Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

In the southwest of France, our spring is morphing into summer. The gladiolus* say so.

Rosemary, sage & fennel herb at left, sweet violet/iris foliage, roses & gladiolus on right

The miniature variety requires no staking, is winter hardy, and spreads by seed throughout the garden. Wherever the volunteers land, I let them be, whether in the lavender hedge, rose bed, or among the irises.


Lettuce is a challenge to grow chez nous because of the heat, so this season, successive plantings are being shaded with a strip of old cotton sheeting clothespinned to curved supports found in the dilapidated shed when we moved in about five years ago.

Onions on the left and a tomato bed in the background

The other day I noted the melon, winter squash, cucumber, and basil transplants patiently waiting to be put in their beds were being devoured by snails. The lone perpetrator was eventually found hiding between two pots. Shortly after, the population of our garden's wild area increased by one.

The ravenous snail that ate two baby basil plants has new digs among the brambles

Though the peas weren't planted early enough and are succumbing to the heat, the ones planted in a pot just for harvesting pea shoots are supplying enough for some tasty meals. For one quick meal, washed and chopped shoots are sauteed in butter until soft which takes a few minutes. Then eggs are added and scrambled correctly.

Pea shoots & scrambled eggs on sourdough rye bread

For another easy meal, throw in some sliced shoots during the last couple of minutes when boiling pasta. Drain. Saute minced garlic in olive oil, add several spoonfuls of reserved water from cooking the pasta, and stir the shoots and pasta in this sauce until well coated and most of the liquid is gone, about a minute or so. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, freshly ground black pepper, and grated Parmesan.


The roses continue to delight. Ferdinand Pichard, a fragrant bourbon rose, unfolds bi-coloured blossoms.


Yellow roses are invigorating sunshine and billowing clouds all in one.

Golden Showers variety

David Austin's Falstaff climber flaunts quartered blooms, damask-like fragrance, and stunning velvety, magenta petals.


Meanwhile in the house, Dirac the Young Cat is turning out to be a self-bathing feline.


We were mistaken to think he does not like boxes. They just have to be small boxes, the tinier, the better.


À la prochaine!

*Count me in the group that uses the same spelling for both the singular and plural, that is, gladiolus.