This photo was taken a year ago, on 23 April 2010:
And here's a photo taken this morning, on 20 April 2011:
There's not much color yet, since it's too early for the roses. As you can see, I finally decided not to prune the thick upper rose foliage on the pergola… to see what happens.
I'm happy to discover that all my nine peony plants appear to be thriving. My doctor, who's reputed to be an expert gardener, had worried me when he told me he'd never succeeded in growing peonies at Pont-en-Royans. As at the same time last year, the earliest peonies to bloom are two splendid Japanese Suffruticosa specimens.
An interesting operation, this year, consists of judging the various perennials that I planted last year, often without knowing how they might react here at Gamone. I've discovered that two delightful little perennials are the simple ivory and shiny green Iberis and several colorful varieties of Phlox.
On the other hand, I realize that I planted certain perennials, such as Arabis [in French: Arabette], that are not particularly esthetic.
Some of my Arabis plants appear to be flattened out, and look like big bird nests. I suspect that Fitzroy could well have discovered that a soft sweet-smelling perennial is a fine place for an afternoon snooze.
I hasten to point out that I do not consider myself to be a genuine serious gardener, since it's not something that formed a part of my cultural upbringing in Australia. I'm what might be termed a dilettante gardener. On the other hand, it's a simple preoccupation that gives me immense pleasure here at Gamone... a little like strolling with the dogs, or admiring the mountains.