Market day in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande

We’ve heard many people describe the Saturday market in Ste Foy as the biggest and best in the region. Today was the day when we decided to go and see for ourselves. We’ve driven around the town a few times en route for other places but never stopped. Parking, in true French (small town at least) fashion, was easy. We were late arrivals (characteristic of … Continue reading Market day in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande

The Garden Museum Literary Festival – a long weekend in Norfolk Part 1

A blissful midsummer’s weekend celebrating the best in garden writing I can’t remember when I first heard about the Garden Museum.  I’ve been to a few of their wonderful events over the years, have supported Christopher Woodward’s sterling fund-raising efforts for development, and have become rather fond of the organisation and everything it stands for. One day, when I was clearly in the mood to treat … Continue reading The Garden Museum Literary Festival – a long weekend in Norfolk Part 1

Advice for friends: planting in a difficult situation under trees

Two lovely friends in our French life, P & F, recently asked me for advice on what to plant in a very difficult position under trees which apparently suck all moisture and light from the soil. They’ve tried various plants none of which have thrived or even survived (so they tell me). I’ve always adopted the “have a go” approach to gardening. Someone I knew … Continue reading Advice for friends: planting in a difficult situation under trees

In a vase on Monday – from the French garden

The garden is in a phase where there aren’t many flowers. At least that’s what I thought until I decided to walk around with a flower bucket in one hand and a pair of secateurs in the other. And I was pleasantly surprised. Here is this week’s #IAVOM, all picked from the garden. Keep reading for some identification and explanation. Here’s another couple of views … Continue reading In a vase on Monday – from the French garden

The Exotic Garden: inspiration, planning and planting

Inspiration from Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter The first time I visited Great Dixter was the first occasion I was introduced to the concept of exotic/tropical style planting. It must have been not many years after the late Christopher Lloyd and his head-gardener Fergus Garrett (recently awarded the RHS’s prestigious Victoria Medal of Honour) replaced the long-standing rose garden with this new, challenging, and very exciting … Continue reading The Exotic Garden: inspiration, planning and planting

The rose garden: planted in January, flowering by May

Many people have been asking me how the rose garden is developing, after the big plant out in January. On arrival at the house last Thursday for a cheeky last-minute weekend I was thrilled to see that some of the roses already had flowers. Across a sunny weekend more opened. I was even able to enjoy one of my favourite gardening activities, a spot of … Continue reading The rose garden: planted in January, flowering by May

In a vibrant vase on Monday

For more years (decades even) than I now care to remember I lived in a house with a hot, dry front garden. I’ve always loved colour and flowers so used to bed it out, changing the planting at least twice a year. Winter and spring always included tulips, usually in rich and vibrant colour combinations. To complement the tulips wallflowers also usually featured. I’ve always … Continue reading In a vibrant vase on Monday

A fortnight in April: cool, damp, and much progress

We set off from Sussex with a car packed to the gunwales with the usual random collection of items, this time mainly plants.   Our drive to Portsmouth is quick and straightforward (apart from the 11 roundabouts around Chichester) and we were smoothly on to the ferry. where we quickly dumped our small bag in the cabin and went straight to the restaurant for dinner. … Continue reading A fortnight in April: cool, damp, and much progress