Saturday, 26 March 2011

Right on Cue

With the vernal equinox only a few days ago, my pretty Vernal Pea has burst into flower. This unscented cousin of the sweet pea only has a brief season of flowering, but because it is so early, it is always welcome.

Vernal Pea Lathyrus vernus (la gesse de printemps)
Out now in the orchard are some little wild Grape Hyacinth Muscari neglectum (le muscari à grappes). These are native to dry calcareous grasslands like our orchard, and make a subtle alternative to a bluebell wood, especially as they succeed the Common Dog Violets Viola riviniana (la violette de Rivin). These wild grape hyacinth are very compact, and a darker blue than their garden cousins M. armeniacum. They are also apparently plum scented, although I can't say I've noticed.

Wild Grape Hyacinth.
The weather here has been magnificent the past few days, more like summer than early spring. All the spring bees and butterflies have now emerged and are busy on peach and almond blossom, dandelion and lawn daisies.

Célestine at Chenonceau
Thursday was particularly bright and warm, and as luck would have it, our first clients of the 2011 season came down from Paris to spend the day motoring around in Célestine, visiting Loches and Chenonceau. I have never seen so few people at Chenonceau either, so it was a real treat.


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