The Cowslips have reached their peak here in central France and orchids are providing the excitement now. We have come across several Early Purple orchids in damp, shady patches but a recent find made our day: a meadow full of thousands of Green-winged orchids in the full range of colours from deep purple, through lilac pink to pure white. This delightful sight is in one of the fields we pass most days when walking the dog and I believe there are many more floral treats to come in this spot.
On Sunday we jumped in the car to visit the plant fair in Bouges le Chateau, leaving the dog in the house hiding from the heat. The gardens are interesting and will be better later in the season when there are more flowers, but in the English style park there were again thousands of orchids in the meadow running down to the lake, amongst Cowslips too numerous to think of counting. Around the chateau there is a very formal French topiary garden and an Italianate water garden. The chateau is not large but is privately owned and full of furniture; the same age as our house, Chantal was keen to see how it had been decorated. The plant fair itself was much less interesting but we did meet people from the Indre Horticultural Society and chat them up about our gardening courses.
The weather is a warm 24 degrees C today and I am trying to find as many excuses as I can to spend time in the garden. Anything I need to plant requires the creation of new beds so even planting a few sweet corn requires major effort. I check the whole garden several times a day for new signs of growth or flowering and as a result can easily remove Lily Beetles as I find them: three again today.
In flower only recently – Choisya Aztec Pearl – a hybrid between the American Mexican Orange Blossom C. arizonica and C. ternata, bred and released by Hillier Nurseries in 1989 – we have it in the central bed formed from the water feature dating from 1890 or there abouts. It is close to the Dining Island which is fast becoming surrounded by flowers as we had intended when we started this project. Another wonderful plant here: Salvia argentea, with amazing silky white hairs all over its large oval leaves. It has overwintered and is growing spectacularly well in our light, sandy soil.