Monday, 16 February 2015

Windfall Box

I've always fancied adding a little more box (buxus sempervirens) somewhere around La Fermette, down by the river. In fact I've always fancied having a low box hedge - a parterre - but creating one presents a twofold problem. Financial and patience. Box is both expensive and slow growing, so when my neighbour mentions that there's lots of old box hedging being given away as someone is digging up the grounds to an old manor house they've just bought and do I want any - well I bit their hand off.

I decided to make the parterre in front of the stone wall by the Fermette's terrace.

After removing the turf and digging the area over, I layed out the boxwoods to get an idea of spacing and number.

All in. A bit unruly but they'll pull into shape after being clipped and the 'leggy' exposed bases should leaf out nicely as the growing season gets under way and the light encourages them.

Clipped and waiting for spring. I'm undecided as to what to plant within the border, maybe annual Cosmos and Ammi majus (the bishop's flower).

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Good Year For The Truffle

The second weekend into January and Sarlat celebrates all thing Truffle. The Fête de la Truffe  is a major calender event and people descend from all over the world to be part of one of the best French traditions -  to eat fine food and drink fine wine. It's hard work, but someone's got to do it.

It's been a good year for the black Truffle of the Perigord.

There were huge quantities for sale  - more than in previous years and at anywhere between 650 to 900 euro a kilo, a lot of money changed hands,

Et voilà

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Noël in Bergerac

There was an ethereal quality to the view surveyed by the statue of Cyrano de Bergerac as he peered down into the 'old' town through the swirling mist drifting from the river Dordogne this evening.

The little covered market was putting together the final touches to the orders for tomorrow nights Christmas eve dinner - the  réveillon - or 'wake up' feast traditionally served late in the evening and frequently after mid night mass.


Little  'hampers' of cheese.

But everywhere seems calm and peaceful. There's no mad last minute rush.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Mushroom Season Continues...

The Cepe season continues. It kicked off late, way into September when usually a downpour in August is the trigger. One thing's certain. This has to be one of latest running seasons, which courtesy of an absence of any frost seems set to continue for a week or two longer.

I bought these at Le Marché des Capucins, the big food market in Bordeaux and at 15 euro a kilo they weren't  too eye wateringly expensive. That said, on the way home, just near St. Emillion I saw a roadside stall packed with crates of this particular bolete knocking them out at 6.50 euro a kilo.

The start of Saturday night's dinner - mushrooms and noodles - the best noodles I could find at the Italian stall in the same market. Délicieux

Monday, 20 October 2014

Nature's Bounty - Sarlat Market

October is a favourite month. Karen and I have downtime as the holiday season is coming to an end, although  beautiful Autumn weather usually keeps October relatively busy - particularly the weekly food markets. The Saturday market at Sarlat is one of the best and we always make time to visit.

You can overdose on garlic in the Perigord.

You can overdose on cheese.

OD on Oysters - for a slightly iodine hit.

You can almost certainly OD on good wine

Or chill out at one of the many pavement cafes.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Return of the Pamps

It's taken two years from from the big freeze - Le Grand Froid - for the Pampas grass to recover back to full glory.  It's all a question of scale. In  a big landscape with lots of space, their huge plumes look superb. A real September treat.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Juli' has become enormous.

Its silvery white inflorescences shine in the warm September sun.

Second year for miscanthus 'gracillimus', so nowhere near full size yet.  It's dry and free draining where I've planted it and it may struggle to achieve full size. I thought the same for 'Juli',  however it exceeded all expectation in terms of scale, so there's hope for gracillimus.

Third year for m. sinensis 'malepartus'. I reckon it'll get very big by year five. It grows by the edge of the small pond and receives more moisture.

Miscanthus zebrinus is getting swamped by super lofty Japanese anemones. Five foot tall anemones which will need better staking next year.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Living France

Absolutely delighted to have my blog and garden featured in the Autumn issue of Living France magazine which is on sale now.  You can see the page PDF here.