Tag Archives: summer

August calendar 2016

We are just emerging from another minor canicule with temperatures in the mid 30’s centigrade. So not much work has been done in the garden except for early mornings before it gets too hot. But the weather has definitely suited the Morning Glory flowers and the pattypan squash!

And its good weather for drying off the onion crop.



July Calendar 2016


We have had a very hot and mainly dry July, excepting a couple of dramatic thunderstorms. So everything has galloped ahead, especially the courgettes and pattipan squash. We should be having our first squash risotto this week, in fact.

We have dug and eaten our first new potatoes and have finished the peas which were again very disappointing this year. The herbs and flowers are also know looking fantastic, especially the hyssop and fennel and the jerusalem artichoke’s are as usual, reaching for the sky.


June calendar


Sophie among the rocombales

The first couple of weeks of June were very wet here and slowed down our progress in the garden but not our plants or the weeds!  We are now experiencing a dry warm period and it’s good to see all the plants progressing.

Red and blackcurrants are ripening and since moving the rhubarb it’s been the best year for it. The onions suffered some hail damage but are now – in the last few days of heat and sunshine – fighting back.

At the moment we are into a strawberry glut and are picking a bowl a day.

The wild flowers in the garden continue to impress and the new border is beginning to settle in well.

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!


Trees along the Montclard road



“…begin with the near and familiar. It is in learning to love and cherish our own little tree, or field or brook that we become fitted for wider and deeper affections”
R. S. Thomas preface to The Batsford Book of Country Verse.

We live on a tiny road, that winds up through the forest from the village below to our hamlet and then on to the next village about 5k up the road. Between our house and the next village the forest varies between conifers, firs and deciduous mixed woodland, mainly beech, oak and ash. We have walked this route for over five years now, in all weathers and all seasons, building up a large library of photographs. During our walks we have seen wild boar, foxes, pine martens, stoats, feral cats, ravens and numerous buzzards and failed to photograph any of them! It’s an ever changing scene through the seasons, with autumn possibly the star as the forest really glows at that time of year.


August Calendar 2015

Hybrid pattipan squash

Hybrid pattipan squash

August has followed on from July with less hot weather, but still a couple of spells of 30C+, one of which we are in at the present.

Bit too hot to do anything after midday!

The picture of the squash above is a mystery as it should look like the picture below.

sunburst pattypan

sunburst pattypan

I think it’s been planted too close to some potimarron squash and a bit of hybridisation has occurred.

Lots of beetroot available now, which we normally make into soup to have chilled on these hot days.



Plenty of courgettes and leeks are also available, though generally the garden still looks a bit scorched from the heat. We have only had one apple make it through to the end of summer, so we are monitoring it daily.

Flowers below all grown from seed provided by Ben over at the Higgledy Garden. If you don’t buy your flower seeds from him you should give him a try.

Brioude en fête

The Bienale d’Aquarelle comes to town!

Brioude Brioude

Our nearest town, Brioude, is usually very quiet and sleepy. It has a population of just over 6,500, and whilst it does attract some tourists in the summer, it’s not exactly swamped.

All that chamges for a fortnight every other year, during the month of July, when Brioude hosts its biannual watercolour festival – the Biennale d’Aquarelle. It’s a truly international affair, this year featuring artists from countries including Japan, Poland, the UK, Switzerland and Slovenia, as well as all parts of France.

The town has got the bunting out, and it’s crammed with people browsing the exhibitions, admiring the newly-restored cathedral, attending workshops, painting in the street, and enjoying a coffee and a chat outside the cafés.

I tend to associate watercolour with hobby painters turning out pretty views (probably very unfairly), so I’m always amazed by the incredibly diverse range of styles and techniques on display…

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July Calendar 2015

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We are just coming out of a heat wave here with the temperatures hitting a high of between 36c – 41c (96F – 105F) on most days for the last three weeks or more. The garden is therefore not looking its best with a lot of scorched areas and plants. We also now have water restrictions and our water butts ran out about a fortnight ago. Luckily we have had a couple of heavy thunderstorms lately and they are now full again.

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However the squash and courgettes have thrived in the conditions and we have nursed most of the plants through.



We have left some ares of the orchard to grow wild and have been rewarded with many wild flowers. The star of the moment though is this enormous thistle which the bees love.