Every year I’m eagerly looking forward to the first burst of spring color, brightening up those showery spring days and bringing the sunshine into my life with a gorgeous collection of daily surprises. Dense carpets of wild flowers appear as spring takes hold of my garden, they brighten up the late-winter gloom.
It’s been a while, but as tons of family paid us a visit, there wasn’t much time to write. So here’s a quick hello from me, now that spring has sprung upon us in full force. I just had to share these dazzling spring flowers and creepy crawlies we’ve encountered whilst crossing the rejuvenation of nature on our path this last month.
Spring has finally arrived, the sun is shining brightly and warmer temperatures see the day. Time to mow the lawn and start getting the garden ready for a beautiful outdoor summer. Alas spring brings lovely smells in the air, it is ever so tempting for dogs’ noses and urges them to wiz off and explore the land outside your garden.
Living in France for over 10 years I was warned from the early days, when horse riding, to avoid the nests of the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa or PPM). Recently I got a call of some friends, their dog was not well, breathing heavily, drooling and having a blue tongue after been in contact with these caterpillars. I immediately advised them to go to the vet, knowing the danger involved for their dog.
A weird, flying insect has taken up residence in a hole of our terrace stone wall. We’re always very alert, as we don’t want wasp nests, let alone “frolons”/hornets on our terrace (they’re massive, big wasps). We were wondering whether we had to fill up the hole and prevent the insect from coming back (which it did the whole time), till we had friends coming over who had more “nature” knowledge than us. “Don’t touch them, leave them, they are solitary bees!” was the answer we got. We said: “It looks nothing like a bee, more like a weirdo insect”!
This morning we wanted to start our day, as we always do, sitting at our vintage pub table, having our cup of coffee in the first morning glory. This time we had company: intelligent life at the table! I told you, wildlife here, seems to be coming closer to us than ever before, each day offers us a wonder.
In the early mornings letting our dogs out, we are always greeted by hundreds of different species of birds singing their hearts out. At night we have the nightingales’ concerts, blending in with hundreds of toads singing, announcing us tomorrow it might rain. This week we were in for a shock: a young nuthatch struck the kitchen window (a reminder for me to hang even more wind chimes, so the birds realize in time they can’t fly through that barrier!).
Yuccas were always my favourite indoor plants, long before they became the trendy plants they are now. It wasn’t until I arrived in the South of France that I saw them in nearly every garden. No wonder yuccas thrive here, they can be in full sun, but are also able to withstand temperatures as cold as -12 C (10F). You have no idea how useful for humans, this truly magical plant, also known as the Spineless Yucca, Spanish Dagger, Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet and Soapweed or Xompeetro, Perkiiy, Te’ch’ik’u, or Palki in Maya dialects, can be.
Easter the time of year for the commotion of decluttering, dusting and of course spring cleaning, let’s do it in style. Did you know that feather dusters made from the outer layers of an ostrich’s feathers are ideal for your furniture? They of course won’t scratch it, they build up static electricity when rubbed and thus will capture dust and most important of all: will hold the dust, till you shake them out! And I’m not even talking about their durability. As you can see ours are well used.