The gardening weather today will be…….not what you expect.


Prieuré Notre-Dame d’Orsan taken yesterday

The weather continues to dominate the conversations of country folk, gardeners and it would seem, almost everyone else. Our honey man tells me there will be no spring harvest for him because the Robinia flowers frosted and died. A favourite vineyard has lost 100% of this year’s crop before the plants even had a chance to flower; winegrowing is a precarious business at the best of times with countless factors affecting quality and quantity, but this year is a disaster for many producers. Gardeners who learn to expect the unexpected are rarely disappointed.

Last weekend was Les Saints de Glace here in France, and everyone knows to wait until these days have passed before planting out their vegetables. The feast days of St Mamert, St Pancrace, St Servais – 11th, 12 and 13thMay – traditionally mark the end of night frosts and gardeners were out all over the village getting tomatoes into the ground, planting in neat rows between marigold plants to keep away the insect pests. The Church vacillates uncomfortably when faced with these ostensibly pagan rites, to the extent that the Vatican changed the saint’s days in 1960, but the tradition continues regardless.

Viburnum sargentii Onondaga at Drulon

The gardeners at the Prieuré Notre-Dame d’Orsan and at Les Jardins de Drulon were all complaining about the unseasonal weather when we dropped in on them today, although as Piet Hendriks pointed out, when we bring our tour guests next week they will be able to see the Peonies which would normally be finished. They grow more than 300 varieties at Drulon so it would be a shame to miss them. These two stunning gardens will be highlights of our, Loire Valley Gardens tour next week, a trip I am looking forward to with eager expectation; given the late season though, the June trip ( 12th – 19th ) should be truly splendid as well.

The mediaeval castle at Culan, Cher, France

On the way home we drove via Culan, with its mediaeval castle overlooking the river Arnon. It has mediaeval-style gardens, but is not on the agenda this time. We walked along the river (only six salmon per day may be taken) and the dog went for a swim before we drove back, checking village restaurants for future trips, dodging rain storms and police radar controls at the beginning of this long bank holiday weekend.

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8 thoughts on “The gardening weather today will be…….not what you expect.

  1. Loving the weather reports from Chabris. We were there for a couple of days just over a week ago. Joining in an exciting project just 2K out of town. Unexpectedly hot weather then. I live in London with huge allotments at the back of our small garden. We have all been reluctant to plant anything atall tender. Most people planting potatoes now a month late. I am still moving veg. seedlings in and out each day. Everything ornamental giving a long slow and beautiful showing unless caught by late frost. Lily of the valley will be flowering for 1st June instead of 1st May. I wonder how it will all catch up. Missing those evening drinks on the decking unless wearing a fleece.

    • Thanks for dropping by. I’m very intrigued by the idea of an exciting project within walking distance….do tell! We managed to find a couple of sprigs of Lily of the Valley for May 1st and admired them for a week on the mantle-piece. The great thing about complaining about the weather here is you just know it’s worst in the UK. A recent guest from New Castle told us that he left with temperatures of 6C (we were wingeing about 16C at the time), while London-based landscapers who were with us last week were saying how much frost they have had. You get used to this gentle climate so quickly.

  2. I will be popping by briefly on Monday night on route to Vira, Sth of Perpignon., I’m a friend of Fiona & Edna. Hoping to see your garden one day. May be there for longer in July. Our weather here has been so extreme this year, Rain all April, Sun all May and now heavy rain for early June and the Jubilee weekend.Glad to be leaving the country on Monday.

      • It was good to meet you 2 on Monday. I had a great 3 days in Sth France where I felt some warming sun. Now back home and rescuing my garden from some very windy weather and constant rain. It feels as though some of the plants have gone back to sleep and decided not to flower this year. Slugs abound and I have to say it is looking very lush though needing a bit more colour. Must trim the box hedging this weekend.

      • Very good to meet you too. Next time you can come around here and do some weeding – always good to have a gardener to hand!
        Sadly, the weather here has gone all English on us: several hours of rain and a grey sky as far as the eye can see – unheard of conditions, which have wiped out the Chabris brocante today and will not have helped the tennis final I imagine.
        Life goes on however, and it’s Sunday drinks time!

  3. “Gardeners who learn to expect the unexpected are rarely disappointed.”

    There are no truer words. I live in Michigan and we enjoyed the early spring and killing frosts this year, too. Almost the entire Michigan crop of apples, peaches, cherries, plums, and wine grapes has been lost. There will be a next year.

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