mercredi 21 mai 2008

A partially open bud only yesterday

Ghislaine de Féligonde Rose
Rambler rose, Turbat 1916

Interestingly, this plant is more in the shade than the other one, which has much more apricot in the bud. I say interestingly because the plants in shadier areas are said to have the deeper coloring, but in this case, it's the opposite. This was a uniformly yellow bud that opened fully in the space of the afternoon, the first. The smaller photo to the right is a bud from the other bush, planted the same day in the sunnier location around the gazebo.

The Pool

The water is quite clear, pH ended up a little low (it was actually fine when they thought it was high, and I lowered it a little, but the weather will bring it back up), and for some reason, the chlorine barely registers. Sabine had to test it three different ways before we detected it. It's light, but since the water is too cold to go in now, unless you are my friend Karen, we don't need a very substantial chlorine level.

This photo is taken from the inside of the gazebo, where we eat now in the summer, and where I can work on warm, sunny days, once I am intrepid enough to carry my laptop, extension cable (for electricity, until we get it hooked back up), books and drawing stuff down there.

In the lower left hand corner, you can just make out leaves and unopened buds from the Ghislaine de Féligonde that produced the top flower today.

Yesterday I scrubbed the sides under the crown and spent hours and hours pruning and cleaning around the pool, the Corsica Blue rosemary, the heather that had far outgrown its area under the Pieris japonica, a white-flowering pieris, whose new leaves are red turning green or variegated and, which I pruned heavily to let light in under it so the heather I cut out would grow back in where it is supposed to be (if at all) and not practically hanging over the edge of the pool, stretching as far as it can on wiry stems looking for sunlight, and an Aucuba japonica, untouched for heaven knows how long, which I cut in half, discovering a Nandina domestica that was completely and thoroughly obscured by it.

The worst is pruning the ivy. It makes me sneeze repeatedly.

The Mosquitoes

They are so large and so bold as to nearly stay still enough to present themselves for a portrait alongside the dog and the flowers I am photographing.

Just awful this year, and already for a few weeks. Really.

Thank goodness I have a spray bottle of Cutters and another of Off from the States. I use them freely. So do our guests, but Audouin refuses. He'll use Paco Rabanne (until I xnayed it and since then he has refused to let me shop with him for one I prefer), but NO sun products and NO bug spray. That's fine by me, get eaten alive and keep your jeans and shirt on in the heat, while the rest of us slather up with our non-greasy 35 and 50 creams and "asperge" ourselves with Cutters.

Asperger. One of my favorite French words. It means to drizzle something, like olive oil and Balsamic vinegar on arugula (I'm with you, Barack). I believe you may use it with impunity for the application of parfumes and bug spray, as well.

That's Rapide. Baccarat was sniffing around somewhere behind me. I could hear her. To Rapide's right (my left) is the bank of St. John's Wort where the snake is believed to live. I haven't seen him since the other morning, but I talk to him.

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