Not me, at least not when I’ve got a battered French garden to get back into shape. Once last weekend’s rain was over and I’d paid my first visit to my Monday afternoon craft group, this week has passed in a flash. I’ve spent much of each day in the fresh air, wrestling the mower over the mess the cattle have made of our ground. Already I feel fitter and ache less in the mornings, so perhaps I shouldn’t be cross with the beasts for doing what comes naturally.
I’m not referring to the inevitable cowpats, since any gardener knows that a bit of well-rotted manure is not to be sniffed at. It’s the inches-deep holes punched by their hooves which have made life so difficult this week. Some of them are big enough to trap the mower’s front wheels, making progress very stop-and-start and sometimes achingly slow and tiring.
It’s only now that most of the grass has had its first, high cut that I can assess the extent of the damage and I use that word advisedly. Mowing our uneven ground has never been easy, but the current unevenness is off the scale in comparison with previous years. In fact a few areas of the garden – under the trees and in the lee of the house – resemble nothing so much as small-scale buffalo wallows, created when the poor animals huddled in what shelter they could find during the terrible weather we (and they) endured last winter.
In order to stop the unwary visitor (or indeed DH and me) ricking an ankle, I’m busy filling all the holes with grass cuttings, topped off with the fine soil the moles have so kindly provided for me. Elegant it isn’t, but the cuttings will rot down and the grass will eventually grow back through, as I’ve proved in various parts of the garden in previous years. In the meantime, much of what passes for our lawn looks like it’s suffering from a virulent attack of measles or smallpox and certainly won’t win any prizes for best-kept garden in the foreseeable future.
On a more cheerful note, I’ve given my little flower border a jolly good forking-over and weeding and have planted out the new plants I brought with me. To do this I had to dig holes in parts of the border which have never been thoroughly dug, which has resulted in another fine crop of stones being brought to the surface. It appears to be impossible to stick a fork in the ground here without hitting a stone, so my arm muscles (and my patience) have been having even more exercise.
|New rockery anyone?|
|Progress IS being made|
Now it’s time for a well-earned break. Tomorrow we will be out all day, enjoying what will certainly be an extended lunch with old friends, followed by a concert in the evening featuring an a capella women’s choir in the fine church in Saint Hilaire-du-Harcouët. I shan’t know myself in something other than my gardening clothes.
At the weekend our neighbouring commune up the hill will be celebrating its fête communale and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this area. Despite a less than promising weather forecast for Saturday at least, DH and I will enjoy joining in with some of the events, though we draw the line at a dance that doesn’t even start until 11.30pm! We know our limits…