May 21, 2012

AFTER THE TULIPS

tulips8

Lunch in the sunshine on our little terrace in early April.

I love the way you can plot the progress of the year through the appearance of flowers.

Snowdrops come first in the year.  I’m not that fond of snowdrops.  They are pretty and cheerful but they only come when we are still in the throes of winter and the worst is not yet over.

tulips1 Tulips in our little garden.

Next come the daffodils.  I love daffodils.  I sometimes cheat and buy them in the shops in January, just to kid myself that spring is not far off.  But when I see them in our garden and by the roadsides it really cheers me up.  When the daffodils are here you know that spring is definitely just around the corner.

We usually make our first trip to France at Easter and by then we have missed most of the daffodils. 

tulips2 Tulips past their best.  Tulips fade and die so beautifully I think.

My favourite flower of all is the tulip.  They come in such a myriad of colours, shapes and sizes and, with their stems pointing straight and skywards, it is as if they are shouting out :  look at me, spring is here !!  When the tulips arrive in our garden we know the winter is definitely over.

tulips3 Tulips in the courtyard.

Alex and Nicole do a fantastic job of looking after our little house in Le Grand-Pressigny while we’re not there.  They keep an eye on the place, solve any problems such as the burst pipes we had last winter, arrange for work to be done such as sweeping the chimney and, most of all they keep the garden in great shape.

tulips4 Tulips of all shapes, colours and sizes.

They get the house ready for our arrival and it’s such a joy to hop out of the car, turn the key in the lock, find all the shutters open and sun streaming into the house, put the kettle on and step out onto the terrace.  Then, if we are lucky with the weather, we sit out with a cup of tea and think “at last, we’re here again”, and see what has come up in the garden since we were last there.  It usually takes a couple of chimes of the church bells before we can tear ourselves away from the view over the rooftops and start to settle in.

tulips5 A pot of smiley pansies.  Very pretty and an all-year-round delight.

We also enjoy doing a bit of gardening ourselves when we are chez nous.  Planting up our patio pots and moving things around to the position they look their best is so relaxing and enjoyable – not like the crisis gardening we do at home – which often seems to be a race against time and a battle with the weather.

tulips6 Lilacs blooming near the château.

And of course it’s fascinating to see what flowers are in bloom around the village.  It’s amazing how much things can change in a few short weeks between our visits. 

tulips7  Lulu’s close encounter with a prickly new friend.

Lulu, on the other hand, probably doesn’t notice the tulips but looks forward to the variety of different animals that appear each visit.  Chasing lizards is a favourite summer pastime but of course they were not out and about much at Easter.  

One night she became very excited when we strolled up to the château for her bedtime “constitutional”.  The cause of the excitement was a hedgehog in the courtyard.  He was there several nights in a row – I’m absolutely sure she will remember the minute she jumps out of the car when we arrive and start searching for him. 

Tulips and hedgehogs.  I wonder what we will find next time.  Only five more sleeps…….

19 comments:

  1. We found a hibernating hedgehog when we moved our woodpile. I moved him.her bed and all and he/she stayed put several more weeks before it was warm enough to come out. It is such a relief to have someone you trust looking after the house while you are away, I know the feeling well we are also lucky. Take care Diane

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    1. Hi Diane, it's nice to see you back - and the first to comment as is often the case !!

      Having someone to look after the house is a great relief and the peace of mind is immeasurable.

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  2. Hello Jean:
    Yes, we are absolutely in agreement about Tulips. They are such a varied species and one can find a colour and a type for every situation in our view. Yours look so pretty and do, a you say, really herald spring.

    And, how pleasant it is to be able to arrive in the sure knowledge that the garden will have been tended and that there are no horrors to be dealt with. That is such a boon to having a second home and makes your precious time there so much more enjoyable no doubt.

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    1. Jane and Lance, you're right, being able to arrive to a house that's ready to enjoy is such a bonus.

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  3. Your French terrace and garden look delightful, Jean and it must be so helpful to have someone to care for it for you. I spend much of the first weeks of our summer stay knocking our big and ragged patch back into shape. Still, it's good for the waistline....

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    1. Perpetua, that's one of the reasons we looked for a house with a very small garden.

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  4. Completely agree with you about tulips and have always planted some at each house we've lived in.
    The only positive to the cold rainy spring this year was that they lasted a bit longer than normal.

    You have ordered the sun I hope!

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    1. N&A, we have ordered warm sunny weather !! Actually the forecast doesn't look too bad - but even better would be good !!

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  5. Oh, you have stirred up so many wonderful memories for me!

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    1. Mitchell, flowers have a way of stirring up memories I think.

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  6. We've encounter many hedgehogs on this trip but unfortunately lying beside the road. I didn't realise that they were so small compered to our echidnas.

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  7. Flower photos are always a treat, so are photos of buildings in France, and it's always great to see photos of the countryside, but nothing tops a photo of a patisserie display case. This looks soooo delicious.

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    1. Carolyn, do you think you would be able to resist temptation ??!!

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  8. I like your new profile photo. Moreover, it's handy ... because now I know who to look out for in Loches on the 4th! :) Have a safe journey and hang on to that sunny weather until we get there! Martine

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    1. Martine, we wil do our best to keep the sun shining for when you arrive !!

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  9. I love tulips so much! Happy holidays, too.
    I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award at http://ladyjustine.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/being-versatile/ because I love reading your blog!

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    1. Thanks Justine, I really appreciate it.

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  10. Tracking the year by the appearance of the flowers is something we did when we had a house and garden. The Saskatchewan Lilies always bloomed around Canada Day (July 1st). Very patriotic of them.

    Hope you're having a grand time. Did the Olympic Torch Relay come anywhere near your English home?

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