Sunday, 25 April 2010

No shrinking violets here!

I had a truly splendid time yesterday. One of the wine villages, Chaintre, was holding it's annual 'Rare plant fair' which gave me the chance to combine several of my favourite pass times: gardening, being among vineyards and meeting up with my girlfriends, in one blissful, sunny afternoon. I was accompanied by two of my dearest friends, Veronica and Di, two wonderful souls guaranteed to lift the spirits. Veronica was a little sceptical as we set out as she had been to one of these rare plant shows before and had been dissappointed when the rarist plant on offer had been a lupin!

The wine villages of the Macon Village route are splendid, each has at least one chateau and the ornate tiles and towers take your breath away. The vines grow right up to (and around) the houses and if the plot of land is over a metre square, there will be grapes growing on it. We found ourselves ooohing and ahhing at every bend in the road and frequent stops for photos meant the event until it was in full swing by the time we arrived. As we stepped from the car, the smell of sweet lilac and wisteria wafted on the warm air and the heat reflected from the ancient stone buildings added to the already balmy temperatures.

There were plenty of stalls and whilst the plants were not necessarily exotic, they all looked incredibly healthy and tempting. Mark and I are in the process of creating a rockery and adding to our culinary patch so I was particularly keen to root around the veggie stands. Di is starting a garden and was taken by all things delicate, unusual or both. Veronica had filled her wicker basket to bursting point with aromatic herbs and then turned her attention to catching up with old friends, Veronica knows everyone!

Overcome with heat and excitement, we decided to take a breather in the pretty main square. The villagers were selling sugared waffles and local wine at only 1 euro a glass. We found a shady bench and people watched as we sipped cooling drinks. It's so uplifting when everyone around you has a smile on their face. Having placed our entry tickets, now marked with our names and contact details, in an urn to win a prize (another trip to Lourdes?), we completed one more circuit of the fair to ensure we hadn't missed anything. I bought Morocaine mint, some rather unusual tomato plants that promise to deliver black, yellow and orange tomatoes later in the year, a pretty little blue flowering plant whose name escapes me at the moment and an astilby. Back at Veronicas I was presented with a linseed plant from her amazing garden and went home eager to dig and plant and water...

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