Making the Most of Spring in Blois

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I don’t know how it got to be 10th March when just a couple of days ago, it was still February. All that R&R we were supposed to have this week doesn’t seem to have happened. Even though the fireplace smoked, we still could have spent time stretched out on our new sofa or relaxing in our armchairs reading.

The Pierre Ronsard rose bush after pruning

The Pierre Ronsard rose bush after pruning

So what did we do? Well, we made the most of spring. When the weather suddenly got warmer – 15°C – and the sun came out, we dashed into the garden where we discovered we were late with most of our pruning. We cut back the Pierre Ronsard and Meilland roses which already had new buds sprouting. We pruned the grape vine (not that the grapes are edible), the wisteria and honeysuckle.

Our Pierre Ronsard roses last June

Our Pierre Ronsard roses last June

We cut back all the hydrangeas in the hope that they will flower again as well as they did last year. The timing seemed to be right in any case. We cut down the remainders of the tall-stemmed daisies. I’d already pruned the hollyhocks in the autumn and they all seem to be doing well.

Hydrangeas after pruning

Hydrangeas after pruning

Jean Michel planted potatoes, onions and garlic in the rain by himself this year while I was upstairs working. But it’s OK, I didn’t really feel I was missing out on anything …

Our hydrangeas in bloom in July

Our hydrangeas in bloom in July

We couldn’t resist a visit to the nursery though. Our aim was to buy a clematis for the wall you can see on the other side of the front yard when you’re having breakfast.  We nearly didn’t plant it because it turns out there’s a lot of water under that flowerbed but there was absolutely nowhere else to put it so we’ll see what happens. The lavendar and Saharan rose seem to be doing OK.

Geraniums with bright green shoots

Geraniums with bright green shoots

I spent a couple of hours trimming back all the geraniums we’d left inside the little house for the winter. When Jean Michel saw them the day we arrived in Blois, he said I was going to be disappointed because they were all dead. Not so. After only a week, there were new bits of green sprouting everywhere. However, since it’s going to get cold again this week, with temperatures below freezing, I cut them back, gave them a bit of water and let them in the little house until our return.

Hardy little pansies

Hardy little pansies

We also wanted some peonies. I love pink peonies.The man at the nursery said to plant them in pots and put them with the geraniums. That way we can plant them in garden when we come back in a month’s time. I’m not really sure where though. We really do seem to be running out of room.

Our little wood full of daffodils and primroses

Our little wood full of daffodils and primroses

In the meantime, the little wood is a mass of daffodils so we were very sad to leave. There are two lilacs we should have pruned in the autumn so I don’t know it we’ll get many blossoms. That’s  another flower I love. We’ve started a garden book so we’ll do all the pruning at the right time next year. I’m looking forward to seeing the native Touraine orchids bloom in May.

A native Touraine orchid with spotted leaves

A native Touraine orchid with spotted leaves

All the bulbs I planted in autumn are starting to come up and last year’s fuschias are just sprouting as well. However, we decided not to plant any gladiolis. They look a bit messy when you aren’t there to look after them all the time. I’ll wait until we live there permanently. The little pansies came right through winter without batting an eyelid.

The wisteria and vine after pruning

The wisteria and vine after pruning

We’re supposed to be going down to Blois again in a month’s time, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to resist that long. I just love watching everything coming out of the ground in the spring! Driving back to Paris, we’ve just learnt that we’re in for a very cold week, with snow expected tomorrow. The temperature has already dropped from 8° to zero. I’m glad we made the most of spring in Blois!

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13 Responses to Making the Most of Spring in Blois

  1. Jane's cousin's friend says:

    We fly out of Brisbane on Friday and arrive in Paris on Saturday. I think I’d better pack some more warm clothes.

  2. Susan Walter says:

    All that gardening must have been very satisfying, but so frustrating to do the work and miss the results.

    Your orchid is an Early Purple Orchid (English) Orchis mascula (scientific) Orchis mâle (French). Very nice 🙂 It will have strong purply pink flowers in April.

    Your Pierre de Ronsard rose looks very strongly coloured — do they come in two colourways as well as two habits (shrub and climber)? Normally they are creamy white with baby pink tips. Or is that just what they fade to?

    I always prune my lilac in late spring, just after flowering. They flower on the season before’s growth, so you need to give them the summer to grow flowering material for the next spring, like forsythia.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Ah, thank you for the orchid information. So far we have two sorts.

      The Pierre de Ronsard (I’ve noted the “de”) is like hydrangeas – it depends on the type of soil. We have three altogether. The one at the back of the house is about the same colour and we’re waiting to see what the new one we planted last year outside the front fence will produce this year.

      Thank you for the information on the lilac and forsythia which we didn’t prune after flowering and had not bloomed before we left yesterday.

  3. Gigi says:

    These roses are to die for … The color is glorious … Oh you guys put me to shame. My poor garden has been totally ignored. I have lost the gardening inclination after weeks of continual rain here. Mind you the sun is shining away at the moment …..but I know….I KNOW …give it half an hour or so and down it will come again. Is still muggy to boot. Oh to be in snowy Paris ….ahhhhhh

  4. Rosemary Kneipp says:

    I quite agree about the roses – but not about snowy Paris! We really do need some spring.

  5. ParisReally says:

    Oh to have a garden! I’ll just have to live vicariously through your wonderful posts. Your roses are beautiful!

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I’ve longed for one for so long! Great to meet up yesterday but didn’t chat enough. I shall have to organise another bloggers’ breakfast!

  6. Pingback: Oh no, snow again in Paris! | Aussie in France

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  8. Shirley says:

    My Easter Sunday afternoon has really come alive since finding your blog when researching all things French travel for 2017. I love flowers and gardens so was looking at Pierre de Ronsard especially. Part of our time will be in the Loire Valley mid to end of May. I am trusting that roses will be blooming then. If not, all will be beautiful anyway.
    Happy Easter

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Hello Shirley. Yes, you can definitely count on roses from mid to end of May in the Loire Valley. I hope you enjoy your stay!

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