May is a month with plenty of jours fériés (public holidays) in France, but it’s the busiest time of the year in terms of the garden and its wildlife. The whole place is alive with bees and the chirping of the baby blue tits, nestled into a crevice in the barn wall. Mum and dad dart expertly in and out of that tiny gap with food all day long. The sparrows continue to squabble in the guttering and on the rooftops while the hoopoes swoop majestically around the orchard in search of insects to feed their brood. Their call is unmistakable and seems to be a permanent feature of our early summer soundscape from dawn until dusk. The field crickets provide a rhythmic background chirrup during the day, but in the relative absence of the avian chorus after dark it takes on an altogether more dramatic quality at night, filling the air until late into the autumn.
All this new life and vitality translates into plenty of work for us in the garden. You can almost hear the plants and the grass growing, it happens at such a pace. Weeding, mowing, planting, dead-heading, trimming and sowing: it’s rewarding, of course, but sometimes it’s a joy to kick back, watch and listen to Mother Nature in action. No better place to do just that than beneath the dappled shade of the grapevine in our little coin repos: a quiet corner to unwind. For our guests it’s perfect spot to take a break between games of pool or table tennis in the barn next door, or simply to relax and enjoy the peace with a cooling drink, or a book. You may even find a four-legged friend watching you from her own patch of shade.