In one regard our menu choice would be for the rain - as at the start of the year, as we have said, it was drought conditions and in our own garden the soil's consistency was bone dry, with the big pond and our well's water levels very low. But now, April 2nd as I write this, the pond has filled to the bottom of the overflow pipe and the well's water level is approaching what we expect and hope for the time of year. We had been very concerned, in case we have a Summer as dry as last year. So, the pond is now full of vociferous frogs, carp lazily exploring the surface and edges, and water-lilies just starting to make an appearance, floating to the surface like skinny green jelly-fish.
Gradually the stone walls are filling with the aubrieta; and the daffodils and narcissi are dotting and lining the beds, with bunches of primroses and splashes of hyacinth where we have randomly planted bulbs from indoors some previous year:
We have made a final check of the damage wrought by last year's drought and this year's occasionally savage frosts. Surprisingly it has not been too bad ... we had expected worse, although predictably some conifers and the more exotic small trees have been dealt what are probably fatal blows:
Now that there is moisture in the soil and the ambient temperature is rising, it is the time for some planting. But we are being cautious - as ever, our 500 metre height can make early planting risky: so, we're holding off any vegetable planting until later in the month and in May; but we have planted some more trees - like this magnolia that flanks yet another bench that we've made from our stock of old chestnut planks.
Butterflies have not been so fortunate, getting battered by the wind and caught out by sudden cold spells:
This year it looks like we will be welcoming some guests to the Chambres D'Hotes/Gites, but also a lot of family visitors, across three generations - children grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which is a lovely prospect.
We're well aware that these Blog Posts increasingly focus on our garden, the wildlife that we observe and the immediate community here - we hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.