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!

Monday 28 September 2009

Gardens in South Brittany... part 1

Whilst I was away a couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to have some fabulous weather which enabled us to both enjoy the beach and swim even in mid-September but also enjoy 3 gardens in the area.

One we'd been to a few years back is the Parc de Trevarez which is just south of Chateauneuf de Faou or about half an hour due north of Concarneau - since our last visit we noticed a number of changes in the garden in particular - I think the photos speak for themselves....

The Park itself covers some 85 hectares so there are plenty of km of pathways through the more formal gardens nearer to the Chateau itself and over fields and through woodland areas for the more energetic!

One of the best bits for me are all the beautiful Japanese Acers and the beautiful wildflower area that they've planted up.

After wandering around and feeling thirsty we sat in the courtyard filled with a fountain and some beautiful planting enjoying a good cup of tea and homeade biscuits. They had a very good Spainish exhibition on at the time of our visit which unfortunately we didn't have much time to look at properly but they do seem to put on different exhibitions during the year so well worth checking out before visiting.

Sunday 27 September 2009

La Pointe de Trevignon... a place to relax

The area for anyone interested is in between Pont Aven and Concarneau on the south coast of Brittany - an area with a wealth of things to do, good beaches and lovely places to eat out... what more could you want!?

I thought I'd share this little video clip that I took of a Black-Headed Gull which kept us amused for ages on the the little beach near to where we spent a very relaxing week's holiday... He was especially funny whenever another gull approached when he would hunch himself forward as in the clip and squawk! We had this beach almost to ourselves - beautiful white sand and lovely swimming if not a bit on the cool side...

A particularly amusing shot of this little dog patiently waiting for his master who'd gone for a swim!

About a kilometer from our cottage La Maison Rose is the Pointe de Trevignon (an easy cycle from the cottage too) from where you can sit and enjoy some of the best Crepes & Galettes - sitting outside and enjoying the sunset in the evenings - this is usually open right up till the end of September.
We've been here a few times and it's a great place particularly out of season - there's even central heating just in case it's cold!
Our cottage was a wonderfully peaceful haven - lots of space and a completely private back garden which is surrounded by oak trees and natural hedging with woodland beyond - perfect for sitting outside and enjoying breakfast in P-J's! Also great for the wildlife lover... we had deer in the garden, a buzzard landed during breakfast and we were also blessed with visits from the Green woodpeckers and Robins in particular.

Over this next week I shall be doing a series of postings of the pictures that I took whist visiting the various gardens in this area too... so watch this space...

Sunday 20 September 2009

Our Wildlife Garden in Brittany....

Over this last year in particular I've been more and more aware of the increased amounts of wildlife that inhabit our 1.5acre plot here in Brittany - every day it feels like I discover something new and so as I've not had much time for updating my blog I've been saving up some of the photos to share with you from the past few weeks.

This young Green Woodpecker arrived on our lawn one day - a great surprise and appeared to find all sorts of insects as he pecked through the soil - unlike the spotted woodpeckers they have sticky tongues and which help them feed on insects such as ants.

I'm coming to the conclusion that planting has a great deal to do with what comes into your garden particularly with the recent increase in the butterflies which seem to show a real partiality to both Sedums and Asters at this time of year. With the forecast showing continuing warm sunny weather for the foreseeable future I feel like we're in for a bit of an Indian Summer which is great...

The other visitors to our garden in greater and greater numbers are bees and we have quite a variety of them - this is particularly good in light of all the publicity of their failing numbers. There is a good choice of pollinating plants for them to choose from most of the year round including large bushes of flowering Ivy which is just starting to sprout now and which the bees love; this also provides fantastic black berries for the birds over the winter, some good shelter for both birds and other wildlife during adverse weather and good nesting sites in the spring.

Wandering round the garden one sunny afternoon doing some pruning I discovered again for the first time, this pair of mating Gold-Ringed Dragonflies... need I say anymore!

One exciting discovery was this Convolvulus Hawk Moth which I found in amongst our kitchen window box under the Geraniums! I've never seen one before so it was doubly exciting - apparently reading up on this it comes from Africa and is a summer visitor to Europe although rarely seen in the North!

For the first time in 3 years we've managed a really good crop of tomatoes without losing the whole lot to blight - we did have a bit but I took off ever leaf and diseased fruit and this seemed to do the trick! The crops of fruit in general have been wonderful this year - the plums and strawberries and blackcurrants were the best we've ever had. Currently the blackberries are wonderful and they seem to be enjoyed my many of the visiting wildlife.

To finish off with a shot of one of the sunflowers which I grew from seed and with the others are providing the garden with wonderful late summer colour and after the flowers are over are a real favorite with the Blue and Great Tits.

Hope you've enjoyed the snippets from some of my findings here... we were recently away in the south of Brittany where I took quite a few pictures of the wonderful beaches and a couple of nice gardens too, so will try and get myself organised to post these up during the week ahead...