The art of the gardens at Boisjarzeau in August are the dying borders of Allium, Rudbeckia, Gaura and Agapanthus and a host of others with forgotten names; tall sunflowers in orange and yellow, exuberant vegetable beds, laden fruit trees and raspberry canes, three blue beehives and four fat chickens in a run.
The autumn golds and washed out greens give the place a weathered, end of era look. The wild meadow needs its annual cut as the tall thistles turn to fluff, although the chicory flowers remain a radiant sky blue. In the vegetable beds, the courgettes are making a run for it and an old wheelbarrow tries in vain to maintain order.
A garden shed is part-painted; the elegant pots on the disused well are occupied by small wasps’ nests; and a tiny geranium bronze butterfly dances above the pot plants on both front steps. Swallowtails nectar on the buddleja, brimstones and hummingbird hawk-moths on the spreading Ceratostigma and hornets forever hunt any flying insect going.
The great flock of house sparrows sits in the hedges and a fraction drops onto the wild lawns to pick seeds before making a concerted dash for cover. It looks like a child’s game but sparrowhawks come through here almost daily as though on a milk round but only as purveyor of a quick death; at a neighbouring farm one sunny evening, a hobby with long wings bent like a stretched anchor sears over the rooftops to try to take a swallow or a sparrow. The daily routine for the small birds in the wild garden is forever panic rather than pleasure.