Gardens and SW France Weather May 2014

Elaine and David's garden
Elaine and David’s garden

In early June every year, Rendezvous aux Jardins (national gardens weekend) takes place. We make a point of visiting at least one garden during the event. I normally leave green (appropriately) with envy and wish that my garden looked anywhere near as good. This year, we went to the rather new but already well-established garden of singing colleagues Elaine and David, near Villeneuve-d’Aveyron.

Starry alliums
Starry alliums

Elaine and David have battled against considerable odds in establishing their garden. First, it’s north facing. Second, the property was an ancien corps de ferme (farm) when they bought it and the only garden was probably a potager. Third, like us, they contend with clay, chalky soil and a lot of stones. Finally, the causse de Villeneuve is notoriously dry. Apart from that, it’s all right.


However, they have done wonders and created a lovely garden consisting of a series of different “rooms”, or areas, and a wide variety of very healthy-looking plants. In fact, they planted several thousand plants (!) that came all the way from a Dutch nursery by lorry.

Despite being busy with visitors to the garden, they kindly invited us to stay to lunch, which we ate on their terrace overlooking the rural view.

Now for May’s weather. Every month I post an update on how the weather has been in our corner of southwest France, based on the statistics we have kept since 1998.

Weather assessment for May

A reminder of our subjective weather assessment: we assign each day a plus if it’s fine, a minus if it’s bad and a zero if it’s indifferent or we can’t decide. In May, there were:

Pluses – 13
Zeros – 15
Minuses – 3

Although there were few minuses, it was a rather gloomy and cool May. The graph below shows the percentage of plus days each May for the past 16 years. This May was well below average, with only three worse, three the same and nine better.

Proportion of pluses in May
Proportion of pluses in May

The considerable variation in recent years is noteworthy. Despite this, the trend is pretty stable, which just shows how much variation trends can conceal.


Our rainfall stats go back to August 2004. May was considerably drier than normal: 52.5 mm against an average of 87.8 mm. Surprisingly, though, it rained on more days (13 as opposed to the average of 11), which confirms the gloominess.

Rainfall 2014 to date
Rainfall 2014 to date

Because of the wet winter, we are still over average rainfall for the year to date: 424.5 mm against the 401 mm we would normally expect.

June has started by being variable but is shaping up to be very pleasant over the next few days with temperatures in the 30s. The farmers around here are all making hay while the sun shines – a good sign. Qu’il dure.

A final pic from Elaine and David’s garden:


You might also like:

Glorious French Gardens
SW France Weather June 2013 and Garden Pix
Black Wine and Secret Gardens in Cahors

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