May 9th, 2010 comments
Colorado Robin's Nest
Although I’m a nest builder, I’ve never paid close attention to the birds that visit our garden, until this spring. So far we’ve had the wayward pigeon (read about Ms. P here), and a pair of nesting doves and their friend, the loner. Doves mate for life so I feel sorry for the loner. He befriended the pigeon but now that the pigeon’s flown the coop he’s alone again. We have a pair of Great Tits (my husband thinks that’s pretty funny) that are nesting in a hole in one of our stone walls. There’s been a good luck visit from the Hoopoe (pronounced hoopoo) of Egyptian hieroglyphic fame and today a flock of fantastically colored European Bee-Eaters stopped by.
They’re all attending to their nests this time of year. I feel an instinctual connection to these busy birds because the nest I’ve built and care for as a mother has been the most important thing I’ve done in my life and has also been life’s greatest gift to me. Birds, like mothers, build nests only to watch their babies fly away. And the flying away is the hardest part (on the Moms that is), but I know that if the nest is built of love it will never be abandoned and our babies will never really leave.
I treasure each and every nanosecond I’m able to spend with my son and daughter. Our non-traditional life has allowed us to be a part of each others lives in a very special way. Our daughter flew off to Colorado just a couple of weeks ago and our son flies off to Brazil at the end of this week. Even though we’ll once again be separated by physical distance, on this Mother’s Day the thing I’m most thankful for is the love and friendship we all share and for the invisible nest that keeps us together, wherever we are in the world.
A very Happy Mothers Day to my own Mom and to all of you lucky nest builders out there.
Great Tit - European Bee Eater - Hoopoe
May 5th, 2010 comments
It’s time to thin the fruit on the apricot tree. I dread this simple garden task. Who am I to edit nature? I stare at the freshly plucked potential in the bottom of my bucket and I’m overcome with a sense of remorse.
Gardening in our area of Provence resembles a form of vegetal warfare. If you’ve ever seen a plane tree hacked to knarly nubs or the local fruit trees awkward skeletal frames, you understand the severity with which we coax “appropriate” growth. I have to wonder about the natural world’s willingness to reward such intervention with a beautiful canopy not to mention a sweet crop. Even the formal French garden design I admire relies heavily on taming and shaping the otherwise wild.
Weeding, pruning the dead wood, thinning the excess fruit, all necessary and beneficial, but in my hands these chores have more of a 60’s live and let live vibe. Come to think of it, there’s a tie die T shirt in my dresser drawer and I remember my daughter saying something about it being good gardening attire….
May 1st, 2010 comments
brocanting and blogging have been on the back burner for the past 2 weeks. We’ve had our first true taste of spring here in Provence and we decided it was time to attack the north side of our garden. This has been the space that’s housed the stacks of construction materials, the cement mixer, the piles of debris. We never counted it as livable outdoor space, we thought of it more as a buffer. Surprise surprise! What I love about a remodel project is that sometimes a feature you’ve completely overlooked morphs into a little gem.
Our hands are dirty hands and our backs are sore…. the gravel has yet to be delivered and there’s a bit more planting to do, but the view from my kitchen window already makes me smile!
work in progress...
April 15th, 2010 comments
The path from the village that leads to our garden dead ends at our garden gate. The tourists love this little path as it offers an unobstructed view of the Luberon valley. And being curious tourists they’re equally tempted by what lies beyond our gate. Last spring during the construction on our house the gate was often left unlocked. One day a man appeared just outside our house followed by a group walking up our garden path when I heard my son’s voice politely explain that this was private property. But the trespasser wouldn’t leave. I could hear my son’s French become more animated and finally the gentleman walked away in a huff stating that it wasn’t posted as private property and that we were infringing on his rights by denying him access. Unfortunately this wasn’t the first episode but we swore it would be the last, so we put up a very unattractive screen on the open ironwork gate and a sign, entrée interdite… entry forbidden. The approach to the gate looks so unappealing I can’t imagine it arousing curiosity, but the tourists are back and there were two heads bobbing above the gate today, so I need a new strategy.
Segway brocante…. where I saw a vintage sign that might help, Chien Mechant -Mean Dog- but then I would need the dog and that’s when I came across the photo above on Peter Sohier’s website. If only the dog were mean! But it made me smile and it gave me the idea to introduce you to Peter and Lucy’s business.
When I’m at the deballage -professional antique fair- in Avignon I always stop by their stand, they set up outside in the large parking lot. Peter and Lucy’s antiques are often garden inspired and have a sense of humor. Here are some of their current offeringings. They add to their site often and you can add your name to their email list to be notified of updates. They will also arrange for shipping to the US or work with your transporter if you’re sending a container. www.petersohier.com
April 3rd, 2010 comments
there’s not much time to post this weekend with all of the antique fairs going on here in France. I’m looking for all things grey for the garden and I have a particular weakness for faux bois…. Wish me luck!