Friday, April 26, 2013

Last Sunday # 1 - stargazers

Sunday wasn't a typical Sunday.  We don't generally go anywhere much on Sundays, and not much opens here, not because this is a God-fearing country or anything, but there's a likeable disinclination to make Sunday like every other day of the week. Smaller town shops do open on Sunday mornings sometimes, and pâtisseries always have done so, so you can take a nice tart along when you go on your Sunday afternoon visit to your family.  But les grandes surfaces, the supermarkets and big DIY stores and the out of town retail estates are dead as dodos. The exception is garden centres, some of which do open for restricted hours on Sundays.

We rather try to keep away from the garden centre these days, it's too easy to get beguiled into spending lots of money on unnecessary and often unsuitable new plants, when really looking after and propagating the one's we've already got is more important and less expensive.  And there's the danger of depression arising from the inevitable disconnect between the glossy, brilliant, larger-and-more-colourful-than-life nursery and greenhouse raised specimens they dangle before you and the scruffy, demanding and often problematic reality of actual gardening here. However,  since Tom has done heroic work ridding the azalea bed of creeping buttercup, couch grass, chickweed and the like, if his labours were not to be in vain we really did need some more bark mulch, so off to La Domaine des Fleurs we went.

And it is a seductive and enjoyable experience, as you walk in, channelled past the orchids and other exotica, into vast the perspex roofed area where all the bedding plants are.  It is open on one side to the air, but on a nice day warm from the sun, and there is always a balmy mist rising from the brick floor and the constant watering.  And they always cannily put the most fragrant plants right by the entrance, at this time of year these are the stargazer lilies.


We were a total and rapid pushover, and as well as our bark mulch, some modest French marigolds and a couple of small rosemary plants - we'd grown fed up with the coarse, woody old rosemary bush bullying everything around it and chopped it down, but I grieved at Easter when there was none for the roast lamb, and I won't be doing with dried - we carried home a couple of pots of the big maroon-pink orientals.

In fact they didn't cost us any more than a single bouquet of them cut from the florists, will last considerably longer, even if they only do one season, and they have more than sung for their supper already, since Tom planted them in the big terrace tubs ting them to the tree peonies, which are only just emerging into leaf, as supports (and with a few of the marigolds round the bottom - we don't care about clashes, and love red and pink and orange together, so there!)


Instant height and colour, and the most opulent, almost pungent perfume ever, that envelopes us every time we cross the terrace.  They need plenty of room for this; in fact I'm not a great fan of them as cut flowers since in a confined space it can be too much.  I once ate in a pub restaurant where there was a bunch of them on the windowsill behind me and truly they quite put me off my food, but in the garden just now, between the complementary notes of the remaining berberis hedge and the wallflowers, they are pure pleasure.

They also seem to change colour with the time of day, from quite pink in the height of the day to wine to purple when the sun is lower, though the camera has trouble conveying this.  Like everything else on that side of the house, they look best in the early morning.








Well worth the trip and the money, and that was only half the fun I had on Sunday.

~


14 comments:

marly youmans said...

Half?

Half the fun?

Lucy, you tease!

And now I want to have tea on the terrace...

zephyr said...

i love your "so there!" approach to planting
:^)

Lucy said...

Well I was going to do just one post but then it went on a bit so I thought I'd break it into two bits. We've had lovely sunny days for tea on the terrace but we've had to work in the garden instead - cut grass (and plant pots, and dig borders...) while the sun shines. Now it's chilly and damp again! Though I did spend a bit of time in a deckchair under the sumac tree too, if I'm honest!

Clare Law said...

Lucy, all this talk of gardening has reminded me of a book I read on holiday and wanted to tell you about: The Price of Water in Finisterre by Bodil Malmsten. It's a book of connected essays by a Swedish poet who moves quite suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 55 to Finisterre and makes a garden.

The gardening bits are charming; and her adventures settling into the local life are very funny, but it becomes a bit naval gazey at the end when she starts writing about writing the book. Anyway, I thought it might amuse you, or at least be of interest.

Julia said...

Absolutely beautiful, they brightened my evening at the end of a tortuous week at work, thank you!

Nimble said...

I have only seen stargazer lilies in cut arrangements. I like them outside in your garden so much better!

Zhoen said...

I'm a worse pushover, since I have nothing much in my neglected, but recovering, garden. I want to buy everything.

Got hen&chickens for the ashy soil, since it is supposed to grow anywhere.

Isabelle said...

I think it must be a bit warmer in France at the moment than in Scotland!

Lucy said...

Thanks people. I was woken this morning by hail battering on the skylight, which went on for quite a time. I almost wept for the poor hot-house raised things. Doubtless we were premature and optimistic but it was just so good to see the sun, we got carried away. With yesterdays northerly winds the poor lilies are looking decidedly, and literally browned-off, but are still holding up and smelling gorgeous!

Clare - thanks for the book tip! I'll try to find it.

Zhoen - I don't know hen and chickens, I shall look it up...

jo(e) said...

I love the photos of the lilies. Just gorgeous!

Rouchswalwe said...

I'm still giggling over "dead as dodos" ... I plan on using it at the first opportunity!

Lise said...

Hello Lucy. Je vois que nous avons la même jardinerie! Un coup de bluzz , un saut au compagnon des saisons , un tout petit achat , et ça repart;
C'est la pleine saison des plantations. Votre arbrisseau est magnifique . What is is name ?
Amitiés Lise

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Lise - bonjour! En fait nous parlons encore de 'Baobab'! L'arbre florissant en arrière plan est un amalanchier - je ne connais pas un nom en français mais c'est un petit arbre qui réussit bien, il y en a plusieurs par ice. Les lys sont attachés aux pivoines, mais les pivoines vivaces arbustes, avec les petites fleurs pas très imposantes mais une feuillage jolies. On est situé assez haut par ici et pas toutes les fleurs se font bien.

wettability said...

I like this one very very much.I have a little garden and make my leisure time here.I am a private service officer and like to make flower gardening very very much.
Thanks