Friday, October 15, 2021

BEWARE of the CROCUS - something rotting in the soil

 An important addition - and correction - to my last piece on the crocus....I have just found a short note I wrote many, many years ago on the very subject:  read carefully...

 '....August ends abruptly....the early rays of the sun later reveal the sudden presence of the autumn
crocus..This leafless flower seems not quite of our world, its translucent, anaemic hollow stems barely support the long, pale lilac petals,a fully opened head often breaks the stem...It is as though all its nutrients come from something rotting in the soil, as though the sun is irrelevant to its being.   It likes deep clay soils and 'nutritious substances' particularly nitrogen bearing... 

this quote comes from a French book on wild flowers - sorry I have forgotten the name)

....Then  I continue to quote: is not a crocus at all, 

but...(fam liliaceae rather than fam iridaceae) but a 'colquique - deadly poisonous in unmanaged quantities, apparently good for gout if distilled into drops - its vulgar name in French is 'dog-killer' - mort aux chiens...

How could I have forgotten!! 

old age coming on fast.


(in the last war, in occupied Netherlands my mother used to boil - carefully - tulip bulbs for sugar)

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Of Crocuses and Moles

The autumn crocus is a very reliable flower, it always comes at about the same time, if not actually at official autumn according to a calendar.  It comes when it decides it feels like autumn, or is just the time that it wants to come.

We have one very reliable plant, it is just next to a broken pot which is now so covered in ferns that no one can remember whether it really was a pot, or just a random tree stump.

 It is usually solitary even though its spring leaves promise more, But they get strimmed.  However, I am told that although a crocus springs up from a bulb it does seed and some of the seeds become bulbs. This year, in a much neglected part of the front garden we saw the result.


And yet we never have any crocuses (or should I say 'croci?) on the other side of the house. Perhaps it will take more than the 40 years we have been at La Chaise for the invisible seeds to settle and become bulbs. 


We did once try to plant bulbs on the other side of the house.   I had visions of swathes of daffodils, narcissus, jonquils at the end of the lawn.  But of course I had forgotten all about the resident moles.  About a third of what we planted flowered but only once. And, curiously, the moles do not come round to the front of the house.


All explanations gratefully welcomed.









Dog days in the Dordogne - survival ideas

 At last consistently hot days have arrived at La Chaise!   I can stop annoying everyone with my saying 'as a retired farmer, I am allowed to say we need a little rain...'  The temperatures for the last few days have consistently passed 30 C... This was written in July. 

This is a new friend - probably came in from the rain - no I don't know his name
As August  began it started to  behave like September or March - unstable temperatures and unpredictable rain. The months seem to have unfixed their habitual characteristics - April thought it was May, for example. I still do not accept that a shower can be 'sweet' except in the middle of a very hot month.

The death of the Camelia

The verandah always gets a cane roof for the summer.  This is very thoroughly watered.  I should have put on a double cane layer but it has taken so long to become really hot - that I forgot.  Otherwise the inside temperature is intolerable. I also wet the windows and the anti-insect curtains in the doorway.

The idea for wetting the window shutters and verandah covering came from a very ancient picture of my Grandmother's house in Indonesia.  A small boy was letting down a thin cane blind over the window, the next foto showes him watering it...

No wonder SOGEDO - loves is my 'utility' whose bills are so very useful for proving something to legal minds - what and why I do not know.