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 29 February 2008

Weeding out the worst!

One of the weeds that I have become very familiar with over the last years has been bindweed - and once it gets established it's an absolute sod ( nice gardening term!) to get rid of!! So whilst digging through various beds for a client today I thought I'd take a picture of the roots of Bind Weed that you want to keep a careful watch for... white wiggly roots - when they're young they can be v. thin and as they get established they thicken up! If you find any, take care to get the whole root out - leaving even a few millimetres of one in the soil will cause a new plant to take root - much like Dandylions and Thistles too. I would never recommend using a rotavator on an uncultivated area especially if you've got any of these weeds growing there... I'm afraid it's double digging or if you have to - I know many people will use weedkiller!

I must admit I'm pretty reticent to use chemicials in the garden - especially after discovering the reasons why Derris Powder (used to get rid of ants and other such creatures) is likely to be removed from shop shelves in the UK by September 2008 (according to Garden's Monthly Feburary 2008). Rotenone is a natural product extracted from the roots of derris plants and has been found to possibly contribute to the onset of Parkinson's during recent research in the USA at Emory University in Atlanta. I've never liked the idea of using chemical weedkillers particularly on an area where you are going to grow vegetables despite the instructions on glyphosate saying that it is quite safe for this purpose and would rather resort to more organic methods.

Happy digging!!

Thursday 28 February 2008

Garden springing into life...

Battling with typical spring weather this week - a mixture of heavy showers, some sunshine and cool at nights, I've been trying to get on top of yet more jobs in the garden! Plants are really coming on leaps and bounds and trees now starting to bud which is always exciting! I've started planting out broad beans, onions, parsnips and spinach so will keep you posted on the progress! The Rhubarb which I took special care to give a good mulch over winter is looking the best yet... so I guess the big test is in the tasting!!

I've tried to capture some of the many plants out in the garden - more to come as my photo session was cut short by heavy rain!

Come rest awhile!!

This morning to my surprise I noticed an univited guest (a Red-Legged Partridge)sitting on our garden seat below the plum tree... we get quite a few of these rather cute birds who waddle about like little people and are very amusing to watch! So I thought I'd share this with you since I've not had a great deal of time for a posting recently!

Monday 4 February 2008

Spring at last?!

Since returning from the UK the garden seems to have started to burst forth with colour - subtle compared to later on but a welcome sight after the dull shades of winter! One of my favorites, the Helebores are now in full swing and are just magnificent, yet so delicate with all their intricate markings and beautiful colours - a plant that offers great value to the garden and one that I'd recommend you trying if you've never grown them. After a year or two you'll notice that they produce a number of baby plants and as the years go on you'll have more than you can cope with.... having said that there are always a welcome line of friends who are happy to find a new home for them. They do well in protected position in semi shade or in a woodland setting but certainly benefit from some sunshine.

The first of the little "Tete a Tete" daffodils are out too which is a joy to see - the larger varieties will be a week or so yet I reckon... watch this space...

Then every garden should have space for snowdrops - there are so many different varieties of these too, all with different markings, some are double and others just single flowers - try some of the varieties that you've not grown - you won't fail to be impressed. By trying new things, planting new plants you learn so much - if you don't like them, give them away, if you don't like where you've planted them, you can move them - never be afraid to try something new in the garden there's always a solution!
One plant that we adopted in the garden here is Mahonia aquifolium commonly known as the Oregon Grape! It's a suckering plant which has its advantages in that it does spread and it's also an ever green with spikey leaves which turn a reddy/purpley colour in the autumn and winter. Then come the end of January they produce pretty yellow clusters of mildly fragrant flowers.... what more could you want?

Then last but not least - wonderful bright yellow crocuses!

Sunday 3 February 2008

Maples and much more....

Sorry there's not been a posting for a little while as I've been away staying with friends in the UK and have been busy catching up since I got back, so finally the chance to sit down and share something of my visit.... It's always fun going back to somewhere you spent so much time and one place we went back to was Westonbirt Aboretum near Bath which has a fantastic collection of Japanese Maples amongst the 18,000 rare trees and shrubs within its 600 acre site. One of the best times to visit is during October when the maples are truly spectacular.

They've also added some fantastic fused glass panels to the aboretum which are a wonderful way of adding some height as well as structure to the space and at the same time are a perfect complement to the surrounding trees - something to consider anyway!

The final photo I wanted to share with you is of the different varieties of Cornus - on a sunny day early in spring they really are spectacular!