While the weather continues to be variable, with temperatures bouncing around from 12C to 32C and a high humidity, the roses started to appear in earnest about two weeks ago. The majority of these are the varieties we have brought from a remarkable rose grower - Les Roses Anciennes du Jardin de Talos ….. they are in Saint Lizier, between Tarbes and Toulouse, and currently they grow well over 200 varieties in 'bio culture'. We bought the roses at the plant market at Villeneuve-sur-Vere, which is an annual event at the end of September. When we bought the first selection (three years ago) the roses were no more than 50-75 cms and it was difficult to accept the assurances that the specimens would grow anything between 8 and 12 metres. Well, three years on and if anything all the roses have grown more than the stated sizes. Most of the stock is from around the turn of the 20th century .... so, some examples - this is Amethyste dated 1911:
As the roses have appeared, so have the water-lilies and aquatic plants around the pond - all the better this year due to the amount of clearing we did of the over-hanging trees and growth around the pond.:
And on the wildlife front, we have been keeping a close eye on our nesting boxes, of which we have quite a few. Some are clearly now occupied, but annoyingly the one that we have set up with the in-box camera, linked to the monitor in the Barn sitting room, has remained 'vacant' ….. we are not quite sure why, as the box has been sited exactly to RSB guidelines and it is rent-free! So, perhaps we'll just ignore those guidelines and re-site it for next year, and see if we have better results!
Lastly, we are making progress on our idea of offering a stay here at 'Nichoir' for families and children who might benefit from a period of peace, quiet and restfulness. It may be for families with children who are requiring respite or for families who have undergone bereavement. There will be no charge, but families will have to organise (with assistance as required) their travel. We are now in touch with a Children's Hospice who are very keen to take on the development. We trust that this first occasion will go well and that we can see how to then take things forward. It is a small thing, but we hope that it will be worthwhile for all concerned.
To those of you who are still reading this Blog (well, bon courage, for a start!) - we hope this coming Summer is good for you and yours.