Monday, 15 May 2017

Wild Orchids

Little Orchids keep popping up here at Le Banquet. 

Clever, the Bee Orchid. Male bees come to investigate the false female bees and inadvertently pollinate the flower as they travel between plants.

I have no idea what the flower below is. Something of an oddity.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Cold Starts, Warm Afternoons..

April always brings the biggest daily range in temperatures. From frosts first thing, the temperature dipping below zero in that hour before dawn to afternoons where sometimes the thermometer nudges the high 20's and it's shorts and tee shirt weather.

Warm sunshine encourages new growth which the frost immediately checks. There seems to be so much 'burnt' new foliage this year. Buddleja, Russian sage, many roses and so on, all suffering, all recovering -hopefully!

Hopefully we've had the last frost now and can look forward to BBQ weather at the end of the week after the current belt of much needed rain passes through.

These boys on the other side of the river seem to take the weather in their stride. This pic was taken a few days ago. They're all sitting down today as we wait for the rain.

Spring marches on.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Artisan Pottery

The January frosts put paid to the two old urns which sat at the top of the path leading to La Grande Maison. So for no small investment I  invested in a couple of pots from Poterie Terre Figuière  via Jardiland in Perigueux - much easier than the six hour hike to the east Languedoc - and there they sit in pride of place just by the gable end.

They're more classical in design than perhaps I would usually go for, but I think they look perfect finished with a light grey wash which looks great against the stone walls and basque rouge shutters.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sarlat Truffle Festival 2017

Every year I cover Sarlat's fabulous Fete de la Truffe and every year it doesn't' disappoint.

It's that time in mid January when France's luxurious symbol of gastronomy brightens up an entire winter weekend as the towns medieval streets are lined with all things truffle and people from allover the country descend to celebrate the 'Black Diamond of the Perigord'.

This season has been a little difficult as the truffle has been harder to come buy courtesy of last summer's drought, though there was little to suggest that this was case judging by the abondance of Les Truffes on show.

As in previous years. various restaurants throughout the region put together different plates and informal bites all incorporating truffles, nothing formal here. For a few euro you can buy a little of something, like truffle tapas, maybe a glass of something too. Try as many different dishes as you want! 

I think this was the biggest foody 'hit' - truffled scrambled eggs.

Of course, if you are going to indulge in one of the worlds most renowned gastronomic treats, then you may as well do so in one of the worlds most beautiful towns.

I picked up a small truffle for twenty euro to take back home to Le Banquet. It was pasta with truffle for me, though a close run thing as a simple truffle omelette is hard to avoid.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Chateau de Losse

The beautiful Chateau de Losse together with its outstanding gardens are literally just twenty minutes drive from here at  Le Banquet.

I thought I'd post up their short video showcasing the gardens as they're so worth sharing and should definitely be on the visit list if you're ever in the area.

COTE JARDIN CHAPITRE 4 from Chateau de Losse on Vimeo.

The commentary basically explains that the gardens are based on an Italianate Renaissance theme,  something the French embraced with gusto in the 16th and 17th centuries and which the chateau continues to this day.

Its only a short video, why not play it and see for yourself.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Le Vieux Logis

Le Vieux Logis is a hotel and Michelin starred restaurant located in the pretty village of Tremolat some twenty minutes away from Le Banquet.    We like to wander around the grounds, a haven of peace and tranquility with its clipped Box spheres and triangular Yew.

All this calming green belies a landcape beyond that is parched and tawny following a particularly hot and dry July and August. A landscape more reminiscent of the Mediterranean basin than the gentle Dordogne, though not so at Le Vieux Logis, somebody does a good job of irrigating Le Jardin. 

We actually need some rain. There have been wildfires around and water reserves are under pressure, but there's nothing in the forecast and temperatures are set to rise this week, the start to September is a continuation of Summer and looks  that way for the next two weeks or more.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Rambling Rosie

The climbing roses that cloak the pergola are now in their seventh year. I cant believe it was that long ago when I constructed the arbour, ordered the bare root plants and started this blog.

There are some who question the wisdom of putting red and pink together, but I think they work just fine and for around four or five weeks in early summer, the pathway which leads to La Forge is flanked by the flowering magnificence of 'Rambling Rosie' and 'American Pillar' (rosie is red, pillar pink) both ofwhich I bought from Peter Beales roses in the UK.