French leave

We’ve been away for a few days in France. It’s the first time I’ve been over since we moved back last July but everything was reassuringly familiar. The grass was very lush and green, the blackcaps and chiffchaffs were singing their hearts out, the swallows had arrived and the spring flowers were putting on a fine show.





I didn’t intend to buy anything for the garden but couldn’t resist the lure of these gorgeous morning glory seeds. I know I’ve probably bought myself a packet of trouble: I found them very tricky to grow in France, they are so sensitive to the cold and are complete slug magnets. How they will fare in our cooler, damper Shropshire garden is anyone’s guess. Still, I’ll plant them in pots in the polytunnel and cosset them as much as possible; fingers crossed for a colourful show in summer. After all, what is life without the occasional challenge?


One of the good things about going away is coming home to see the changes in the garden. Mmm . . . unfortunately, some of them weren’t so good: the peas had been eaten for the second time and seeing as they were covered with mesh, it looks like mice rather than pigeons. Time to replant, along with another row of parsnips as there’s no sign of the originals (all fresh seed). We’ll probably end up with two rows now but having been parsnip-less last winter, that’s fine. On the positive front, the broad beans are going well. . .


. . . and there is a pair of blue tits nesting in the box which only went up in the alder tree a few weeks ago.

That is a blue tit with a beak full of nesting material - honestly!

That is a blue tit with a beak full of nesting material – honestly!

The indoor seedlings are romping away and threatening to take over the house – we really do need to get that polytunnel up (please, please let us have a warm sunny day very soon . . .). With space now available in the propagator, I decided it was time to get planting. First, some ‘Latino’ courgettes which we grew last year and were truly delicious. Next, anchocha ‘Fat Baby’ which is probably the quirkiest thing I’m growing this year.


Then – ah, yes – the squashes. Roger had already planted some ‘Hunter’ butternuts and five have germinated so they will have pride of place in the tunnel. I tried really hard to limit my selection so here goes: Musquée de Provence, Honey Bear, Maria de Chioggia, Amish Pie, Amoro, Blue Doll, Golden Nugget, Autumn Cup, Flying Saucer . . . ok, not so limited and I have no idea where on earth I’m going to plant them all.



Looks like another of life’s challenges to ponder. 🙂


13 thoughts on “French leave

  1. Everything looks so lush and springlike – even the almost invisible blue tit!
    Just a small hint: Musquée de Provence, Marina di Chioggia and Blue Doll are all excessively vining (= all over the place, be the place of any dimensions).
    Morning glory seeds are always a real temptation – my favourite variation is Carnevale di Venezia and every seed puchasing time (= all the year) I’m trying to tell myself they are a hopeless effort (the packets I have from several years prove that I don’t believe myself).


    • Thank you for the hint, I was hoping you’d help! I’ll bear it in mind when it comes to siting those squash, they will just have to scramble all over the place, I think. As for the morning glory, it would probably have been far more sensible to sped the euros on a bottle of wine . . . 🙂


  2. I always dream having a couple of Morning Glory plants planted with the climbing beans – it would make such a fine show. Then I remember their demanding nature and decide (with a sigh) that the show might be rather pathetic.


    • Such a lovely idea: I tried it in France last year and ended up with . . . beans. Had the same problems trying to grow cucumbers up sunflowers. Maybe some things are just not meant to be?


      • What I would like to know is why bindweed grows SO well?! Mum – your achocha seeds have all germinated, in fact they outgrew the propagator in a matter of days, they’re not lying when they say they’re prolific! It doesn’t look like you have many seeds, so if (although I doubt it’ll be a problem) yours fail or you need more then let me know 🙂


      • Do NOT get me started on bindweed, I think it’s going to be quite a ‘feature’ in our garden this year. Why isn’t it more useful, there should be recipes? OMG, I guess they mean it when they say the anchocha can cover a shed in a summer! I put 5 seeds in the propagator 2 days ago – watch this space…how many sheds have we got? I even sent some to Finland (sorry in advance, Anja!) PLEASE don’t tell Dad, the 10 cultivars of squash are more than enough to be explaining! Maybe I should take up a new pastime, I think gardening is starting to get out of hand. 🙂


      • Oh Anja, I’m SO sorry! I’m really hoping these things are worth it . . . I’m beginning to wonder whether a bit of guerrilla gardening is on the cards, cover up any ugly buildings in the vicinity? 🙂


      • Well, maybe! To add to the story, I also threw in some black-eyed Susan, thinking the yellow and blue would work so well together. Guess what? It didn’t even germinate BUT a nasturtium trailed across the entire border, climbed through the beans and dragged them down. So, I’m thinking just go with the beans, it’s the safest option. Who needs flowers and arty stuff in the garden anyway? 🙂


  3. No worries – just projecting into the future; actually I’m going to sow the seeds in two weeks time, together with more normal cucumbers. And we have an old house much in need of camouflage…


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