France, Summer 2021, after all.

Discovering splendid municipal architecture in Évreux, and castles in Lapalisse and Châteldon (the home town of Pierre Laval, though that doesn’t get much of a mention in the tourist office!)

I am also quite a fan of the N7, but I think this rather large sign in Lapalisse is new:

Likewise this rather alarming roadside cross that has appeared right outside the front gate… I think over the last year European money has restored several of these 19th century calvaires which had disappeared during the late 20th century.

We’ll get used to it!

Reading, walking, eating….and several sessions with the dye pots, mostly sock yarn this time.

I also took some pictures of a corridor my daughter decided to decorate some years ago:

We are holding a memorial event to celebrate her life on Sunday. This is necessary, but not easy. I think I will take my late September tree pictures on the same day – still a really useful prop!

Late August Trees

Still acting as a prop…

Nothing dramatically different, it seems – apart from the hedges.

This one is already getting a little dusty.

Same 5 trees, same two flowerbeds…

Two more interesting facts about the gardens this month though. First, it seems we were justified in sticking out for replacing the dying section of the privet hedge with a mixed, woodland type of hedge. It has taken 4 years to thicken up – but just look at the difference between the boring, monolithic privet and the new planting, which includes yew, holly, field maple, spindle and hawthorn.

Second point of interest – the foxes have suddenly gone crazy! In the last couple of weeks they have dug up over 20 holes. Some are deep channels, others have been abandoned part way through, for no very obvious reason. The grass is now a total mess. Just look at the chalk this one has excavated – I wish I could catch them at it, must be quite a sight.

Bang on with late July trees!

This one is none too exciting in July…

And my special tree has also lost its party clothes ( still makes a brilliant den for a five year old though!)

This one is plain weird, but might be the winner for July:

The young Judas tree is not doing much either – it’s developing a rather odd shape, so maybe needs some attention

No-one seems to know what tree number 5 is – but it has clearly lost a chunk from the middle!

Every one of the trees in these gardens with a trunk over 10 cms diameter has a protection order on it. I’m not sure which bit of number 5 would count as the part to be measured….

Overall, I think the flower beds are looking rather tired and straggly now:

And looking at these last two pictures I am struggling not to mention the A word – come on, it’s only late JULY!

In a more reliable world we would have been on the Newhaven ferry yesterday. We dithered a while, then cancelled, at least for the moment. We are still booked to return from Dieppe at the end of the month, so maybe we haven’t given up altogether… just mustn’t forget that bit! Decision time by the end of this week, I think.

Super late with late June trees

But my special tree (pictures 2 to 4) did do its stuff – this is the one that provided my daughter’s wedding bouquet – a fabulous scented mock orange.

The gardens were definitely not at their best this June. Weird weather, I suppose. The green garden might have been the most impressive, for once.

Otherwise, the newly established meadow area probably had the most colour. And very clearly the most bees – you could hear a constant buzz around this part! Plenty of other insects and butterflies too – definitely proved a success worth repeating next year.

I have given up trying to fight the alignment. Sorry. One day I will actually put in the time to learn this properly. It would no doubt save me hours in the end!

Late with late May trees

Same old trees – but, I realise, not the same year after year! The problem with sticking rigidly to an end-of-the-month schedule is that the weather gets in the way. May 2021 was cold, very wet and miserable here in SE UK. This meant that tree number one, which was spectacular in May last year, had all its blossom pelted off in a few days in week three this time. The winner for May is clearly tree number 4 – a young Judas tree with glorious colour, even on such a grey day. This month (June) my money is on tree number two – the mock orange. Fingers crossed – this is a very special tree for me.