Spring can be the craziest time of year – things are sprouting everywhere, and nature is surprising me with new things every day. And that’s before you count all the spring fetes and festivals which are seemingly everywhere!
This year we appear to be having unseasonably warm weather, and many plants are growing much faster than they normally would. Look at the wisteria, it is out in full bloom!! And the bees love it – there’s a variety of large black bees, with iridescent bluish-black wings, which seem to zip around the flowers like lunatics.
The kiwis are also sprouting a fair amount of leaves, as well as flower buds!
The California poppies have been flowering for over a week now, and there’s a lovely plant called Cerinthe Major “Purpurascens” growing next to one of the poppy plants. The two of them seem to be having a bit of a cuddle 🙂
In my garden both plants are ridiculously easy to grow – I just leave a few of them to set seed, and forget all about them until the fall. When the seeds sprout I weed out the ones I don’t want, et voila!
My Papa Meilland rose also started to bloom last week; it has the most beautiful old-fashioned rose scent – I wish you could smell it!
And I’m very excited about my artichokes – I planted a row of five artichoke plants last year, tiny little plants, which were immediately attacked by all the slugs and snails in the garden. Over the winter I managed to stop the damage to the plants (causing carnage amongst the snails and slugs :)), and they have grown into large silvery mounds of foliage. And now the first flower buds have started to appear!! If I’m lucky there will be so many that I will really be able to indulge – artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables!! With the warm weather, I will soon be able to have an artichoke feast!
And so, on to the spring fetes and fairs – lots of exciting stuff to go and see over the coming weeks!!
This past weekend, Chateau Perdiguier in Maraussan hosted the Journées Fleurs et Jardins for the 5th year running.
The Chateau is an incredibly impressive building, so it’s worth a visit to the fair just for a close-up look at the building. According to the website, the Chateau got its name in the 14th century, when it was given to Jean Perdiguier by Charles V in 1375. A few years later Perdiguier was assassinated in Montpellier, after introducing an extraordinary tax – modern-day politicians take heed?? Perdiguier didn’t have much time at his chateau, but at least he left his name behind. Over the centuries, as the estate passed from one owner to the next, the building evolved into the impressive structure we see today.
The exhibitors of the “flower days” were spread out over a large area in front of the chateau, with stands selling all manner of flowers and other garden plants, including citrus trees, acers, and vegetable garden plants; there were decorations for the garden (some very colourful flower pots amongst them); and there was food!! Tables and chairs were interspersed with the stalls, and the atmosphere was very festive and relaxed!
Today Chateau Perdiguier is a working winery, and part of the exhibitors were inside, in the big wine cellar. The monumental casks are in reality made of cement, with the fronts made to look like traditional wooden casks. There were also a number of wooden barrels (used to age wine) in the cellar, with the ends decorated with paintings. To start off with I thought the pictures had been painted directly on to the barrel, but closer inspection revealed that pictures were detachable.
Upstairs from the cellar is a large function room, where there was an exhibition of paintings, as well as more painted barrels, and some painted wine bottles.
There’s definitely someone with an artistic bent living there!
So there you have it – Spring in Languedoc has started!!