28 March 2016

Missing but active.

The month of March is nearly over . 

During the first few weeks I was busy Spring cleaning
our little holiday cottage La Petite Maison

for our first visitors.

A little French rustic adornment.
I don't think I've ever seen anyone wear the straw hat, 
but it's there just in case.

The weather was perfect to bring out the Olive tree.

We also had a lot to do outside 
 to make good after the damage from the mini tornado.

The terrace pergola and new fencing was finished in time.
For the first arrival.
Even the tulips that come up every year were in bloom. can you see them on the right ?

I'm still waiting for the pink ones I put in pots to flower. They wont be long I'm sure .
This is what they looked like last year.

March is nearly over, the clocks have been put forward an hour, 
I look forward to the longer days. 

The birds are singing morning an evening

Finding a mate

 To help build their nest

I don't think I've ever seen so many different types of finches 
altogether at the same time, in the garden.
Maybe it's because Mr France has chosen some 
different type of bird food, which he scatters on the ground.

and frantically building their nests.

We even had this visitor in the garden .
Unfortunately I didn't have my camera at the ready.

These photos are images from a source found on internet.
 The Hoopoe bird. 

I'm hoping they'll nest again near us.
We hear them but don't always see them.

There's new shoots popping up all around the garden.
What could be better. I love this time of the year.

I haven't been feeling well this past week. 
A nasty chest infection, which knocked me for six,
it was a pyjama week for me, thankfully it's slowly clearing up.

Now I'm looking forward to some warmer sunny days.
then I can get into gardening again.
Things have been put on hold, yet again. 
I was hoping to get things done 'gardening by the moon '
this Spring, but it wasn't to be. I would have liked to test 
to see if it did make any difference, when things were planted.
or pruned.    Now I'll never know.

Lets hope April won't be full of showers. 

Thanks for popping by
 and if you are new to my blog I hope you'll come back again .

Look forward to seeing you again soon.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

01 March 2016

1 st. March Meteorologist Spring

When does Spring actually start ?

For me, it's when I see the flowers I associate with Spring, blooming in my garden.
So it's Spring in my garden it's arrived early this year.

According to the Meteorologist calender it's today the 1st March.
Take a look here to check
Then there's the  Astronomical seasons date which is 20th March 2016

Earth's axis and seasons

A few were nipped and didn't get to stand up straight
so I cut them and made them into a small display.

Just three daffodils and a little greenery from the garden
 a few sprigs of Forsythia and catkins can make a pretty arrangements.

On the 1st March 1906 Edith Holden  wrote in her diary
March has come in like a lamb
with a warm wind 
and rain from the south west.

Exactly like it has been here today 110 years later.
Full of such lovely illustrations. 

Do you like Country Magazines. if that's a yes.
you'll love Country Living UK.

It's high on the list amongst my favourites, as it is with Mary from
 A Breath of Fresh Air,.
take a look at her latest post, she tears out pages and puts them on her fridge. 
I keep some of my copies for several years 
as you can see this one is 2013

For those of you that still have snow 
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my Spring.

I'll hope you'll come back and visit me again.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

29 February 2016

The last day of February.

Towards the end of last week we had a day with not too much rain,
 so we thought we'd make a start by visiting the garden centre.
We took advantage of the special offers on these bags of terreau.
Which we will need for the new flower beds.
However it's been far to wet to do any digging, 
so I've just been tidying up and snipping a bit here and there.
This blue glazed pot was used for an outside Christmas decoration.
I was ready to pull everything out but I hesitated 
as some of the pieces had started to root.
Don't know if it's due to the amount 
of rain and very little frost,
but I'll be leaving them
for awhile to see
what happens.
If they grow we could have some more Skimmia
like this, as this is the shrub I cut them from.

The Pieris is very early to flower this year'

this one is Forest Flame
I have three Pieris not sure which variety the others are.

The winter flowering Erica has grown very leggy,
It was fighting for the light, until I did some severe pruning.
When we came to live here a French lady who is now a friend
 gave me a few tiny rosettes of this plant.
She told me to tuck them into the cracks of a wall, and I would 
have the plant for life. Since then I have walls and pots full of them, 
and I'm always giving them away. I have since found out the name
which is Sempervivum and I've heard it called the Hen and chic plant.
It's reproducing rosettes all the time.

 I'd forgotten all about this plant Aucuba Japonica'Variegata'
It was hidden behind some Photinia, which have grown so big
this poor thing was being smothered, I'd rescued it last year,
 look at it now, the leaves all shiny and healthy, with lots of berries.
These miniature daffodils where planted in this part of the garden a few
 years ago and with a little tidying every now and then, it looks after itself. 
It joins the farmers field, so it's always full of wild flowers which I leave.
I also put some Buddleia cuttings a friend gave me and now they are massive 
If Buddleia is not pruned back each year, before you know it the shrub
 will become a tree. So the secateurs will be working hard 
this next week. Come rain or shine.
Can you see all the wild flowers already growing here?
they will fill in when the daffodils are past their best.
Looks like it's creeping buttercups shooting up there.
Further along the bank,wild violets are growing,
there were a lot more until the mouse popped out from this hole
I think he must have damaged the roots, with all the digging.

Each morning Mr France replenishes the bird table with a mixture of seeds
he then scatters some seed around this mouse hole. I've been trying my hardest
to catch him on camera, but he pops in and out so quickly.

Well after lots of patience I finally managed to get a few shots of him 

As you can see, not a lot of gardening has been done.
But I hope you liked following me around the garden
catching up on some progress I've been able to make.

Hopefully next time, weather permitting I should have lots to show you,

I have new roses to plant and one to move from last year.
which didn't like where it was. A new home needs to be found for it.

I see from some of the blogs I read some of you still have lots of snow.
What a strange winter this has been.
 I'm sure you are all looking forward to Spring.
I'll be back soon showing the progress in my garden.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

18 February 2016

Forced Forsythia

So much rain and now a covering of snow this morning. 
I needed some spring to lighten my heart.
  I'm so pleased that I had  brought some Forsythia into the house.
 A shrub had been damaged during the storm so I cut a few branches 
and put them in a vase near the window. With the warmth inside 
and the light it didn't take too long for the flowers to open.

Our weather forecast had shown, sun and a rise in temperature, however it 
didn't happen. It's been cold & we've had sleet falling on and off all day.
 This lovely bright spring yellow, has certainly cheered me up
 I've been browsing through my Edith Holden, Edwardian Lady books.
Nature notes 1905 and Country Diary 1906
She painted some lovely illustrations for both these books .
I've had them for a long time and only ever looked at the pictures.
Now I'm painting again they've  given me inspiration.
Reading the daily entries in the diary is so interesting, 
not unlike the way the weather has been so far this year.

If you like, nature, birds and wild flowers
these books are lovely to have.
I also picked a few catkins,
 when we were children we called them Lambs tails.

 On my last visit to Denmark I bought myself this slate tray. 
Just right to display a few bits & pieces.

I made this card,
 just For You.

Have you brought a little early Spring into your home yet.
Try something, especially if you have snow, it made me feel happy.

Until the next time.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

13 February 2016

Raindrops and Snowdrops

 snowdrops images free use

We've had so much rain, I've been in doors all week.
What do you do when your at home and it rains everyday?

It seems like most of you clean the house from top to bottom.
Have you met Daphne she decided to wash all her blue and white
crockery that she has on display. I didn't want to do things like that,
although she did make it sound a pleasure, pop over and take a look at her blog.
Every week she shares a tasty recipe, along with the music she listens to while
cooking/baking and she can make a visit to the dentist into an interesting story.

Those of you know me well,
know I'd rather be doing things in the garden, than dusting.
I'm always looking forward to Spring.

In between the few times it stopped raining, I had a quick wander around
the garden, and made a note of some of the things that I need to do
as soon as we get some dry days. Looking at the weather forecast
it won't be until the middle if next week.

I did another search to see if I could the find any snowdrops in bloom
 this is the variety I planted 2 years ago.

I still only managed to find one in flower, which had been
battered by the heavy rain, so I brought it indoors.

 Daphne spotted this lonely snowdrop amongst the
tete a tete daffodils in a photo I shared on my Facebook page.

I had hopes of the garden being full of white clusters of snowdrops.
Just like this.

 snowdrops images free use

There are so many different species. all so dainty.
Maybe I should have chosen a more hardy type similar to these.

 snowdrops images free use

I'll have to ask my friends if I can dig up some of theirs after they have
 finished flowering, to plant for next spring. Which is called planting
 'in the green' or wait till next Autumn and plant some more bulbs.

No gardening has been done, so I did the next best thing.
As I'd left my watercolour paints and journals handy
I had a great time sketching & painting Snowdrops.

This was painted in a Stillman & Birn Beta journal.
using Winsor & Newton pan paints.
I really like this paper it's thick so you can paint on both sides.

The next sketch was done in a  10 cm x 15 cm  sketch book made for me
by Valerie Gardener who has a lovely Sketching blog,
called Colours in the Briezh at the moment she is sharing sketches
 from her clothes  designed in the 60's.
She lives in northern France and travels a lot with her husband. She records
all their trips with sketches in situé. Her posts vary from time to time,
 I look forward to seeing her next posts as she is travelling again.

This sketch I did in the lovely handmade sketch book she sent to me.
All the pages are different types of paper.

 It's still raining,
and  while I've been doing these sketches, no dusting has been done.
Who cares, I'm back into watercolour painting,
and if we do have any unexpected visitors,
I'm sure they'll have come
 to see Mr France and I
'Not the dust'

All snowdrops images
are from snowdrops images free use

Have you got lots of snow drops in your garden ?
if so take some photos, I'd love to see them.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian