I've finished the construction of my rose pergola. The final tasks consisted of reinforcing the four corners with diagonal struts, to make the structure as rigid as possible, and installing a "roof" composed of a network of steel cables. The result is a sturdy graceful structure, which is already supporting six healthy young rose bushes (no flowers now, of course): Albertine, Blush Rambler, Madame Alfred Carrière, Chevy Chase, Lykkefund and Paul Transom.
At the same time, I decided to remove the bird house from the top of the pergola and erect it in a more secluded corner of my garden.
Those dangling balls are bird food (mixture of fat and seeds) sold at the local supermarket. On the tiled roof, to hold water, there's a rectangular earthenware bowl that once contained a bonsai fig tree given to me Natacha and Alain. I finally "liberated" this tree by planting it in my garden, where it's now a meter high and growing happily alongside another fig tree given to me by the same friends.
I am now awaiting the feast of St Catherine, on 25 November, to plant a few dozen rose bushes in my future garden.
Catherine of Alexandria, who was allegedly martyred in the year 307 on the torture device that we designate today as a Saint-Catherine's wheel, was not herself a gardener. But her feast has become a time-honored rendezvous for French gardeners, simply because it happens to fall at the right horticultural moment of the year for planting bushes and fruit trees. In fact, Catherine has had her time cut out through her roles as the patron saint of barbers, cart-builders, rope-makers, drapers, school pupils and students, wool-spinners, millers, notaries, wet-nurses, orators, philosophers, plumbers, potters, preachers, knife-sharpeners, tailors, theologians, wood-turners and marriageable spinsters. Sadly, the Catholic Church appears to have doubts concerning her earthly existence. If ever the Church were to proclaim officially that Catherine is merely a figment of the imagination of pious pilgrims in the Sinai Desert, then I consider that we adulators should rapidly reinvent this absolutely necessary lady, totally and wholeheartedly, so that her non-existence would be no more than a fleeting instant of non-time.