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.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Marqueyssac (by Phone)

It's been a long time, too long, since we visited the gardens at Chateau Marqueyssac. Last Friday however, we made a long overdue return visit to 'Les Jardins Suspendu' - the Hanging Gardens with panoramic views of the Dordogne valley.

Sadly, camera forgotten and with just one bar of charge left on the mobile phone I managed just a few shots before the power finished. For the full picture go here

 The box is clipped beautifully and the 'parc', with over six kilometres of footpaths and walks has a labyrinthine feel to it, not to mention containing pretty much all of the native flora and fauna found in the Perigord Noir - The Black Perigord - named such due to the vast swathes of dark Holm oak found growing in this region.

But for me, it's the beautiful views,  true vistas over the Dordogne valley that make this a special place. There are bucolic scenes all around the park and the gardens, at 200 metres above the river act as a natural belvedere.  This was a view over to the fortified chateau of Castelnaud. Unfortunately the 'phone's camera seemed hell bent on fixing focus to the trees in the fore and then running out of power. All the same, it's a fairytale view - one of many. If you ever get to go there, take the camera!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Cardoon en Route

The cardoon's doing its thing. Perfect magenta.

They stand tall for now, discreetly staked as any notable wind could bring them over.

The garden looks good at the moment - the flipside of a below par start to July weatherwise. Showery and relatively cool, everything's that bit more turgid. The heat returns next week according to MeteoFrance.

Everything is very green for now.

Leading down to La Fermette, the new border that I built earlier in the year has filled out rapidly. Another boon of recent rainfall. Kniphofia caulescens are clumping out handsomely and I guess will be sending up their 'torches' in a month or so. The Russian sage may have to be moved about a bit. It's growing rapidly and as ever I've underestimated it's ultimate size which will almost certainly swamp out the pathway. Aside, I continue to find it difficult to get a good photograph of this area.

Maybe this pic does it more justice?

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Make Time For Wine (Again)

We took off in the car and headed to wine country last Tuesday. Only an hour away and you're amongst the appellations of Bergerac, Pécharmant, Montravel and many more.  Grabbed these photos of cave, Julien de Savignac just outside Bergerac within the Monbazillac region.

This is a beautiful place to buy wine!

This is the good stuff.

Drink it in the garden.

Friday, 6 June 2014

The Blues

Every year I manage to underestimate just how big catmint will get. Even after much spring division, giving away large chunks, still it does it's thing and fills out almost every inch to where it started. On the flipside I also always to manage to forget how beautiful catmint is.  June is it's best month.

Salvia nemorosa is just starting to colour up. The colour of dark denim and possibly the best blue equalled only by the blue of Lavender 'Hidcote' which flowers later on.

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'. I still reckon this is the prettiest blue geranium though not the longest flowering.

Campanula muralis cloaks the terrace at La Forge. The wall bellflower crops up everywhere and seems to colonise regardless of sun or shade.

Sunday, 11 May 2014


Eremurus and alliums - perfect.

These foxtail lillies are e. himalaicus, and they shine like candles in the spring sunshine.

 I have five, but back in early April, a caterpillar chewed away two of the emerging blooms. Bloody caterpiller, left me with three. Anyway, I need more, so come the Autumn I'll pick up another five or six bulbs.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Chateau Neuvic Jardin en Fête

 Sunday saw the annual garden festival held in and around the truly manifique  Chateau et Parc Botanique de Neuvic  just north of Perigueux.

The strong spring sunshine belies a blustery tale. A couple of squally showers blew through during the course of the day - no fun at all if you've an unsecured parasol covering your pitch.

Such a stunning place to visit. The chateau was originally built in 1520, with various additions, mullioned windows, battlements and chapel added over the following centuries. The botanical parc was created in 1993.

As ever at these events, there's always diverse crafts on show. These benches are being put together from green chestnut, the back being cut to shape in the photo.

Bill Carter's clever 'upcycling' of redundant old farm and garden tools is always fun.

Happy bat below was so good we took him home.

Lunch under a vaulted ceiling.

Not exactly a culinery extravaganza, but perfectly accetable and together with

a warm log fire - very convivial.