I obviously hope you enjoy browsing through the postings on here - do feel free to leave comments as it's always good to see who's visiting and to hear about other people's experiences - after all you never stop learning do you?

If you've any gardening questions or you live in Brittany and are looking for some gardening help - be it design work, planting or general gardening or you simply would like some advice, please don't hesitate to CONTACT ME or call me on 0033 661 77 23 89 (from UK) or 0661 77 23 89 (from France).

Happy gardening!

Friday, 20 June 2008

What's out in our garden at the moment....

With all the rain we've had this year as well as the added warmth - many plants have done well this year - this includes the grass which seems to be growing at a mammoth rate!

Despite losing my first attempts to growing sweet peas earlier this year, to a greedy mouse, the second sowing that I did were planted out last weekend and are already producing some beautiful flowers - these are a real favorite of mine - the more you pick them the more they flower! So this was another opportunity to create another hazel structure which I must admit am really pleased with... the birds have decided that it's a great place for a stop over before the reach the bird table!

Another of my summer favorites which I grew from seed this year are the sunflowers - very easy to grow - they're lovely and bright and the birds love the seeds. With their wonderful open blooms are perfect for many of the garden's pollinating insects too. There are many varieties of sunflower worth trying - if you've got a restricted space there are a number of dwarf ones too.

Nigella or Love in a Mist is another great little plant and a reliable annual that readily re-seeds itself - the flowers are as lovely as the seed heads later on.

Euphorbias are a crucial ingredient to a successfully planted border - they make great cut flowers but do be careful to wear gloves when picking as the white sap which often oozes from the stems can cause skin allergies.

I always wish the Day Lillies lasted longer but as their name suggests - their blooms last but a day but I wouldn't be without them - to keep a good display of flowers it really is worth diving them up in the autumn to avoid them getting too congested.

This lovely Dianthus was a bargain - whereas I normally buy plants from the local nurseries round here I found this in the local supermarket, looking like it needed a good home - and if you look carefully - yes I did get three varieties all in one large pot and all for 3 Euros!

Whilst on the subject of pink flowers I thought I'd add in this beautiful Cystus - a beautiful plant with almost paper like petals - ideal if you're looking to add a touch of boldness to an area of planting.

Last but not least - these beautiful orange Californian Poppies which come up every year in the gravel in the driveway and since in other areas of the garden too which is great!

I could add so much more, but this will have to wait to future posts... Bonne weekend!

My latest addition to my rose collection....

Going to plant fares, I must admit brings as much joy to me now as going to the local sweet shop when I was growing up - the only difference is most plants are more expensive!! I console myself that creating a nice garden will of course always add value to your property...

Last weekend we visited the Jardin d'Eau (a nursery as well as a beautiful garden) near to Plelan le Petit in rural Brittany - once a year in the middle of June they have an open weekend with a good variety of people exhibiting their plants and garden related wares - it's a lovely garden to walk around with plenty to see including their great selection of aquatic plants and ideas of how to include even a small water feature into your garden. To conclude - finish off your visit with a French Crepe, washed down with a glass of local cider.

Anyway - getting back to the reason for my posting was to share a picture of the beautiful Rosa "Mrs Oakley Fisher" - an old rose which originated in around 1921 I believe - the colour of its' blooms are incredible - almost translucent apricot.... if I'd found this before I'd definitely have bought one!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Suprise in my window box!

Maybe this is what cats take to be gardening leave - I think right now with the quantity of work in the garden I could quite happily take up the life of Hamish (my cat!) ... How great to be able to recline in the sun and watch the world go by, knowing that a constant supply of good food awaits inside as and when you need it!!

Oh... what a life!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Everything in the garden is rosy!

We've had a run of lovely warm sunny days here in Brittany and many of the roses are now well on their way.

Rosa "Sourire D'Orchidee"

For those of you wanting to attract more wildlife to your garden the single, more open blooms are much better for pollinating insects with the pollen more accessible - having said that some of the double flowers are stunning too!

Rosa "Lavender Dream"

Rosa "Lavender Dream"

Rosa "Remember Me"

Rosa "Madame Alfred Carriere"

Rosa "Jacques Cartier"

Rosa "Compassion"

Rosa "Veilchenblau"

Rosa rugosa "Rubra"

Rosa rugosa "Alba"

Rosa "Madame Hardy"

And last but not least the beautiful Rosa "Miranda"!

I love the old fashioned types which seem to thrive in our garden here. Try growing them alongside Lavender which are a great help in keeping aphids at bay!

Roses, I think are one of my favorite all time plants that I could never get bored of....

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Butterflies that don't just flutter by!

I've had a wonderful day working out in my own garden for a change and just having time to really enjoy what we've got here and to reflect back to the day we bought this place and realise just quite how much the garden has come on.

Since the warmer weather has arrived and with many more plants in flower, there has been a steady increase in the numbers and varieties of butterflies which can be seen fluttering from one clump of plants to the next - interesting too that different ones seem to take a liking for different plants - so if you take time to discover what certain butterflies like then you stand a greater chance of encouraging them into your garden - obviously it's also important to provide a good source of food for the caterpillars too - nettles are one of the favorites! One little book that I've found invaluable is the Collins Nature Guide to Butterlies and Moths of Britain and Europe - it provides good detail on habitats of the butterfly and caterpillar and favorite foods!

I even saw our first Swallow Tail butterfly the other day - one of the occasions when I didn't have my camera.

However, we've had a number of Orange Tips (female has no orange on her at all!), some wonderful Brimstones and a Red Admiral which I've managed to get pictures of - there are others which I'll post up in due course!

The Orange Tip seems to be partial to the Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), wheras the Brimstone loves Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) and the Red Admiral seems to make a bee-line for the Cephalaria gigantea (a pale yellow giant version of a Scabious).

I also thought I'd add these whilst on the subject of insects visiting our garden...

A beautiful Damsel Fly on the Crocosmia leaves

and another little grasshopper in the middle of one of the poppy heads!
and another Damsel Fly doing her acrobatics in the grass...

and last but not least the bees cannot be left out - having a wonderful time in the Sage!