30 March 2015

Just Looking

 It's not very often we take this route, but how happy I am we did. 
Joy for my eyes , look what I found .
It's only a 25 min. drive south from where we live
but it's amazing how much warmer it is.
The temperature is always a few degrees higher.
which means the blossom is more advanced than where I live.

Then we took a detour to our daughters house and I was even happier
as we found a garden center which had opened last year
I spent most of my time inside .
I was in awe of the beautiful Camellias.

I hope you like Camellias, as there were so many I couldn't stop clicking.
and before I realised that the battery was running low
 on my camera, I had spent all my time photographing them. 

Outside were rows of shrubs,
Each row had a sign showing the type of shrub and where to plant them.

Easy to grow.

Climbing plants suitable for walls and arbours
I was very tempted to buy a Clematis, but as I hadn't done any research
on them, to know which one to choose, I resisted temptation
for the next visit, which I know will be soon.
So a few more different Camellias to show you.
I hadn't realised there were so many varieties.

My only disappointment with these flowers
is they don't last very long.
If they get caught by early morning frost they turn brown
and they don't like wind and rain.
Which seems to have been our type of Spring weather
I have one in my garden which is struggling,
apparently due to all the things they don't like.
Now after the expert advice I was given by the owner
 of the garden center, I need to move it, after it's finished flowering.
It was planted last year, when my heart was not into gardening.
I thought I'd chosen a good position for it, but apparently not.
Also we do have very acid soil, due to the hundreds of pine trees
that were growing here when we bought the property.
So I need to correct that, when I find a suitable place to replant it.
But not just yet, it will have to wait, as I have climbing roses 
waiting patiently to be planted and grow up the new arbour.
If it's stopped raining tomorrow, I'll take a photo to show you.
It will be like  ''before and after.''

 What ever you are doing in your garden
Enjoy your planting.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

It hasn't stopped raining, but I did what I said I'd do.
I took this photo, to let you see my pitiful Camellia. 
As I say I'm not a gardener and we all make mistakes.
It wasn't a plant I bought myself, as  I know all the difficulties
of growing a good plant  (it was a prize ) from our Floral competition.
Yes you did read that correctly  a prize. But I do grow lovely
hanging baskets.
The flowers were battered even more during the night
This is my Camellia looking very sad, waiting to be moved.

26 March 2015

The rewards of my bulb planting.

I was browsing through  one of my French magazines  again,
if you know me, you will know I keep lots of my magazines for a long time.
This time it was the fairly new one called  ' ESPRIT d'ici '

which is now in it's 2nd year and published 4 times a year
Spring - Summer - Autumn - Winter.
It covers a wide variety of interests.
Various types of crafts, gardening and country life
 with speciality recipes from different regions of France.

 My garden is beginning to look very spring like at the moment,
as I had planted lots of Tulips last Autumn,
I was happy to see these pink tulips as a feature.
Last Autumn I planted a large bag of Tulips, 
you can see here while doing some Gentle gardening
I think there were about 60 +.
While I was tidying the shed last week,
I found these bulbs sprouting in a string bag, not sure what they are, 
so they'll be a surprise when/if they flower. 

I chose to put them in pots as I was still only doing light gardening then.
 It was easier than having to bend down & also when they've 
finished flowering I will be able to store the pot in the shed. 
This year I plan to find easy ways to garden, with not a lot of effort,
 by having lots of flowers in pots which can be 
moved around to where ever I want to brighten up a dull corner.
When the first buds opened I was a little disappointed, 
as they weren't as pale as I had thought they would be.
It's not the first time bulbs haven't produced what is shown on the label.

 After a few warm sunny days, a few of the Tulips have opened up.
I won't be picking any as they are so cheap in the local Supermarche 
I bought a few bunches to have indoors.

After a shower of rain,  the buds had closed up for the night 
I managed to capture this shot.

These were planted at the same time as the others 
but look as if they'll be flowering much later.

More expensive as they are a speciality type 
only 10 in the packet compared to 60+ in the other bag.
I'm hoping they will be worth it. I'll know in a week or two.

And finally I have to show these tulips.
I show them each spring as they were planted here
15 yrs. ago by my sons lovely Danish wife.
Each year they flower and give this golden ray of sunshine

Have you planted bulbs which you're waiting for them to bloom.
I'd love to see what you chose to plant.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

23 March 2015

Spring into Springtime.

My favourite season.

So much activity in the garden, most of the spring flowers are blooming.
We are helping the birds as much as we can. Mr France has made some new Bird boxes & we've put out bedding for the taking, this seems to be working. We used to refill this suet cage with food, recently I've been filling it with wadding and the birds have been taking it for sometime.  Now I've seen on Mary's  blog A Breath of Fresh Air.
she adds  bits of lace & shreds of material cut into strips to hers. What a lovely idea. I know the Gold finch make very decorative nests. Some time ago,  I found one
 with blue forget-me-nots woven in with some of our dogs fur around the edge.
The birds seem to be taking it.
One of the new bird boxes, so far no residents.
 A gift from our daughter.
For the past 2 years I've put it out, but it's never been used.
Maybe it's too upmarket in style for our country birds.
How ever I like it as a garden ornament.

If I follow Mary's idea of adding some lace for a bit of luxury,
we might have some posh birds. 
or maybe a Robin / Rouge Gorge  like this, will take up residence there.
 Tucked in the Berberis, I found a nest from last year.
I think I'll leave it and keep an eye on it,
maybe it will be refurbished, by some new takers.
 Each year I put this little nest, with it's egg in one of the hanging baskets.

 This is the area we were working on this time last year.
Then it had to go on hold, when I was unable to do any gardening.
Now due to the resent surgery Mr France had to have, we have
decided it will be staying like this. I like it partly cultivated and the rest
left a bit wild. Later the wild flowers will add lots of natural beauty.

 I've just had a wander around the garden and found some more
different types of daffodils, from a few years ago.
Even some hidden in an area that certainly needs some tidying up doing.
How is your garden looking, do you have birds building their nests?
Are you putting up bird boxes ? If you've never had a bird box
in your garden, why not try. It's so rewarding watching the birds
busy building their nest, then flying backwards & forwards
feeding their chicks.

I'll be keeping you up to date with the flora and fauna in our garden.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

15 March 2015

Dahlias for Mr France.

When we were young and bought our first house in 1965.
it was a new build  on a small estate, in the north of England.
At that time, when the builders had finished building,
the garden was not landscaped ready for the new owner.
 We had a lot of preparation to do, before it even resembled a garden.
We were both very young and didn't know much about gardening then.

Then one day, my husbands father who didn't visit us very often,
arrived with a big brown paper bag full of Dahlias.
I wasn't  familiar with the different varieties.
So didn't know what to expect.
I must admit they grew quickly, but those huge flowers 
which were mainly the big blousey cactus type,
were not to my liking, and since then I've never planted them again.

There are not many flowers I don't like.
but these are not one of my favourite flowers.
I'll let you into a little secret.
Until a few years ago Mr France didn't know a weed from a cultivated flower.
However he's now started to take an interest in the garden.
and during that time he'd asked me several times
' What was the name of the flowers my Dad planted in our first garden '
and because I didn't like them, I told him ' I couldn't remember'

But I've been caught out.
as he now comes with me to the garden centers,
He saw the bags of Dahlia tubers with the image stapled to the bag,
and said 'these are the flowers I mean'
After all these years, I've only just told him I knew
what they were. but as I didn't like them I said
' I couldn't remember what flowers he meant.'

We made a compromise and chose another variety.
So he's happy.
These are the variety we chose and we both like them.

I quite like the look of these.
( Looks like a nice flower to paint in my Garden journal )

He immediately put two bags into the trolley.

Back to my first garden.
Looking at the old photos we had lots of colour from the 'Nemesia'
but my planting left a lot to be desired.
I can also see some other plants there
that's NOT on my list of favourites  'Gladiola'
I think that's because it's tall and spiky and only has one flower stem.

As I've shown some photos of our first dog, 'Ricky'
I thought I'd tell you a little about him.
He was a miniature poodle and I may add nothing like a posh poodle.
 At that time Mr France worked shifts and thought it would be a good idea
for me to have a dog for company, as he worked late hours
and sometimes during the night.

 When we arrived at the kennel to choose our new puppy
he was a bit surprised when he saw the breed of dog I had set my heart on,
 Something small and as we thought would be easy to look after.
 But who could resist a little ball of black fluff.

But he was nothing like a poodle in character.
As he grew he liked nothing better than to roll in anything that smelt nasty.
which was usually just after he'd been to the poodle parlour.
So we soon put a stop to that, and he only ever went to have a quick trim
around his face and feet  as we couldn't manage that ourselves,
and we trimmed the rest and shampooed him.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane.
and you forgive me for keeping my secret from Mr France.

He's looking forward to summer, to see the Dahlias growing 
in the big stone pots we have on our sun deck.

Do you keep harmless secrets from your husband ?

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

10 March 2015

1st Splash of Colour

I know Spring has well and truly arrived
when the garden is popping with yellows and purple.

The back of our house has sun all day and is sheltered 
from the severe frost we've had this winter.
Even when it's cold if the sun is shining this is where we sit.
Making plans for what we need to do in the garden.
The garden was neglected last year due to my back problems and 
now Mr France has recently had surgery on one of his knees
we make sure we both stop for a rest.

Mr France and I have been busy in the garden today.
We knew that the arbour needed a repair job. However when 
we cut back the old Honeysuckle, we found it was past repair. 
So it's gone and will be replaced with a new one.
I'll show you later when the new one is in and we have been to 
our local ' pépiniériste '  and chosen some new climbers. 
I've managed to save a few long strands of Honeysuckle. I'm hoping 
they will throw out some new shoots & will mix in with the new climbers.
Not sure yet what to replace the old ones with.
I think I'll take a look at my rose book.
Any ideas Shane you are a rose expert, if you don't know Shane 
take a look a her lovely blog, her Roses are beautiful.

I've tidied up my potting bench.

and added a few more hanging baskets planted with miniature daffodils.

I have three hanging baskets full of dwarf daffodils.
All of these bulbs had been stored in a box in the shed 
 for two years and forgotten about. 
I planted them in this basket to see if they would flower
and they are as good as the new ones.

I cut a few flowers and brought some inside.
No fancy arrangement just popped them in a small glass tumbler
and placed them on the dining table,
I know they won't last long, but they look pretty.

These other Daffodils have been in the grass for a long time.
I notice over the past few years, there are fewer blooms.
We have an abundance of voles so I think they must be eating the bulbs.

After a beautiful weekend of warm sun,
this is the first pale yellow one to come out in bloom this afternoon. 
I don't know variety, but the trumpet has a frilly look about it.

 These are new bulbs planted in Autumn under an old apple tree
 by Mr France , he planted the whole bag in a small area.
  so they will look much nicer in a few more days, when they are all in bloom.

In Autumn I planted a few  Crocus bulbs in a basket,take a look here
Now I can move it around to give a splash of colour where I want it.
By mid morning the flowers have opened 

 the Bumble Bees have already been visiting. 

Another Bumble Bee  collecting pollen.

My grandson took this photo on his phone yesterday.
and sent it to me last night.

I hope you enjoyed your time in my garden.
This is where I'll be spending my time.
Come back again soon
there will be lots more to see .

Thank you for visiting 

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian