The Colour Purple – Royal Flush of Spring

Since my altercation between a horse and a hard place just over a month ago, my horizons – and my energies – have been strictly limited.  But at last the leg is starting to heal and even if I can’t get up to much mischief, or be much help with the horses, I can get round the garden on my crutches and admire the full flush of spring growth.

I have never known a year when the apple blossom, lilac and wistaria have all come at once and, without showers and gusts of wind, kept their petals for longer than usual.  The scent is heady on these warmer than usual evenings and the air is constantly vibrating with the beat of insect wings.  The most striking thing about the parade of flowers among the borders and the climbers is the predominance of the colour purple in all its declensions.  I resorted to the Thesaurus to look for more synonyms of purple and mauve and it sent me back to the garden with lilac, lavender, heliotrope, hyacinth ………………..

Below is a slideshow of  the best blooms of the moment;  rich purple and delicate mauve irises, both traditional in this area;  blue-mauve bugle, ajuga reptans with its currant-coloured foliage;  extravagant swags of wistaria chinensis along the south facing barn front, pinky-mauve thrift againsy the purple-brown leaves of weigelia florida set off by the acid yellow of lysimachia nummularia (creeping jenny), purple sages and deep velvety Queen of the Night tulips.

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Among the beauties I couldn’t capture were cerinthe major purpurascens, with its pale green leaves and peeping indigo flower, which has self seeded widely;  vibrant mauve lunaria or honesty, known here as the Pope’s coin;  Palace Purple heucheras glowing in the shade;  the showy crimson of the new cotinus, berberis and ornamental cherry leaves fluttering in the sunshine;  small mauve campanula growing between the stones in the walls and their larger bell-tower sisters not far behind…..

The white and pale yellow theme (supposed to be “silver & gold”) around the pebble pond is fresh and cool, with white varieties of flag iris and dicentra, pale yellow iris and iberis, against the garish lime green of a large variegated euonymous and the grey leaves of senecio sunshine, white lychnis coronaria and white mullein.

Sadly the veg. beds in the “potager” and on the “parterre” are depressingly weedy, though I did manage to weed some the gravel paths today, sitting on the ground, so at least I was at the right height to admire the abundant fluffy growth on the box hedges, grown from cuttings and self sown seedlings, which are now all joined up in their 4th year.

I hope all you gardeners out there are enjoying these lovely Spring days, plant fairs and “trocs”…..and if you love irises and are within driving distance of the Causse de Limogne, south east of Cahors, I cannot recommend strongly enough a visit to “Les Senteurs du Quercy”, Mas de Fraysse, 46230 Escamps, from exit 58 of the A20 www.iris-fleurs.fr to see over 1000 varieties of iris, and hundreds of other plants suitable for dry conditions.

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About cavaliereattitude

Englishwoman, transplanted to SW France in '86, blogging - with a large dose of humour and self-deprecation - about life with my husband and our horses, the never-ending renovation of an ancient and crumbly stone farmhouse and the attempt to carve a beautiful garden and productive pasture out of a woodland wilderness.........
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