Today is hedge cutting day in my little French village.
The date is decided by my neighbour Remy each spring. He has a feeling for the weather, and he’s really needed to tune in to that feeling hard this year as we’ve had a very topsy turvy time of it here in the north of France.
We had the heaviest overnight snow fall in mid-March that anyone can recall in living memory in my village. That is quite something since some of the ladies are well over a hundred years old. This week it has been gloriously sunny, Wedgewood blue skies, beautiful, but some days the temperature has barely got above freezing which for April is unusual.
It’s having a terrible effect on gardening plans, every time we chat to a neighbour its doom and gloom about not being able to sow seeds and get going. The husband jokes that the pathetic herb collection I have in the kitchen will be this year’s garden but it’s not funny really. If we gardeners are struggling then I shudder to think what a worry it is for the farmers. I’m no seer but I think we can safely all assume that the price of fruit and vegetables in this part of Europe will certainly be rising rapidly unless the sun comes out tout de suite.
Anyway, Remy says we must attempt to do what we can in anticipation and that means cutting the hedges even though it’s still only +1°C out today. A major wrapping up exercise is called for in which I shall be donning several layers of clothing and furry ear muffs! He also says we can’t leave it much later because the birds will make nests if the weather does turn better as it’s expected to next week. The hedge between my garden and next door is about 300 feet long and even though the weather has been bad it hasn’t stopped the hedge getting out of control.
It’s a typical French countryside hedge of this area – a mix of hazel, elderflower and hawthorn. Some of it has got to more than 20 ft high.
Last year I got cut to pieces on the hawthorn which certainly lives up to its name and has plenty of nasty big thorns so this year I’m wearing two pairs of gloves.
It is possible that I may be of little help today and just waddle about like an Egyptian mummy wrapped in all my layers…