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!

Sunday 30 December 2007

The Lunatic Gardener!

Having just completed my latest article for Brit'mag on lunar planting (gardening according to the phases of the moon) which for anyone interested is in their January/February '08 magazine. To discover more on this subject why not order a copy!

It's a highly interesting and extremely involved subject but one that makes total sense and a method that clearly works - the moon goes through two principal monthly cycles one in relation to the sun and the other to the stars. The moon's gravitational pull controls many things on earth including the tides, rainfall and even the movement of liquids in plants.Lunar planting is timing your garden tasks according to where the moon is in relation to the sun and stars at particular times during the montly cycle - for instance, around the time of the full moon in particular, the moisture content in the soil is at its highest - so the best time to sow seeds for better germination, this is also when we see the highest tides. Another suggestion is to prune your plants as the moon moves through its waning phase (from full moon to new moon) as this is when there is least sap rising. The list is endless - do add any comments or tips you may have on this if you read this article...

An additional good source of reference is Nick Kollerstrom's book "Gardening and Planting by the Moon 2008 - this also includes a lunar calender for 2008 which gives all sorts of helpful hints and tips of what to do on each day of the year!

Thursday 27 December 2007

Planning Ahead for 2008!

As we head towards the new year - a belated Happy Christmas and Happy New Year when it arrives, to anyone reading this!

As one year ends and another one begins I always feel a sense of excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead and start thinking of all the things I'd like to do in the garden in the year ahead.... even if you don't acheive all your goals, it's good to have a plan to work to!

I must admit I feel quite behind with jobs in the garden but all is not lost.... there is still plenty of time to cut back all the dead plant material from perennials, time to prune back shrubs and clear the veggie patch in readiness for another season's growing too - one way of working off the extra calories eaten over the festive period too!

If you visit the site - do leave your comments as it's always nice to see who's visiting and hear about your experiences too... Bonne Annee and watch this space for ideas for your garden during 2008!

Friday 14 December 2007

The freezing weather continues....

I can't remember the last time we had continued frosty weather like this - the chance to get out with the camera has been a lot of fun...

Despite it being icy cold, it really is beautiful and even the cows came to take a look!

Every tiny detail is covered with fine particles of ice - even the catkins weren't exempt- nor each blade of grass.

I just wanted to make the most of the opportunity as you don't see this everyday!
Then to finish off with... frosted oak leaves and cobwebs.

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Cold & Frosty Morning...

Frost arrives in Brittany again - and thought I'd share some of the pictures I took whilst out for my morning walk with Lucy (our black Lab) ....

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Nothing better when you get in from the cold....

but a great bowl of warming PUMPKIN SOUP!

Pumpkins are generally easy to grow and extremely greedy, so make sure you supply them with plenty of good compost or well-rotted-down manure - some people even resort to growing them on their compost heaps! I'm being serious!
This was one of my prized items which I grew this year and it's been put to great use today when I made 2 large batches of Pumpkin soup! Not wanting to waste yet another wet day... The Pumpkin is an extremely versatile vegetable and ideal for soups - you can add all sorts of spices and flavours too. For one of the batches I ground down some of the coriander seeds that I'd saved over the summer. Fresh root ginger is also good, as are bayleaves, cardamon pods, orange zest cinammon, nutmeg and I could carry on - a lot depends on individual taste.
One way to avoid the arduous task of peeling all the rind off is to cut up the pumpkin into segments, scoop out all the seeds etc and roast them, flesh-side up in the oven, with a bit of Olive oil drizzled over the top and some salt and pepper plus any spices - cook at around 200 degrees C for about 40 mins and then the skin can be easily removed leaving the lovely soft flesh of the pumkin ready for the liquidizer. It also has a nice
smokey flavour too.
The other way is simply to peel the hard skin off and cut the flesh into chunks and add to something like chicken stock and a mix of herbs - equally good but quite different in flavour to my other suggestion. If you've got any favorite soup recipes - do post them here in the comments section....
Last but not least do save some of the seeds - wash them and dry them properly and keep them in a dry place ready to plant out next season. You'll be aware that you won't always be able to reproduce plants that are true to type as it depends where the original seed came from in the first place. A lot of the F1 hybrid varieties of seeds will not re-produce... always worth a try though! This is just one of the reasons it's best to buy organic vegetable seeds.