As the temperature climbs from the high twenties to the mid-thirties here by the Montagne Noire, my motivation to function plummets exponentially. And what would be a better project to tackle when the sun is hot than overhauling a garden full of concrete and dog poo? It has been months in the making, but it seems that our outdoor space is finally taking shape despite of this heatwave holding Europe in its deadly grip.
We also needed to get rid of a few pesky trees, including a London Plane that was mere inches away from the garden wall and destined to grow huge. Another had already damaged the surface of the old concrete patio with its roots and thus it was getting on my tits. In fact, I hated it so much that I took a dull saw to the bastard and spent almost an hour cussing and sawing through blood, sweat and tears until the tree was no more. A bush, a shrub and odd patch of completely tasteless wild strawberries soon met the same faith.
Other new plants include stunning bush of lavender, rhubarb, thyme and rosemary. I also planted a selection of bulbs, none of which have shown any interest in blooming so far, but such is gardening: constant investment for the next season. We chose purple slate as the filler for these beds, hoping it would slow down the snails and keep the area as weed-free as possible.
The old patio, completely broken up by a web of roots, was dug up and replaced with the help of Rusty the dog who loves digging. We levelled the base with a few bags of sand, laid down
the law some factory off-cuts of engineered slate in light beige and filled the gaps with specs of subtly rose-tinted marble that works well with the purple slate. In time, this is where we’ll set up a table and chairs once the right set comes along, but for now, it’s a steady base for Rustys paddling pool when he gets too hot in his furs, a bbq or a set of planters.
With all this talk about stone, you might wonder why we did not go for grass in the end. I would have really wanted to, not least for the dog to use as his latrine, but in this climate it needs constant maintenance to look good in the summer. Even with the diligence of the local gardeners tending the public spaces in Mazamet, the grass is yielding under the sun and there’s only so much watering I want to do on day to day basis.
Happy gardening y’all!