Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Tulips at Chenonceau

One of the compensations for visiting early in the season is that the tulips will be in brightly coloured massed ranks in the cutting and vegetable garden at the chateau of Chenonceau. This photo was taken in late March a couple of years ago and no doubt the florists who create the ever changing and glorious floral arrangements inside the chateau were busy dreaming up spectacular creations to show these tulips off to their best.
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Orchid Conference: The Société Française d'Orchidophilie is having an international conference in Blois Saturday and Sunday 1-2 March in the Halle aux Grains. The theme is 'What is the future for orchids in their natural surroundings'. There will be an exhibition open to the public, to promote knowledge about orchids, to encourage people to value them and protect them and their habitat, and covering issues such as the proliferation of cheap commercially raised orchids.
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Les grues sont arrivées! Yesterday afternoon hundreds of cranes flew over Preuilly, on their way to their northern breeding grounds. I think there were some storks in amongst the crowd too. They came from the general direction of the Brenne and headed in the direction of Loches. Simon made a little video of some of them. Spring must be here!


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Au jardin hier: I pruned the grape vines. Our orchard neighbour arrived when I was nearly finished. He inspected my work and pronounced it not bad. Of course, according to him it was too warm to be pruning the vines (not sure quite what I'm supposed to do about that given the weather we've had) and I got told to cut a few spurs shorter, but mostly I'd got it right.

Looks like 5 species of orchid are up and forming leaf rosettes. The Winter Damselflies were everywhere and in good numbers. I disturbed the hare who had been hidden in the long vegetation. I never see it until it shoots out and away. It runs a long way always and I'm sorry it expends so much energy. The general level of squidginess in the soil has reduced remarkably quickly. In just two sunny days I am no longer slip-sliding up the track, but I bet it would be back breaking to try to dig still.

13 comments:

Tim said...

Very odd direction for your cranes to be heading... NW?
WHAT A LOT THOUGH!!! Cripes, bet you needed ear defenders!

Your most exposed box....
the open fronted one...
might need shade in the summer sun [HA!]...
I can cut you some large chunks of spruce branch or cherry laurel to tie over the top.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

We had the cranes yesterday lunchtime'ish They flew from West to East with a slight southerly twist... Noisy for ages they were......

Tim said...

Would you like me to pass on your observation of the cranes to Faune Touraine? I think you'd count as "observateurs fiables"! P.

Simon said...

They difinitely headed Loches-wise (i.e north), Not sure where they came from (but usually it's more la Roche Posay) they were directly overhead on a thermal, which is why there is so much traffic confusion.

Susan said...

Simon is right. La Roche Posay is a better indication of where they were coming from.

Pauline: yes, please pass on our observations. I would guess about 500 in total, but I tried to count them and found it impossible. They came in two waves about half an hour apart, the first of which I could hear but never saw.

Tim: good thought about tying some branches over the redstart box. I have some privet that needs cutting back so I will use that. Means going up the ladder again though (sigh).

Pollygarter said...

Any idea roughly what time of day you saw the cranes? The same gang may have been observed elsewhere by someone else.

Susan said...

PG: 4pm.

Pollygarter said...
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Pollygarter said...

Thanks. It's logged. There were cranes everywhere yesterday, except our place. Sorry C&E - CAN do Braye sous Faye! For some reason I thought it wasn't in Indre et Loire.

Tim said...

C&E...
Pauline can do Braye!
She thought you were in 86 or 49...

And Susan...
to count large numbers like those, take photographs...
count the dots...
anything larger than a known single, count as two ONLY [ie: the minimum it can be]...
if a HUGE amount, pan, using "burst" mode on the camera and overlap in Photoshop [or Gimp]...
no need to count them all... mentally divide into squares...
[or draw a grid on the picture using layers]...
count the number of FULL squares...
count the dots in the fullest one, the average density and emptiest...
average the three... and multiply by the full square total. [Round down to nearest ten.]
Besty estimatey!!

Same as doing plant species quadrats on a field...
only more comfortable!!
Sit in the warm and have a glass of wine... but only the one... else the counting might be somewott-inna-curate!

The person who regularly gets x01, or x13, etc. on Grus Grus... doesn't bother to round down, obviously!!

Tim said...

With the last line...
they might not have another life....
and actually count every single one!!!

Nadege said...

It is amazing to see those cranes. Thank you Simon for the video!

Tim said...

Simon counted them and emailed us the result!
630'ish!!
Impressive...