Sunday 04 April – Pâques, pipes, pits & plants (& Presidential pronouncements!)

Last week’s blog ended saying that we were due to have amazing weather which would allow us to continue with outdoor work.  We have enjoyed a couple of days of fabulous sunshine and warmth which has allowed us to focus on 2 things – the garden and plants – while also enjoying some time off.

Last week ended with us having found a waste pipe under the Hayloft’s front terrace when we were planting some new jasmine climbers to provide some scent.  Having charged our drain camera (we actually felt we needed to own one!) we have increased our confidence that this pipe is no longer in use and we have put the plants in the ground.  In a couple of years, when the new plants are established and the older false jasmine recovered, this terrace should look good again.

New jasmines planted on Hayloft’s front terrace

We also mentioned we had some other ideas to keep Hayloft amazing and these are on its second terrace, the evening terrace.  We have bought some new, relaxed, garden furniture and a firepit to extend those barmy summer evenings.  We have a chiminea on our terrace which we love to use on hot summer evenings – I have said before that it is one of my favourite things – and wanted something for Hayloft.  We thought a chiminea would be a bit fragile so we have settled on a firepit – and I love it.

Our first BBQ of 2021 on Hayloft’s new terrace furniture

The weather as the start of the week was so warm we managed to have our first 2 BBQs of the year  and used Hayloft’s terrace, just to test out the new furniture you’ll understand!

With the hot weather, on Tuesday we joined a group of friends for a picnic on the beach and visiting the bulb fields in Plomeur.  The area is suited to grow hyacinths and tulips which make a fabulous spring display that you can visit and either walk round or, as we did, jump on the tulip train which also accepts dogs  – five in our group.

After the train ride we enjoyed a picnic on the beach (a picnic with pavlova and cheesecake) at Pointe de la Torche which, while blustery, was the earliest in the year we have had a beach day yet.

Dave’s beach cheesecake

On Wednesday evening President Macron gave an address to the nation on the current state of COVID with France heading the list of European nations for new COVID infections.  This may be because the President has been extremely reluctant to put France into a period of confinement so on Wednesday night new restrictions were outlined for the next 4 weeks which began last night.

While it is being called a new confinement, it really doesn’t feel like it.  The national curfew has been continued restricting peoples’ movements between 1900 and 0600 but, outside of these times, anyone can travel up to a limit of 10 kilometres from their home unless there is a justification – and there are lots of justifications.  These include shopping for ‘essential’ items as all ‘non-essential’ shops will be closed.  However, seeing the list of what is able to remain open just about everything seems to be considered essential – except gîtes, so all of our reservations have cancelled or deferred. Again!

With this being Easter weekend there were lots of activities being advertised around us including the annual Easter Monday market on the Lac du Drennec which has, sadly, been cancelled for the second year.  The Jardin exotique & botanique de Roscoff had organised a plant fair for Easter Sunday that we wanted to attend and visit the garden which has been on our ‘to do’ list for years.  Thankfully they were able to move the fair to Saturday before the ‘restrictions’ were imposed so we popped up.

The fair was smaller than we’d expected, although we still found some lovely plants to buy, and we seemed to have stumbled on the Mexican salesmen with cacti and chiminea (have I mentioned we have a chiminea) which, as yesterday was the most overcast, coldest and windiest of the week, seemed a little out of place!

The gardens were interesting and will certainly be good to visit throughout the year as the seasons change and different things come into flower.  One of the things I enjoyed most is a hint as to what my ‘next big project’ is that I have alluded to in the last couple of blogs.

The gardens also have the most amazing rock structure giving a great panoramic view over Roscoff marina.  At great personal risk in the howling gale, I managed to get a pic!

Panorama from the vantage point of the Jardin Exotique de Roscoff

Adding to the plants we picked up at the fair, we also bought a couple from the garden’s small shop which I am looking forward to planting next week.

My work in the garden continued with mowing (obviously), weeding (obviously!), planting some of the plants we bought in the previous week and potting on some of those things that have grown.  The new plants included 4 escallonia that we bought to replace 3 hebes we had planted previously in our fig bed in the orchard.

The hebes were amazing when we bought and planted them when we created the flower bed. They were small and had masses of red or yellow flowers.  They have evidently been happy as they have grown and grown – we probably should have pruned occasionally – but they have not flowered since.  As such, they have become large green balls that were blocking some of the other plants there.

Fig bed and its over large hebes

We have cut these out and planted the escallonia which should flower and we will keep under better control.

Fig bed and its over large hebes replaced with escalloias

With the good weather our potted bananas have sprung into life so we have bought some larger pots to allow them to grow and hope they will great this summer.  What may take a little longer to look great is the hedge on our new front talus but our new lonicera plants arrived as promised on Monday so we have planted A LOT to form a decent hedge as quickly as possible.

Today has returned to warm and sunny so we took the dogs back to the forêt de Cranou which is thankfully within our 10 km limit so we may be there a bit in the next month.  Otherwise we have had a lazy Easter.

Next week we are expecting a large drop in temperature, although we hope no frost, but it should remain dry.  Even now though, we would appreciate a little rain with all our new planting but it will allow us to plant and pot the remainder of our new acquisitions.

Last spring we had a very productive period of confinement and we hope to again. David will continue to teach his classes and clients on line and, with no guests for a bit, we can continue with our projects and work.

We hope you have all had an enjoyable Easter and stay warm in the coming week.  More next Sunday.

À bientôt.