Monday, 28 May 2012

Finally, the rain has stopped

We have had 2 months of almost continual rain.  Fabulous, I can hear all the family and friends in Australia saying.  Miserable and depressing for those of us here in Europe.  Spring has been a long time in coming this year.  Up until a week ago we were still lighting the fire each morning in an effort to stay warm and dry.

Combine the rain with hail almost everyday, and gale force winds, and you have a scenario that is not good for the keen gardeners.

Luckily, my garden has pulled through without too much stress.  Sadly, I did not get the riot of spring bulbs that I had hoped for, however other plants have benefitted from the rain and are showing a glorious array of flowers.

The irises are particularly good this year.  I have a pale violet, and a deep dark chocolate with hints of orange.  Both are a mass of colour and scent at present.  The dark iris was a surprise.  I had been given it at a cemetary in the Somme Battlefields (they were replacing the plants and throwing away all the old ones.... what a waste!).  No one could tell me what colour it would be, so it was nice that it is such an unusual shade.

My tiny - and very spindly - elder tree is flourishing also.  I have already picked a huge amount of flowers and they are fermenting away in the cave to make elderflower champagne.  An experiment.  We shall see if it works or not.  All depends on how much natural yeasts are floating around in our garden.  There are plenty of flowers still on the tree to turn to berries and make gelĂ©es and sirop later in the year.

The pea shoots have been galloping ahead.  So much so that I have taken to picking them and adding to salads and as garnishes to our meals.  They are nearly 2metres tall and only just starting to flower!  I have been picking rhubarb and strawberries already, and my herbs are looking lush and green.  Tomato plants are in as well as butternut and queensland blue pumpkins.  We shall see if they grow here.

We went to a bbq last night at a neighbours house.  It was a great night, but it was even nicer to be able to go in to the garden and cut fresh flowers to make a bouquet for the hostess.  The roses are magnificent this year, and the sweet peas are heavenly.  I made a pretty posy of pink roses, lavender and deep burgandy sweet peas and pink and burgandy dianthus.  Beautiful and fragrant.

Le brassage (beer brewing) has commenced this weekend with the start of the warm weather.  I am starting with a bitter, to get my hand in and refresh my memory.  It has been a long time since I home brewed!  Hopefully I will be able to bottle next weekend and in 2 weeks after that we will be able to commence sampling the brew.  Tshirts have been made to commemorate the occasion and I have 3 official taste testers waiting (impatiently!) to pass judgement and select the next type of beer brewed.  Think they are going to keep me occupied over summer with requests for new batches.... Photos will follow in a future post.

The last photo is of a neighbours garden.  She has 9 different colours of iris planted in groupings under the fruit trees.  It is spectacular!  I think it rivals Monet's garden at Giverny actually.  Hope you enjoy the colours as much as I did.