26 March 2013

Some things you might not know about France.

I've just been reading some articles which were 
written in 
our local free news paper


which might be of interest to all you lovers of France.


NO it's not a joke!
READ on....

I'm not into # 




This might be of interest to some of you who are planning to visit France.

Some new cheap NO FRILLS  Ouigo  TGV  trains  from Paris to the south of France.
from the 2nd April 2013



Not usually my style of post.
I Hope it was of interest to the lovers of France.
Who might be visiting 

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian 

24 March 2013

My plant order has arrived, so it must be Spring.

I know Spring must have arrived
as I've just received my plants which I ordered in early February for Spring delivery.

I've only ever ordered plants from a catalogue once before, 
and I swore I would NEVER do it again
 I was so disappointed as they looked just like twigs.
No resemblance to the pictures in the catalogue
That was 23 years ago it wasn't easy to buy shrubs where we live.
 This area is mostly agricultural and if you couldn't eat it they didn't grow it.
 Thankfully things have changed a lot since then.

This time they seem to look a lot better than my first order, 
and in the box was a bonus
 3  free shrubs !
One of these looks like a twig ! The 'Magnolia  Kobus' 
 It's going to take a long time to look how it does in the picture!
 but,  it was free so I mustn't grumble !

I've planted  them all in pots, as they came bare rooted and need to get settled into some growing compost
as you can see the magnolia looking like a twig, will need some extra care and attention.
But I remember my old friend Leonard giving me a Magnolia, that looked like this, and it wasn't that long before it became a big twig with a few flowers and now when I pass my old house it has been moved ,
it must have grown too big for the garden.
I'll leave these in the pots, until they show signs of good growth
then plant them in the ground, 

The plant in this pot is a free one ' Ceanothe Victoria.' - Blue flowers.

These Marguerite were delivered. bare root in a poly-bag covered with sawdust.
I'll plant these in my new flower bed and cover them over with some dried ferns for awhile,
 the young growth could get damaged  by frost, as the nights are still cold
  where we live, and we can get unexpected ground frost.

These Marguerite will be pretty in a sunny area.

Six hardy Fuchsias 'Mme Cornelissen'  (  frost resistant to -15 ) 

A little on the small size with only young growth at the moment, 
so I'll keep them under cover for the time being,
 then they will be planted in a long trough for the deck.

Just to let you know I wasn't that thrilled about my box of plants.
Will  I be buying any more plants I haven't seen. ?

Maybe or maybe not !

I will keep you up to date with the success or failure of these plants.
Enjoy your gardening

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

22 March 2013

The pleasures of being a grand parent.

This week hubby and I had painting on our agenda , but all changed.
 We were needed several times this week as taxi service due to school time-table changes.
to collect our eldest grandchild from Lycee/ High school
which is about a 40 min. drive from where we live.
Being retired and grandparents, plans can easily be changed,
 there is always another day to do what we want.

We;ve been down this road several times before to the school
 but I've never really taken in the beauty of the architecture.  
Normally when I go to Limoges it's for shopping. 
However yesterday we had an unexpected trip again 
and I happened to have my camera. (aim and shoot)
NOT hubbies up market camera.
So I took a few pictures to let you see
a few of the houses in the road where we wait for him.
It made me realise how often we go to places and never really see what's around us.

Some of the boys who have already left school.
and are having fun in the park where we wait for our grandson.

Here he comes always the last.

Next time I'll take you to see some of the old city.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

17 March 2013

Vacant Bird House to Let.

There's a lot of activity going on around our house at the moment. 

and I'm learning to use our new camera
so I've been taking lots of pictures'

The birds are house hunting.

But we have no takers at the moment.

This year I'm providing soft wadding for the interior.

It does look as if it's being used.

 I've been getting lots of  practise shooting moving things

The following photos were taken from the kitchen window.
using  burst mode. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about ?
( new technique to me )
I would just like to inform anyone who might be thinking this is a photo shoot tutorial
you'll be disappointed.
It's just me feeling very proud of myself 
 knowing I have taken photos I feel worthy to post on my blog.
I still have a big plate on my back.

I'll let you into a secret now
when I first started my blog, nearly a year ago
I used to get my other half to take my photos.


Do you see anything strange about this cute  little bird ?
He has a deformed leg
but he can certainly hold his own battles against the other birds.
(I call it he, I don't know why)

I've been watching and he's been coming every day
for over a week now, so thought I'd try catching a picture of him.

That was how I learnt about the burst mode on the camera.
I won't tell you how many burst shots it took to get six good photos !

This is such a pretty bird house, 
 hand made and  was a present from my daughter.

Not sure where to put it yet !
maybe I'll just use it as a garden adornment.

Last year the bird house & the enamel ware were occupied several times
  with Blue tits and the Red start.

We don't have a great selection of birds coming near to the house.
 but we do get keen bird watchers coming to stay in La Petite Maison. 
as we are surrounded by woods  only a short walk away.

I hope you liked seeing the birds we feed everyday,
 especially our cute  little disabled Blue tit.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian.

1st Blossom

Japonica (  Japanese Quince )

My first shrub to blossom.

Last week end I cut some of the longer branches I'd missed when  pruning it in Autumn,
I brought them into the house to force the blossom
now I have a lovely vase of the blossom almost in full bloom.

This picture is an aerial view of our last house taken in 1990 just before we left 
to live in France
We lived on Dartmoor in Devon, which is the south west of England. 
A beautiful part of England.

This little arrangement is in small jar that I had found in the old barn of our first house in France.

I also found these shoes in the barn.

can you guess what they were used for ?

Do you remember me telling you  in an early post Sowing seeds at the right time - in tune with the moon.  about Leonard my old friend
who used to tell me how to garden , he told me they used to fit them on the cows feet
 when they went on the road pulling the cart to take their produce to the city for the big market.
This city is Limoges 40 km from where I lived.
Can you imagine having to travel all that distance to sell their chickens and vegetables.

I hope the spring blossom is in bloom where you live.
If  not, I'm sure Spring is just around the corner.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian 

11 March 2013

My potting bench.

It's a bright sunny day so thinking of springtime I decided to clear my potting bench. I call it a potting bench but really it's just an outside table I use for fiddling with things and of course my plants.

These are a few of the things I'll be using.
 Some of my enamel ware like this jug which I have a few of and  move around to fill in an empty area waiting for a new plant or shrub to be planted. I do have plans to make another shrub area close to the terrace, which didn't get finished last year as we had already completed a big project making the terrace. Well, I helped ! most of the heavy work was done by my other half, we work together as a team.

This is the first of my spring baskets to be in flower.
The warm sun this past week helped the dwarf daffodils to open up.
The pansies have been in the basket for ages giving some colour.
I placed a tiny basket with an egg in to fill  a gap while waiting for the grape hyacinths to flower.

These primulars  appear every spring growing in the bank leading into the farmers field.

These old terracotta pots come out every year for the smaller plants.
I move them around to where ever I feel needs a bit of colour.

That's just a start, there will be lots more to see in the following weeks.
 Hope you liked what I did,  if so join me again at my potting bench.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

07 March 2013

Birthday and Daffodils

Today was my other half's birthday.

For the past few days we'd had beautiful  blue sky and warm sunshine.
 As it was the first signs of warm spring weather, we were looking forward to a nice day out in the Perigord region. about an hours drive from where we live, hoping to have lunch sitting outside at one of the many restaurants we love to eat at. It was not to be. We woke to grey drizzly weather.
Not a day to be driving, wanting to enjoy seeing the numerous Chateaux we would pass on the way.

We decided to put that visit on hold for the next sunny period. 
My other half who is easily pleased, suggested we should make a quick trip 
to the local supermarket and buy the ingredients for a nice lunch.
While I was waiting near the checkout for him to choose the wine 
I saw a glow of yellow from a huge bucket which was full of daffodils.  
I slipped a couple of bunches in with food items.

 We did end up with  a feeling of spring sunshine even if was only from the daffodils. 
I hope you'll enjoy them as much as we will.

As we had planned to be eating out, I hadn't made a birthday cake.
We don't very often eat bought gateaux, but French patisserie is delicious.
This is what he chose for his birthday gateaux.
I checked the name on the box and it was called
' Religieuse café '
Not sure why ! but the icing looks like a priests ruffle collar.

It was so delicious, the choux pastry was filled with a caramel cream
and the glaze was coffee.

A missed day out, turned into a day in, enjoying a nice meal and a house full of daffodils.

When we do take our drive into the Perigord region, I'll be taking  my camera with me,
so you will also be able to enjoy visiting this area of France. Which I know you will love.
So come back soon & take a peep.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian