Lullaby to a garden


To my sleeping garden
this weightless lullaby
a quiet outlook from a frosty window

As in grey winter light
the blackbird is black
and the grass is revealed with the rigour of morn

As the sycamore gone
still inhabits the sky
and homeless the grey heron flies

So my patience is wantless
and serene and full
live as the silence of prayer

For now is the night
for us both to dream
and entrust deeper roots to the stillness of love

And now is the time
for the fire to glow
and ashes be true
to snow




Garden diary

I can feel the sap thickening in my veins. I can’t wait for Autumn to come, the bulbs to plant, etc. I feel dizzy. Of course, gardening helps me cope with worries.

All I have at the moment is bad quality multipurpose compost. No potting compost, nor seed compost, nor grit, nor anything worth working with. So it is very much a case of “do or die”, otherwise known as “marche ou crève”. Plants have to be tough in my garden (hear that, green friends ?).

Yesterday, moved the Coreopsis Early Sunrise (bought in Poundland !) in a bigger pot. Probably a bit too big, but the plant looks healthy and I hope it will not feel too lonely. It is actually preparing flower buds !

Planted Geranium Black and White Army in the ground. Next to it, a little purple toadflax (linaire pourpre) which pops up everywhere in my garden and had started growing in an old pot. Toadflax is colourful, tall if a bit messy now, the bees love it and it comes for free : that’s good enough for me.

Today, I suddenly had the urge to propagate Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost. I love that plant : stunning silver green-streaked foliage, wonderful airy blue flowers in Spring, not fussy, reliable, happy in the shade. After having read that it should be done by division in Spring or root cutting in Winter, I listened to my impatience again and decided to grab my spade and “go-for-it-Girl” now, in Summer. I replanted two small clumps directly into the soil near the Osakazuki maple, another one where the delphiniums used to be, and two tiny ones in pots. If it works, it will be a lot of great plants for free.

And then, as I was catching up on old episodes of Gardeners’ World on the iPlayer, what did I see ? Monty Don who decided to divide an astrantia in Summer against the books’ recommendation ! He was following the advice of an Irish plantsman (I hear they are the new gurus of the gardening world now, and so they should be) named Jimi Blake, who has created a strange, excentric 20 acres wonderland named Hunting Brook Gardens. Quote to remember : “The crazier the look, the better“. (In the same episode, a young garden designer with the most unrepentant posh accent I have ever heard…)

The trouble with watching Gardeners’ World is that it fills you with an urge to try everything, collect every plant, not to mention the need, the neeeeeeeed to own a large garden with space for potting shed, cold frames, greenhouse, giant wheelbarrows, views on the countryside, prairie-style perspectives, etc. Sigh.

(Now I am starting to think I might need another blog if I am to write a gardening diary…)


End of April. Plane trees – platanus hispanica – are now sailing along in the clear morning light. Horse chestnut-trees and paulownias have reached the peak of their beauty.

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The time of the euphorbia has passed. The time of the wisteria is drawing to an end.


(Euphorbia near Pernety, purple wisteria in Rue des Thermopyles, white wisteria in my street)

In the gardens, bind weed is awakening : awe.
Ivy-leaved toadflax finds its way in small cracks in the pavements, and is now flowering : joy.

Over the Channel, in my small Canterbury garden, are the peonies in full bloom ? Have the Siberian irises come to grow and thrive ? Or did the Kentish summer draught bring their young shoots down ? Voices too thin to carry over the sea, however strong the wind.

Longing for silence and light
to the swift morning breeze
I commend my desire –
may it fly 
to Southern shores where grow
their hearts and mine alike
plane trees

vast as a summer sky

How I now fear that my parents will leave the Mediterranean town I have come to call home.

That one could dwell under mountains born by the sea, among rocks and flora interwoven in an unmistakable treasure of light, that one could walk paths of thyme and rosemary in a landscape of limestone beauty, and envisage to leave them is beyond me.

To the great pines standing still under the Summer halt, and whispering in the evening breeze, that one could say farewell ?

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Pine trees on Cap-Brun

My garden in mid-July

News from the gardening front. Well, “front” probably conjures the wrong metaphor, as there isn’t much to do in the garden in mid-July, apart from deadheading (and mowing the lawn, but we still don’t have a working lawn-mower…). I just want to share some pictures of tiny miracles. As usual, click on the pictures to see them in a bigger size.

Here are the first Anemones de Caen which I did not believe would flower :



Here are the beautiful Alpine Dianthus Starburst and Lewisia cotyledon (I wish I had bought more of these alpine little jewels) :




Here are, finally, the lazy Alliums caeruleum :


The Potentilla wedding dress train :


Now, something I had not dared to hope : this weak lupin plant which was already showing signs of mildew or illness on the M&S shelf where I found it a few months ago, which couldn’t produce leaves strong enough to stay upright and was almost thrown in the bin… is trying to produce a flower !


If you compare this plant to the other yellow white lupin, which I planted at a much later date, you can see how weak it is – it is clearly struggling.


Yet it is trying to do its job, with a determination I find inspiring. It wants to overcome snails, slugs, fungi. It wants to be part of the summer glory, and project in the air the colourful spike which may bear its survival. I am glad I did not listen to my usual impatience and kept it.

I took the risk of upsetting my husband and gave the Japanese Spiraea a trim.


It is not yet the promised Tory-style cut which will happen in the Autumn, but it allows a bit of light to reach other plants on the side and behind it. This bed is the sunniest spot in our North-facing garden and I don’t see why only one plant should get all the benefit of it. As my son keeps saying (when lurking around at my piece of cake after having gobbled his) : “Il faut partager !”.

I said somewhere that my sowing hadn’t been very successful. I haven’t got any Love-in-the-mist. But the Nemophila Five Spot which have grown here and there in a disorganised and rather unaesthetic manner have actually flowered, and yes, the flowers are still worth it. I especially like the fine bluish veins on their white petals.



And, talking about annual seeds, my joy at the moment is with the Cosmos. They haven’t flowered yet. But by Jove, they are beautiful.


They fill the space whilst staying airy and feathery, achieving the desirable combination of volume and lightness. Cosmos come from Mexico. And yes, when I look at them, they conjure a sensation of white heat and dangerous sun and mineral lanscape. I can’t wait for them to show their flowers – memories of a celebration of friendship in Naruto (cute Sakura !).

naruto !Mine haruno sakura yamanaka ino gif: naruto ino haters to the left please i think a lot of people tend to overlook this part in the anime. ino is actually a really caring person especially to sakura when sakura started crying i just died a little inside otp so much

naruto !Mine haruno sakura yamanaka ino gif: naruto ino haters to the left please i think a lot of people tend to overlook this part in the anime. ino is actually a really caring person especially to sakura when sakura started crying i just died a little inside otp so much

Finally, the hostas are going to flower !


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I hadn’t even realised these plants could produce interesting flowers, as they are grown for their gorgeous leaves. How a garden is full of little surprises ! Yes, it feels like a continual birthday, a present for each week.

Now, the thing is, my daughter is going to be baptised on Sunday. We are Catholics and this is obviously a very, very important event for us. Family and friends are coming. So please :

– Mrs Poppy and Mr Hollyhock,


– Liatris spicata,


– Auntie Shelagh’s rose,


– Forest of blue cornflowers,



P.S. : there was one red strawberry which had escaped the birds. Little one and I went to the garden, duly covered in sun cream, ready for the mystical encounter with our first ever home grown fruit. Just as we arrived, flap flap flap flap, the thieves flew off with the Precious. I will get my revenge.