to be workable which is hard to do with all the rain. Happily, those conditions were met and there will be peas this season! The day after planting, the rain considerately did the watering for me. The bed is covered with horticultural fleece to stop the starlings from disturbing the seeds as birds know when cultivation is happening. I had left the area briefly and on my way back, I saw a gleaming and deceptively black beauty flying away from that bed with a squiggling worm in its beak.

The fleece allows rain and sunlight to get through to the planting

Within a day or two, rhubarb harvesting will begin!

The middle plant is small because it is recovering from being forced last season

The strawberries are putting out more and more flowers so it's time to scratch-in around each plant some fertiliser high in phosphorus and potassium like the one with a NPK of 2-9-9 which I recently bought.

The overwintered leeks are doing well

Our getting two colds in three months plus the inclement weather stopped The Great Iris Transplant in its tracks as lengthening days and abundant rain have resulted in their becoming bushy and close to flowering. So transplanting will wait until after their blooming.

Pink perennial geraniums are popping up on the middle right

À la prochaine!

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