For the last six months we have been living in our rental gite, which we created a couple of years ago from a derelict garage, while the main house is slowly, painfully slowly, renovated.
Its lovely, but after all this time we would like to stop living next to a building site and get our lives back. To cheer the place up we have been placing colourful flowering plants near the door, including flowering shrubs in a terracotta pot.
It is rather nice to see a plant close-up several times a day: you learn to appreciate its sublteties and discover aspects of it you may not have noticed before. I have tried to select scented plants where possible and my seasonal selection started with Hamamelis Arnold Promise, an American variety of Witch Hazel I had not grown before. This has now been planted in the garden, as has the plant that replaced it: Daphne mezereum.
The shrub that is currently greeting us as we return to the gite is Osmanthus burkwoodii, another strongly scented plant, this time with white flowers and evergreen foliage.
The season is moving on a pace, with Magnolias and the first of the fruit trees in flower: Peaches, Pears and Cherries.
Oh, and I heard the first Cuckoo today!