A Christmas Letter – Part 1 “us”

I was an early adopter of the idea of writing Christmas letters. Some people call them Round Robins. Many ridicule them. But general feedback on mine is that they are welcomed and received with interest. So I shall continue to write one even at the end of this very strange year of 2020, even though I don’t necessarily feel like it. Like so many of … Continue reading A Christmas Letter – Part 1 “us”

Plus ça change plus ç’est la même chose

One of the few artefacts I have from my childhood is a composition (as they were called in those days) I wrote at primary school where I expressed the desire to live in a house in the country with roses growing over the door. I never lost that wish despite decades living in (albeit leafy) suburbia. Someone once accused me of having a romantic fantasy … Continue reading Plus ça change plus ç’est la même chose

Six on Saturday, life in lockdown, volunteers, and self seeders

Somehow, during lockdown, I’ve been completely unable to write a blog post. I don’t really know why. Perhaps one reason is that for me to retain my sanity in these strange days, these days when I should have been building my new non-working life, I’m focusing all my efforts on the here and now, counting the blessings I have, enjoying where I am. Perhaps writing … Continue reading Six on Saturday, life in lockdown, volunteers, and self seeders

#IAVOM – almost 5 months later!

#IAVOM – In A Vase on Monday – is a great idea which I’ve used a few times. You pick some flowers from your garden, arrange them, photograph them, and then write about them. I’ve cheated once or twice using bought flowers, mainly because the opportunity to use garden flowers for me is limited, and until recently my time has been very limited too. Its … Continue reading #IAVOM – almost 5 months later!

Compost, communication, and pain

Taking on the development of a 3-acre garden in another country was never going to be for the faint-hearted. At the best of times we can only be there between a third and (absolute maximum) half of the year. The land is fertile, the rainfall plentiful, and the temperatures temperate throughout most of the year. So the plants grow fast. We can only do what … Continue reading Compost, communication, and pain

Spring bulbs: success, failure and looking ahead to the future

Planting bulbs is one of my least favourite activities. The task usually falls to my trusty OH, with my responsibilities lying with research, selection, and buying. Last autumn I was determined to get ahead and made a wonderful selection from Peter Nyssen whose excellent customer service (via Karen and colleagues) is renowned on social media. The plans were limited to the Sussex garden, as I … Continue reading Spring bulbs: success, failure and looking ahead to the future

Six on Saturday 3rd August 2019

I’ve long enjoyed “Six on Saturday” posts from my oh-so-better fellow bloggers. And I’ve resolved to join them on several occasions, but have always been thwarted by it not being Saturday or not having appropriate photos to include. I must be in a blogging kind of mood today as I remembered to dash outside a couple of hours ago and take a few photos. And … Continue reading Six on Saturday 3rd August 2019

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

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