Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A Purple Patch

At the end of June, it's a purple patch that we go through.  The lavender and perovskia are really going for it and they have been joined by the agapanthus now.

Here they're mixed with cosmos (pink daisy) and berberis for contrast.

And we've got another purple patch going beside the pool (above) with a low growing bed of ageratum, alysum, verbena and lobelia (not in shot).

The perovskia (Russian Sage) provides a great back ground to these dark red hollyhocks too.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Shooting the Cat

It's not easy, photographing the cat, you know.

Especially when it's a wild one that's adopted you.

She'll let us pet her now, but it took a long time to gain her confidence.

And perseverance pays off in the end.

Lindsay has named her Sweetie-Pie.

She doesn't come in the house.  But she does catch mice so she's welcome to stick around!

Thursday, 25 June 2009


This is Roussillon in the Luberon.  Until the beginning of the 20th century it was a centre of pigment mining.  The pigments were used for paints of all kinds, and Rousillon is a good advertisement for its own product as all of the houses are rendered with various tints and shades of the local red rock.

Indeed, I am told that Roussillon means red earth in the old language of the South of France.

Les Sentiers des Ochres, Roussillon

These cliffs are the old ochre works in Roussillon.  In the 19th Century natural pigments were mined from these hills.  

The disused quarries, called "Les Sentiers des Ochres", are now open to the public.  The circuit takes about an hour and a half.

First you descend the stairs into the bowl of the quarry.

The cliffs glow with intense reds, yellows and pinks.

Strange pillars of stone are left standing.  Perhaps the rock in these columns was not rich enough in pigment to warrant cutting?

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Gorges de la Nesque

Yesterday we went walking in the Gorges de la Nesque.  Here we are resting at the bottom of the cliffs that we'd just dropped down to along a steep, narrow and twisty track.

This is the Nesque itself, right down at the bottom of the gorge.  In the height of summer, at this point it will completely submerge and only run underground through its gravel bed, which makes crossing easier.

... Lindsay and Ruth making the treacherous crossing!

This is the path back out of the gorge...

Another rest

For more pictures of the Gorges de la Nesque, including the little 12th Century chapel at the bottom, look at our Picassa album for pictures that I took last year when I was there with a group of guests. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Spiky Garden

This is an allium christophii blooming in May in our Spiky Garden.  I've just found that its common name is Star of Persia.  I can see why.  I, however, having forgotten the latin name over the last year, have been calling it the football flower because its large, spherical flower heads are almost as big as a football.

Just next to it is an Acanthus, also in bloom.  Its tall, architectural spikes of flowers reach about 1m50 (5ft) in height.  And along side them are two red hot pokers...

I reckon it's pretty obvious why I call it the spiky garden!

I've planted the spiky garden to surround one of our shady pergolas.  Along with the acanthus, red hot pokers and alliums, I've mixed in several grasses, gladioli, agapanthus, rosemary and honeysuckle for year round interest.

At the moment, our antique iron day bed is under the pergola and the honeysuckle with its heady perfume is blooming too.  All of which makes this an ideal spot to put your feet up and chill for a while...