We have just returned from a long weekend in France, visiting our daughter Fiona and her husband Juan - and their little baby, our third grand-daughter! Although Jane had been over to see them shortly after the baby was born, this was my first opportunity to see her. I had to agree that she is a real cutie...
Much as I would like to write about the joys of grand-parenting, this is not my aim today. Instead I want to write about garden-mentoring. Fiona is a very keen gardener, but she always seeks my advice on various gardening themes whenever I visit her. This time we jointly decided to shift her expanding herb collection to a different location. Up till now it has been in a bed conveniently situated right outside the kitchen door:
Unfortunately this location (despite the presence of that very attractive stone "menhir" - worthy of the famous Asterix the Gaul, I think) is sub-prime in that it is in the shade most of the day, and herbs like sun. So, we moved most of the herbs (and a few new ones) to a raised bed in a far sunnier spot:
The two Thyme plants in the foreground (One Common Thyme and one Lemon Thyme) are really nice specimens obtained at a great price (2 Euros 50) at the local Garden Centre - "Jardiland". I just hope Fiona's cat Voltaire will accord them due respect!
Meanwhile, I also checked-out the potato-patch where three types of potato we bought this weekend will eventually be planted. The 3 types are "Charlotte", "Roseval" and "Bintje" all currently laid out in the garage in egg-boxes, chitting.
Fiona and Juan have a garden which has hitherto been largely laid down to grass, and severely neglected by the former owners of their property, but they have lots of ideas about what to do with it. I am sure that in the months / years to come it will evolve dramatically (at a pace presumably dictated by the demands of the growing family...). I suspect that vegetables will figure quite prominently!
Meanwhile, there are some nice ornamentals too. It is encouraging to see that the Roses I pruned so drastically this time last year responded well and are looking a lot more promising this year. And amongst them Fiona has planted loads of bulbs - tulips, daffodils and crocus:
A task that gave me great pleasure this weekend was preparing a number of containers of "Daddy Salad" - a mix or many different types of salads (lettuce, endive, rocket, komatsuna, mache, mustard, mizuna etc) that are destined to be harvested at the Baby Leaf Salad stage. This was my "trademark" way of producing salad when Fiona and her sister were small - hence the name. If the cat leaves them alone, these containers should produce a very nice varied harvest.
Fiona is already talking of getting her daughter out into the garden to "help Mummy with the gardening" (she is currently 3 months old!!), so all the signs are already there that another generation of veg-plotters has begun!