Spring showers…

March 26, 2010



This morning, I awoke to a shutter rattling wind which quickly turned into a surprising downpour soon followed by a spring thunderstorm – all before daylight seeped under the shutters to announce the day.  We are left with a light shower and lingering thunder, enough to keep Kitty from venturing outside to the building next door for breakfast.   

I’m pleased it’s raining despite the harrowing efforts to keep the kids dry on the way to school.  This rain is good for the shrubs I planted earlier in the week.  Each year, at the first sign of spring, I trawl the local gardening stores, admiring the rows of flowers, the enormous olive trees and the fruitiers heavy with juicy lemons and oranges, wondering why the small mandarinier we planted last spring has not yet born fruit.  I’m always tempted to take home one of the trees which is already bearing ripe oranges or lemons just to say I ate an orange that I picked from my own tree.  But there’s also something in watching your own tree grow to maturity and bear fruit. 

I’ve planted shrubs and trees as each exterior terrace is completed at our house/bed & breakfast next door.  The other day, I put in three flowering plants advised by my favorite garden store;  ciste pulverulentus ‘sunset’ which has rough leaves and blooms small fuchsia flowers in late spring much of the summer and Othonopsis which gives numerous yellow blossoms supposedly all winter (although the one I planted last year has not bloomed yet).  They are local varieties and grow well in the dry heat of Provençal summers.  Low maintenance, exactly what I need.  

Despite my love of flowers and gardens, I do not have a gift for gardening.  In an effort to cheer up our gloomy and somber living room, I bought some indoor plants that had ‘low sunlight’ written on the little ticket stuck into the pot.  I have no idea what they’re called.  At the time, I was more concerned with their care.  Low water, low light, plants I thought, impossible to kill.  I was wrong.  Over the past months, I have unfortunately and unintentionally put two of the plants in grave danger.  I could blame it on the environment.  Our living room is long with only one window facing north.  However, this isn’t the first incidence of plant homicide to take place in my house.  For our wedding, we received a lovely braided tree and for Olivia’s birth, my parents sent a large potted orchid.  Both died within a year under my ‘care’.  

I don’t understand what happens.  The orchid and braided tree were residents of our first appartement which was very sunny.  I kept the little cards in the soil and followed the instructions precisely.  I later learned that the tree may have died because I didn’t repot it into a larger container.  

The two current plants on the verge of death I recently took outside with the intention of repotting them.  They quickly disappeared and I’m assuming my mother in law has hidden them out of my reach while she nurses them back to health – she has a gift for that.  I haven’t seen the plants or the empty pots anywhere around the house this week.  Two others remain;  a vine tumbling down from the top of an armoire.  It has a yellow leaf now and then but seems to be doing well otherwise.  And something else for which I’ve forgotten the name.  It once had a large orange blossom growing up between its leaves now long gone.  It seems a hearty plant but I doubt I’ll see another bloom.  I’m tempted to buy more house plants but that might not be wise.  For now I’m concentrating on the exterior with which I seem to have better luck. 

Tomorrow, weather permitting, the shrubs and mandarinier will be joined by a second mandarin tree, a climbing rose bush and the flower bulbs I bought yesterday;  a Calla Lily called red majesty, Gladiolus which I succumbed to after reading the name of the color -wine and roses,  and a packet of wild flowers which I’ll dust over a nearby hillside and which, with some luck, will produce an abundance of pickable flowers for the girls.



  1. In the states, at Walmart, one can buy an electric mattress cover. Simply turn it on before bed time and crawl into a warm bed which makes a huge difference in a cold house. Then, it’s up to you whether to keep it on all night. There are eight heat settings. On queen and king sizes, there are two controllers, for the wife who is always cold and the husband who may not be. Believe me, it was the best $50 I have spent!

  2. I’m in the process of killing a poor baby olive tree.

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