12 June 2016

A mixed bag

This time of the year is always busy for us.
 Garden to keep tidy for our guests 
Especially this adorable 'Labradoodle'  from Holland.
 He was the star  staying in La Petite Maison
I found out he even takes his own selfies.

 Summer time is a must for market shopping.
always get there early, before the crowds appear.
I start off with the fruit stalls.

Then the Charentais melons, to take home and have for lunch
served with some jambon cru, and a crusty baguette.

There was even a stall selling Jambon from the Auvergne.

Local honey on a croissant for breakfast.

 A medley of tasty vegetables for lunch.

Traditional goodies to savour.

A lovely selection of rose shrubs.

Then I found a lovely stall with an English lady selling beautiful original things.
I loved these old cases & boxes she covers in decoupage.

 In the summer there's always an organ grinder playing music .

Time for a spot of people watching and a cup of coffee before leaving.

Easy all in one meals.
Then the joy of eating outside.
Followed by Strawberries from the Dordogne.( The best in France )

Family and friends popping in for aperitifs. 

All the things I love about summer.

How about you, what do you enjoy the most about summer ?

I'm looking forward to some long sunny summer days and evenings.
Spent outdoors.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

19 May 2016

Preparing my hanging baskets.

Due to the unseasonal weather conditions this year, I'm so far behind
preparing hanging baskets than previous years.
Although the nights are still cold, I need to get the baskets prepared.
With not much enthusiasm we went to a small family owned garden centre.

It's nothing like what you would visualise as the usual
'Garden Centre' no fancy glass greenhouses
with electrically controlled ventilation and watering system.

4 poly tunnels an array of country animals wandering freely
 and a friendly lady to greet me.

Sorry no photos I didn't have my camera
so close your eyes
 and imagine you're in the heart of rural France, and step back 30 years .

There are 4 poly tunnels with flaps at each end, the entrance and the other end for some ventilation. 2 of the poly tunnels are full of vegetables, as they do sell their vegetables at the markets. I think the flowers might have started as a side line,
probably just a few geraniums and petunias .
I usually have an idea what I'm looking for. I noticed this year there was more choice.
 I choose all my own plants, put them in a veg. box which are provided. I then go to a little table where there's a lady, who was dead heading all the plants,  she asks me
 how many I have, she writes it down on a piece of paper ripped out of what 
looks like child's exercise book. I have to go to the little shop to pay, where they sell
their vegetables . On leaving I was handed a plastic bag containing fertiliser grains. and told how to look after my plants to get the best results.
and left with their good wishes of...
'au revoir et bonne plantation'
 How charming is that, you certainly don't get this service in the towns.

I did notice a few elderly ladies in their wrap around house pinafore dresses, who had brought their own plant pots to have them planted up with a few geraniums, 
while they chose the vegetable plants to put in their potager.  

 We have bought some of our plants from here for the past 2 yrs
 and been really pleased with the quality and far better value 
than any of the large Jardi-land centres.

This is the selection I chose. They look really healthy.

Trailing Verbena.

White Alyssum

 dble. Sufinias

Brachyscome angustifolia

Begonia senegat.
we had these last year and they flowered from may to October. 
last years baskets.
Pink begonia senegat. 

Simple dark red leaved begonia.

Hopefully by the weekend we will have them planted and hanging.

How are you getting on planting up your summer flowers.

Do you use summer annuals for a splash of colour on your terrace.
I'd love to see what you choose and how you display them.

I hope the weather is warming up for everyone.
Happy planting / Bonne plantation

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

12 May 2016

Antique Books

Last Sunday I was helping my grandson and his girl friend
on their stall at a vide grenier / brocante fayre.
I haven't been to one of these for a long time
  I always come back with something
I don't really need.

But since living in France I can't resist old books.

This one took my fancy.
full of pictures.

 showing the beautiful architecture of the Paris buildings.

These two little gems, look like they have been well read.
Vintage French Literature School books.
I love the covers on them,
 I don't remember my school books looking like these.

BOOKS... books.. books. I couldn't resist these.
  most of the books I now read, I read as e-books on my Kindle.
But I must admit I do love turning paper pages .

Look at the date of this one

 The title translates to...
'The Wise Women '
Although they probably won't be read,
 They'll be part of my décor in the guest blue bedroom. 

Books, letters, printed photographs 
they are all slowly becoming things of the past.
We are told it's the way of life,
 new technology slowly sneaking in.

How do you feel about this.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

03 May 2016

Welcome to the month of May.

The garden is full of birds singing and flitting about feeding their young.

The Robins nest we found in the shed. How long must it have taken
 these birds to build this nest, tucked in the hanging hosepipe 

We thought it had been abandoned.
Last week we saw a little head and two bright eyes staring at us 
it is the female sitting on her eggs, they have been very discreet.
We can't wait to see the feeding activity. 

After a lot if hard work, the Rose garden is now finished.

 Lots of flower buds are showing on the Clematis.

Here we used some of the willow frames, to replace the rotten ones.
This small area was planted up last year, and is now looking well established.
The small lavender plants have now doubled their size. so I'm looking forward 
to some nice perfume wafting my way when I'm relaxing near by.
 When the plants are in bloom, it will be a nice show of pink and blue
with a white climbing rose against the stone wall.
I'm glad the hard work is finished, now I can taking it a bit easy for a few days.
Hoping the warm sun we had yesterday,
 enabling Mr France and I to have lunch on the terrace will continue.

This seems like a good time for me to get my sketch books and Ink-tense pencils out.

Yesterday I saw this post from Quinn on her blog about getting back into painting.
Quinn is an incredible lady who has so many talents at her finger tips.
She lives and works looking after her goats in severe winter weather conditions.
She keeps her family of goats for their wool which she processes and 
then knits into the most lovely items, especially the lacy shawls.
Tell her I suggested you pop over to share her blog.

 My back is telling me I've done too much.
I will need  to just potter in the garden for awhile
So I'm hoping the sunny weather is here for awhile, then I will relax.
I'll be back soon.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

19 April 2016

How does your garden grow.

I've been so busy working on the Rose Garden,
I hadn't even noticed what was happening to the rest of the garden.
Here's what I found, it's not looking too neglected
New Tulips planted last Autumn, sorry I can't find the label for the name.

It almost looks like a Gardenia, when the petals are open.

I planted 10 but it looks like there will only be  9. 

A few garden ornaments I like to use dotted here & there.

These are Day Lilies, planted in a vintage storage jar.
I move them around to add a splash 
of colour where needed. 

This area needs some attention, I had intended to re-do it. 
However I didn't have time before it started to grow again.
There are 2 pink climbing roses growing up against the wall. 
I did give them a hard pruning, so hope they will be OK.

The Peonies are already in bud, they need to be staked.

All I've done to this area is hoe out the weeds.
It's a mixture of pinks and blue, perennials.  
and the rose is white ( Iceberg) 

 I found these Aquilegia ( Columbine )growing in the gravel  drive.
The seeds must have been blown there.They were so tiny
 when I dug them up, but they've grown so quickly 
now they are being looked after.

Chives, which keep re-growing every year.
Always nice to have, to sprinkle over summer salads.

Rosemary & Thyme which might need replacing.
I always grow my herbs in pots.

The pink Tulips from last year, some bulbs only made leaves no flowers.

 They look pretty in these big stone pots.

This Lavender plant I bought in Provence. Its still looking good.
I do keep cutting it back to stop it going straggly.
I've managed to keep it a good few years.

The last of the Muscari ( grape hyacinth) bulbs.
 I have three different varieties which all flower at different times.

Ornamental grasses. I was never very keen on them, 
I always thought they looked like dried weeds, but now I've 
changed my mind and thought I'd try some this summer.

My potting area, full of hope-fulls !
By that I mean, plants that have been over wintered in the garage
and now I've re-potted them hoping they will flower again this summer.
I'll let you know later what was successful and what wasn't.

The Rose garden is now finished, All the roses 
have been planted, and the Clematis which is already in bud.

I'm taking a short break, going to the coast, 
before our summer visitors start arriving in May to stay in 

I will show you the finished result when I get back.
Some of the roses already have buds on so it shouldn't 
be too long before we have signs of pink.

I'll look forward to seeing what's growing in your gardens 
and what you've all been doing.
So until then

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian