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!

Thursday 2 December 2010

Winter Wonderland arrives in Brittany....

A big thank you  to all of you who've left get well comments on my site over the last few weeks - have much appreciated all your kind words and encouragement - my back is gradually mending which is a relief and have infact been out for my first proper walk today and how beautiful it was!

It appears that the winter weather has hit this area of France rather suddenly and with many people not really ready for it all - many spent over 11 hours stuck on the dual carriageways stuck in snow last night - not something you hear of very often over here.

All this beautiful wintry weather makes you feel like a child again - last night, wondering with anticipation just how much snow might have fallen over night - needless to say, I wasn't disappointed this morning - I was glad I'd topped up the bird tables as at 8.30am when I drew back the curtains the feeders were full with hungry birds and others were already forming a queue...

This poor female Blackbird was hoping that she might find something on a somewhat snowed up bird table!

The male Blackbird had more luck with the remaining Crab Apples!

It's important not to forget our feathered friends during all this cold weather especially - I'm sure our garden birds get rather spoilt but they need everything they can get during the very cold weather - a time when many don't make it with the freezing temperatures and a real shortage of their natural foods - if you've any apples in the fruit bowl that have passed their best - stick them on the top of a bamboo cane and if it's possible push the cane into some soil or into the grass - they love this and it really doesn't cost a lot - fat balls and fat squares or homeade fat mixes are also great as they give the birds some of that much needed energy to keep them going.  Also don't forget to provide them with water especially when  it is freezing.

Nesting boxes are also well used at this time of year for roosting in - providing year round sheltered housing!

Lucy much enjoyed her wintry jaunt this morning - with it being one of the first times out for a proper walk it was a time I so appreciated myself as well.
Here are some of the other shots I took of our house, garden and woodland area - all looking very pretty!


All in all a great day - do hope everyone who reads this is keeping warm wherever you are...

Friday 19 November 2010

The last of the autumn colours...

What a rollercoaster the last 6 weeks have been for me and my apologies that I seemed to have abandoned ship somewhat regarding recent postings on my blog.  In brief I've been suffering with a herniated disc which came to a head about 3 weeks ago and I ended up enduring my first 4 day stay in a French hospital!  They haven't operated and I've been given strict instructions to rest which has been SO boring I can't tell you especially when all I've managed is lying down and pottering about the house ;-(  It's been a slow process and still is - luckily the pain is subsiding but I reckon I've a way to go and in my line of work it's not ideal but am sincerely hoping that I can get out to do much needed work in the next couple of weeks before the real enslaught of winter.

Before I hurt my back I'd taken these shots of the Red Admiral and as I've not had the chance to post these as yet thought I'd start with them...  I haven't seen any butterflies out for a little while now so I think these could be the last sightings before the spring... so enjoy!
As part of my recuperation I've been pottering around with my camera outside a bit - keeps my spirits up - the colours of autumn in our garden in Brittany this year have been quite amazing - one of the perks of my stay in hospital was the stunning views of the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of the trees in the small park beyond - I was on the 6th floor so the view across Dinan was wonderful and I was also fortunate enough to have the bed by the window so at least I could leave the window open slightly too as it was SO hot in there (being an outdoor girl!).

These were leaves of Viburnum Opulus which caught my eye

and the Euphorbias are always vibrant
Late flowering plants are always a bonus and one of my favorites are the Gladioli

The birds are starting to feature more and more around the feeders now as the colder weather seems to be here and a first in our garden since we've been here were an early morning flock of Redwing turning over the leaves under our Walnut tree - sadly they just weren't here for long enough to get a shot but I'm hoping there might be a return visit... watch this space.

Do bear with me over the coming month or two - I'll do my best to post and visit your blogs but I'm not able to sit for very long as yet - but I will get there... bon weekend - Miranda x

Monday 4 October 2010

A blaze of autumn colour in our Brittany garden...

It's at this time of year that you start to notice the gaps where colour and structure perhaps are needed to bring certain areas of the garden together - not so easy to see during the summer months when the garden is full to brimming with interest.  So if you're thinking of re-planting part of your garden or are starting from scratch I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took in our garden in Brittany today in between the showers - do bear in mind that most of the plants and shrubs that survive here will also do well in the south of England as well as a bit further north too - we had temperatures as low as -9 degrees last year and up to about 32 degrees during this last summer and as yet despite frosts in the UK as I understand, we've escaped this so far!

Rosa Compassion has been amazing this year and as you can see providing amazing blooms even into October - the other rose also doing well is Madame Alfred Carriere - also high on my list of recommendations of a repeat very scented semi climbing/rambler rose.  The other perennial that comes into their own at this time of year is the humble Aster - providing essential pollen for bees and butterflies alike and more than popular for many of the insect world too.

This beautiful Honeysuckle - Lonicera japonica "Halliana" is a semi evergreen which despite the cold temperatures last year still held onto its leaves - it also has a fantastic perfume as well as being a prolific grower - the blackbirds and thrushes love this is a nesting site.
Our woodland is currently a carpet of leaves as you can see - mainly from the cherry trees - the Oaks tend to lose their leaves a lot later - with all the wind and rain this last week leaves seem to be falling rather quicker than normal!

I love this time of year with all the changing leaf colours - spring does seem a while away so I thought I'd take some of the plants that have endured one of the dryest summers we've had yet and are certainly benefitting from all the recent rain.
These two brightly coloured Sedums are great plants for providing colour and are a favorite amongst butterflies and bees again but also doing well in all the hot dry weather too - so plants to consider if you've got an area where the soil dries out more quickly than others - they also prefer a sunny spot!

This brightly coloured chap (or chapess!) I found on the Fennel - the rather stunning Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar.  As well as Fennel they also like Dill - we seem to have had quite a good number of these this year - more than usual and have also seen many more Swallow Tail's too - they are incredible butterflies flying to amazing heights compared to many others here.
I don't think any garden should be without a Crab Apple - this one is Malus "Everest" and provides a wonderful show of blossom in late spring and then these beautiful rosy crab apples in Autumn which last well into the winter - good for Jellies or just leave them for the birds and when it's really cold provides them with some essential feeding - the Song Thrush, Blackbird and Black Caps were amongst those birds feasting on these last winter.  It's not a large tree so suitable for the smaller garden too.
These rather colourful Geraniums / Pelargoniums are in our greenhouse - the bees seem more than happy to go the extra mile to visit these blooms - particualrly the scented leaved Pelargonium.  As frosts become more imminent do bring in any favorites that you have outside in pots - you might even think of taken a few cuttings too.

There are just so many plants in flower at this time of year giving plenty of choice if you're looking for new additions to your own garden for next year.. here are a few more of my favorites.

Last but not least the lovely Walnut - it's going to be another good year for these and we've got a good carpet of already fallen nuts on the ground - do hope the weather dries out a bit to enable us to get these in before they're all gobbled up by the birds, mice and foxes!
Do hope you have a good week and that the weather is being a bit kinder to you than it currently is here... Miranda