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 28 November 2007

A passion for gardening!

The rather damp and cold winter weather certainly only manages to draw only the more passionate about gardening outside at this time of year... others preferring the warmth of a nice log fire!! I have to admit as long as it's not tipping it down with rain I'm happy working outside in the cold - particularly on those lovely frosty sunny mornings which we've already seen in Brittany during the last few weeks when temperatures got down as low as -4 degrees!

Earlier this month before the main bout of frosts there was an abundance of late colour in the gardens here - Passion flower at its best and roses too. Passion Flower is a vigourous climber and great for covering over an area of trellis in a sunny position. Be aware though that not all varieties are frost hardy - some are much more tender and require protection at this time of year.
Once your roses have lost their flowers it's a good time to give them a prune before they get damaged by windy winter weather - I tend to prune a bit now and then more in the spring rather than doing it all in one go - I'm aware other people have other schools of thought on this .... so feel free to share your experiences in the comments section! Roses are greedy feeders so a good helping of well rotted down farmyard manure is well recieved at this time of year - placed around the base of the plant - it will also act as a good mulch too.

I try and leave seedheads in the garden as long as possible to allow the birds to benefit - they've loved all the sunflower seeds this year and seem to be eating more than ever from the bird table - perhaps we are in for a really cold winter??
Another good reason is that frosted seedheads help to add interest to your winter garden when nothing much is flowering. Even all those brambles can look attractive when covered in frost! One tip that I've found works wonders when trying to get rid of large areas of brambles before having to dig them up by the roots obviously, is to take some hedge trimmers and cut through the stems as near to the
soil as possible - makes much lighter work of than having to do each stem with secateurs!
We've certainly got our fair share here - the garden had been left abandoned for about 9 years before we arrived so it's been a steep learning curve!

Sunday 11 November 2007

L'Automne est arrivé

Now that we've had some frost, the colours in the garden this month have been fabulous with all the rich hues of orange, red, brown and yellow accentuated with the golden rays of the setting autumn sun. Despite the cold snap earlier this month though, the weather seems unseasonally mild, but I'd better not talk too quickly!

If you're garden is lacking in colour at this time of year, there are many plants to choose from to brighten things up - one of my favorites is Cotinus "Grace" or Smoke Bush which goes a fantastic shade of deep red at this time of year.

Another great plant that has done really well this year have been the Asters - there are many varieties and a good diversity of colours too ranging from deep crimson to purples to pale pink and even white - they come in a variety of heights too so there is usually something there for most gardens.

It's a good idea to keep trimming your grass at this time of year if only to keep the leaves from settling preventing the grass from growing properly. It's best to raise the height of cutting slightly to avoid the grass from being damaged by frost.
Who said that this time of year is a quiet time for gardeners? Everywhere you turn there's things to do! With the dry weather we've been having this past week I took advantage of this and cut down a lot of the dry dead stems of some of my perennials and find that as I have two large patches full of flowers that taking a hedge trimmer to the base of the stems, it's a much easier way to cut them down than with secateurs. It's also a good way to cope with brambles too - so if you've any hints or tips that you find useful - do feel free to share them on here...........Bon courage!