2020 is a year that marks a new beginning for me; much more time at my disposal and a long list of things I wanted to incorporate into my days. By the end of March I would have expected to have been at the French house several times, quite worn out from heavy-duty gardening for hours on end, but oh-so-satisfied with the progress that would … Continue reading Here? There? Roadblocks in a no-man’s land …
Just four days after my 22nd birthday I moved into my second house, one I was to stay living in for almost 39 years. 13 days before Christmas, cold and dark, life remained mostly on the inside. Christmas Eve brought the arrival of a 9-week old Irish Setter, a surprise Christmas present (not something I would either recommend or wish on anyone). The puppy arrived … Continue reading Chionodoxas: a sparkling thread linking my homes across the years
We had many snowdrops in our Surrey garden from where we moved nearly five years ago, as the first stage in our French adventure. Mostly they were Galanthus nivalis (i.e. the common snowdrop) but I’d also introduced a few choicer cultivars. I don’t remember where the first snowdrops came from, whether they were already in the garden in 1975 when we moved there, or whether … Continue reading Snowdrops and me; is this a virus?
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
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
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
We are here at the French house on a two-week visit, one week either side of Easter weekend, a special and precious time together. I’m still recuperating after a very intensive working period, and R is partly working and partly having a few days of holiday. Our gardener has been here several times during our visit, making a flight of steps down into the new … Continue reading Rain stopped play (but not the weeds …)
We took over ownership of the French house at the end of November 2015, still pinching ourselves to be sure that this was really happening. Since then we have made a number of visits, enjoying unseasonably warm weather during December and then experiencing (not enjoying!) cold, wet, stormy weather throughout much of January and February. By the middle of March signs of spring were beginning … Continue reading The first spring