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 27 February 2009

The pleasures of working in other people's gardens....

I took these photos last week whilst out working in one of my clients' gardens - about a half hour's drive away from where we live. It's great to work in other gardens besides our own of course, in that you get a much broader spectrum of situations and plants to enjoy as well as watching them all develop!

After a hard afternoon of pruning back Hazels I was rewarded by their first Camelia bloom... somehow the first bloom is that much more special in a funny way, especially after the months of a lack of colour in the garden. Along with roses I do love the way that Camelia's just can't fail to brighten up the garden at this time of year and with the added drops of rain from the night before which remained on the petals... I thought you might enjoy these pictures.
After finishing up I took a long walk along the lake at Jugon Les Lacs - a pretty little village about half way between us and the client - it was a beautiful evening, especially for february and with the setting sun provided some wonderful evening light for taking pictures... no I've not mucked around with these using photoshop!

Wednesday 18 February 2009

More spring pics from our garden....

Rarely does a day go past at this time of year without discovering one or two surprises in our garden - there's nothing better to lift your spirits but to stumble upon another of your favorite flowers out again after waiting all those months since last year. These double snowdrops were brought from my first home in Bristol and seem to be quite content in our Brittany garden!
Another of my favorites are the dear little Iris reticulata - seen here along with some deep purple crocus.

In another little corner the seedlings that I brought on last year of Helleborus niger.
Another find today was that our lovely Camelia has come into flower too - we inherited this with our house so am usure as to it's variety but is stunning and adds much needed colour to our garden for a good many weeks! The blue tits love this bush in particular as it's a good place of refuge when feeding at the bird table!
Then last but not least this little clump of single snowdrops...

In preparation....

What a wonderful weekend we had - perfect weather for continuing to clear some of the areas of the garden and prepare the vegetable garden in particular. It's always a good idea to clear away the weeds from your veg patch to help cut down the spread of weed seeds as the warmer weather arrives - weeds are also harbourers of disease too. So with all this out of the way, and having given the soil a light dig over, it was great spreading all of last year's compost heap over the top - to add essential organic matter to the soil to help with growth of this year's crop, will also keep the soil mulched until sowing starts and help to protect the soil and avoid unnessary loss of minerals which can get washed away during heavy rain. Frost and worm activity will help mix this compost layer into the soil and with a final dig at the time of sowing it should provide a good base for a good year of veg growing! That's the plan at least.... so watch this space...

Sunday 8 February 2009

The plight of the Greenfinch....

It's been a good weekend for getting on with the endless list of jobs to do in the garden - amidst many showers but then you always need a good excuse to come in for some refreshment!!

At one point this weekend I counted 13 Greenfinches around or on our bird table at once... and always with them is the little female Siskin... I did however very momentarily spot the male eating the peanuts on Saturday so he is around too which is great. They really are horrible to each other - I think this photo says it all!

The other great excitement today is that Nevil (our male Nuthatch) brought his lady friend to the bird table - interesting to look at the contrasting breast colours as they are markedly different with the male having much more salmony/orange breast and the female colouring much much paler - she's not quite as bossy as Nevil.... will have to think up a name for her now... any suggestions???

To finish off with the garden would not be complete without the Robin...

Enjoy your week and see you all soon!

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Brittany in the snow....

These are certainly not the magical shots that I've enjoyed on many of the UK blogs that I follow but wanted to post the scenes from around our garden over the last 2 days as it was pretty!

This is one of my favorite places to sit with mug of coffee on slightly warmer mornings!!
I was glad that I'd dug over the vegetable garden and at least mulched the rhubarb crowns with some of the well rotted down compost that I've made this year as well as the majority of our fruit bushes. Once the ground is free of snow I'll cover the rest of the areas too - all ready for planting in the months to come.
Our leeks seem to be surviving okay despite the cold.
The snow drops looked so delicate but they're very resilient in the cold weather.

Phormiums are wonderful additions to the garden providing some wonderful colour as well as form - there are many varieties too.

This is a must have in a wildlife garden - the ivy provides a food source for birds as it seems to harbour many insects - the blue tits have spent hours working their way over the bushes, so there must be something worth having! It also provides an ideal form of shelter and a good nesting site too.

I'd not be without the Helebores - along with the little white flowers of Helebore "Niger" this was one of the first out this year - beautiful with the deep pink edges to the flowers and makes a beautiful contrast to the green.
And a few more scenes from around our garden....
I've just been out to give the birds their feast of the day - there seem to be more than ever... poor little things must be hungry with having to keep themselves warm over night :-(
Sadly as I write it's horrible outside - freezing cold, sleety/rain and definitely a day for spending indoors by a good log fire with nice mugs of coffee... Unfortunately this won't be the case as I've some design work to be getting on with which is great especially when you get weather like this.

I was hoping to get this posted earlier but then encountered problems with my camera and it was looking as if it had ended its days when all of a sudden the problem righted itself... so am really hoping it was just a minor glitch! Hope you're all keeping warm and well wrapped up...