Tag Archives: haute-loire

Wildflowers of Grahy

For a few weeks in May and early June the roadside verges leading down to the village are ablaze with wildflowers before the first cut of the summer. I’ve tried to identify them all but some may be wrong, so if you have any ideas please let me know!


May Calendar


I have been a bit neglectful in taking photos this month. We have been away on holiday and had visitors, therefore all these photos were actually taken on June 1st!

All our fruit bushes are looking very healthy, particularly our red currants and we look likely to have a good crop of gooseberries this year. Though the major success is the first blossom and fruitlets on one of our pear trees.

The potatoes are now all through and looking good and the two seed potatoes we planted in a bag will be ready in a couple of weeks. Peas are planted out and we have some tomatoes and squash waiting dryer weather before planting out.

The weather this last week has been very wet and everything – including the grass – has shot up.


We have also planted up a new border along the side of our drive, along with an unintentional stumpery.

april calendar 2016


We have had snow showers, hail, heavy rain and temperatures up to 23C. So a bit of everything this April. Potatoes are planted (Belle de Fontenay and Sarpo Mira) with the trenches lined with our first cut off the comfrey patch. Most of the other crops are know sown and are coming on nicely in the garden shed. (Peas (Provence), Kale (Nero di Toscano), Tomatos (Chico Rosso), Paterson squash)

The garden is also full of blossom at the moment, with some of our apple and pear trees producing blossom for the first time.

march calendar 2016

It’s always good to get the first veg started off in the new growing season and now we have  beetroot sown and potatoes chitting. This year we are growing three different varieties of beetroot (chiogia, golden, and detroit red) and two of potatoes (Belle de Fontenay and Sarpo Mira). No shallots this year but both red and white onions for a change.

Other things are stirring….


We tried a green manure crop of field beans in some of the beds this winter and they were a great success, so we will repeat next year in all the beds.


Dwarf narcissi are out and the daffodils are near bud burst.

Thats all from Grahy for March, see you next month!



weekly photo challenge: half-light

Clouds over the Senouire valley

sunlight shafts over the Haute-Allier

This weeks photo challenge is “Half-Light” and in this landscape the sunlight was flickering in and out of the cloud cover.

This reminded me of the track “Halflife” by Grasscut from the album “Everyone Was A Bird”. A band who take much of their inspiration for their music from the landscape.

From the liner notes by Robert Macfarlane

‘Halflife’ is the most haunted of all the tracks here. The ‘he’ of the lyric is the Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, who like Sassoon joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who was killed at Passchendaele on the last day of July 1917, and who had been born and brought up near the village of Trawsfynydd – which in 1959 became the site of a twin-reactor Magnox nuclear power station. Anyone who has been to Trawsfynydd will know the huge cognitive dissonance of the area: out on the island in the lake stands the decaying concrete castle, with its lethal treasure still inside, while above and behind it rear the Rhinog mountains, wild and catastrophic.

‘Halflife’ imagines Wynn as a post-nuclear apparition trapped in an 8mm film-loop by the shores of the lake: ‘a loop he makes / through silver birches flickering / by concrete towers he disappears / disappears’. It’s a track that works its way under the mind’s skin. It flickers itself, moving in and out of clarity. The language of decommissioning and unknown futures haunt it, and fragments of the past fly through it – like the ‘shells by the roadside’ which recall the nosecap shell that struck Wynn in the stomach as he crossed the Pilckem Ridge advancing on the Iron Cross stronghold. ‘I saw him fall’, remembered a fellow Fusilier, ‘I saw him fall on his knees and grab two fistfuls of dirt. He was dying, of course.’

February calendar


A mainly dry and warm February with just one fall of snow early on. Still some leeks left, though they need lifting now before they bolt. The kale is also still going strong and throwing out very tasty florets. The first act of the new gardening year has been to set the seed potatoes chitting. We are growing the same varieties as last year, “Belle de Fontenay” as an early, “Sarpo Mira” as a blight resistant main crop. These both did very well last year, which was very, very hot.

Some early appearances from the wild garlic and the rhubarb, and buds appearing on the blackcurrant bushes.


wild garlic




kale floret



blackcurrant buds


Early flowers, primroses and crocuses

weekly photo challenge: seasons

This February has been the mildest and warmest we have known since moving here. Usually it can be very cold with periods of -5C to -9C overnight and sometimes much colder. A few days ago it was 20C during the afternoon, so it’s no surprise that the garden is a bit advanced and we have primroses in full bloom.

These are also some of the first photos I’ve taken with my new phone (Moto G 3rd gen.) and I’m really pleased with the results, a great improvement on my old iPhone 4.

This post is inspired by the WordPress weekly photo challenge, this week the challenge being seasons.

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