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!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Trip to Folly Farm!

On my recent visit to the UK aside of some extremely wet weather I had a very enjoyable morning walking around Folly Farm in Somerset - the changes there since my last visit were remarkable... the place has been rebuilt and the grounds are still in the process of being developed. All the original buildings have been beautifully renovated - providing the chance for the wider community to engage with the environment and really enjoy the surrounding countryside. If you're interested in learning more about the environment and how to preserve it, you should check out the courses offered here http://www.follyfarm.org/ - you can even stay here too!

They've developed a short woodland walk through lovely mixed woodland, which is mainly surrounded by meadow - some of which has been left untouched for over 100 years. In these areas you can see great examples of established ant hills of yellow meadow ants - one of the favorite foods of the Green Woodpecker! These birds are able to feed on such insects aided by their sticky tongues. Walking through there are plenty of nesting boxes for both bats and birds and if you come at twilight you might be lucky enough to watch badgers.

On the way round we spotted hedges which had been laid in the traditional way - using a mix of Field Maple, Black Thorn and Hazel. Hedging like this is a wonderful way of encouraging wildlife into the area offering both shelter and a nesting site for some.

There are longer walks here too - a place for all ages and well worth a visit if you're passing!

And to finish off with before heading to the car park - some wonderful views towards Chew Valley Lake! Only a couple of hours later I was in my seat on the aircraft bound for Dinard...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

A great end to the weekend....

What a beautiful day we've had here in Northern Brittany - a typical autumnal day - but not particularly cold, light sunshine and a breeze - ideal for getting many of the jobs desperately needing to be done somewhere near complete!

Many of the perennial plants were needing to be cut back - such as the large areas planted with Helianthus and Echinops - the best way that I've found is by taking some hedge trimmers to the base of the stems - when they're dry it's easy work and amazing how quickly you can get through them. It's a lot quicker and a neater job is done than when using a pair of shears. I've also done this when clearing patches of brambles - trim back an area and then pull the ones you've trimmed back with a spring-tined rake and attack the next bit until the patch is cut and by that time all the brambles will be in a neat ball to place in your wheel barrow and off to the bonfire heap - no horrible lengths of bramble to claw into your legs and arms and a much less of a painful way of removing these horrors! All said and done I don't ever remove them all as the fruit is delicious to eat and provide much needed food for garden birds and visiting wildlife.

After a hard day's work I took a few more pictures of our garden to share with you.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Autumn leaves....

What a beautiful sunny day it's been here in Brittany - wish every day was like this - maybe if they were we wouldn't appreciate them quite so much. Later in the day as the sun got lower I was doing some work in a beautiful garden which has a young Tulip Tree - the leaves in the golden sun looked stunning so thought I'd share a few pictures to lift your spirits...
The final two shots are of the Maple!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Fiery colours of November!

As one or two people had asked over this weekend what had happened to November, one conclusion suggested that it had been cancelled due to bad weather - I decided that this was probably the best phenomenon that I could indeed come up with!!

The autumn is an extremely busy time of year or it certainly seems to have been this year for one reason and another - certainly not enough time to get jobs done in our own garden so far with the constant battle with the weather, but then again it could be worse!

With the gradual transition this year from rather mild weather into more cool weather, the leaves have had time to change colour and many still remain on the trees giving us some wonderful autumn colours and so I thought I'd share some of these with you. If you've got some obvious gaps in your own garden at this time of year, it's an ideal time to plant to ensure a good display for 2009.

Yesterday I sat inside watching the rain pretty much all day and then today it cleared enough to allow me into our own garden for a change to catch up on some of the many jobs needing done. It was wonderful to watch our Spotted Woodpecker prizing his way into the few walnuts remaining on the ground, the Great Tits followed to pick up anything that remained and towards the end of the day was surprised by a flock of long tailed tits that seemed to find plenty to feed off in both the Plum and Field Maple trees - they're wonderful acrobats and extremely entertaining!

To round off the day today - some wonderful evening colour in the sky...