Spriiiing with extra i’s

Each spring here in France surprises me. It’s a long story. It goes on, and on and on some more! There are SEVERAL MONTHS of spriiiing (one i isn’t enough really)!!! As you can see on the head picture, it’s a beautiful spectacle playing out all around.

 

Depending on your own provenance this might seem just normal, but since I’m born and raised in northern Sweden, about 120 km south of the arctic circle, spring is for me supposed to be a short affaire of something like a week or two. Up there, spring doesn’t get a whole set to play. Firstly because winter plays the main act and always draws over a bit, and secondly  because summer impatiently puts across that she need not be too late if she is supposed to have time to play her piece before autumn. Suitably the word “spring” translated in Swedish means “run”. Yes indeed, spring up there runs a race with time!

Anyway, what I really wanted to share today are some pictures showing what spring is bringing us at the moment around here.

P1040215The rhubarb that has struggled a bit to get nicely implanted has come along strongly this spring. Look at this giant! I will have plenty of shopped rhubarb leaves to spread around my kale plants to hold of cabbage worm later on!

 

Above you can see three perennials. The first to the left is the kiwaï that is looking perky and thriving in company of  some strawberry at its feet. I don’t know how soon one can hope for it to carry fruit. This will only be it’s second summer at our place, and we bought it as a young plant of one year.

The second picture is of an Echinacea. I am coming to an end of the stock of dried flowers from last year and I’m eager to see it in bloom again soon. It’s such a wonderful plant! Beautiful, full of health benefits and low maintenance. It’s mostly known for the use if it’s root, that can help prevent colds, but the flowers can also be used in the same purpose, even though they are a little less powerful. It also has a lovely flavor!

The third picture is of our chocolate mint that starts to show its nose above the mulch. We moved it to a new spot this spring and would need to find some more space for it to spread since it has a good demand in infusion.

 

Three different stages of evolution of raspberry. The first circle shows our “favourites”. They give big and juicy fruit during a long period. We liked them so much that last autumn we tripled the length of what was already planted, and in the middle circle you can see the cuttings coming along (with a double row of pansies planted in front). The third circle is raspberries that doesn’t seem to give much fruit, but being planted on a mound facing south, with some big trees that cover from cool evening air, they give lots of leaves early in the season, and that’s appreciated too!

 

Above some  other projects coming along; first picture is a new massive (not finished) decorated with some old iron details that a nice friend brought us recently. I have been looking for bringing in some metal here and there so I was happy to play garden designer and make this arrangement that reminds a bit of a snake (or the Loch Ness Monster maybe) at the border…

Second picture to the right is from the “fruit hedge” or future “mini-forest-eco-system”. The Cassis are beautiful and in flower, all the autumn and spring planted trees are coming along well and I’m little by little planting different perennials and ground cover at the feet of the trees. So far it’s strawberry, yarrow, monarda, pansies, lungwort, tansy, wild garlic, chives, absinth and rhubarbe. The tricky thing is that the trees don’t give shadow and shelter yet, so the ground climate will change quite a bit with time.

The third picture to the right is from the flower lines. They are almost prepared for planting (right side). I didn’t have enough mulch last autumn to make a nice winter layer and prevent weeds, so they have been cleared all recently and are now waiting to be fully covered by a new layer of hay. The Sage to the left has grown well since last year and will probably give a nice harvest. They will soon get the company of some lavender and Echinacea where there’s room.

 

Seedlings are also coming along this time of the year of course. Look at these babies waiting to get transplanted. They are still going to be kept a while in what I call “the hot frames” though. Last morning there was frost despite a nice warm influence that has brought us some 25 degrees Celsius during the week. Tomatoes, flowers and different type of cabbage on these two pictures.

BUT! Don’t underestimate what is shown on the picture underneath! Wild flowers and plants of all kind are lovely and filled with vibrant energy this time of year. One can just feel nourished by the delight of looking at this beautiful composition! Before the garden is awake you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to serve yourself in the wild. I have said it before and will say it again – wild plants grow where the environment and conditions are exactly right for them, developing a maximum of specific nutriments, while cultivated plants have to settle for what we offer them. Food is medicine!

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