New Arrivals

Aside from the two boars we purchased from the brocante (and Silvie and Gils’ new granddaughter!), we’ve had more new arrivals at La Biochère….


I suppose it started with Mum and Dad’s visit in April – despite travelling ‘light’ by train from Kent, Mum managed to bring some cuttings of her ‘Tom Thumb’ rose and some pink campion that she’s had growing in her garden for years.  These will make some welcome additions to the garden when they are established – I can just see the Tom Thumb rose making a real impact over the main entrance to the big barn 🙂

Bare-root perennials

Later that month, we had a lovely afternoon at La Biochère with Mike and Hilary.  We first met them last autumn, before the house purchase had actually completed, when we collected some excess plants from their garden in La Pas – the Lysimachia and asters are doing  really well in various borders around the garden.  We’ve kept in touch ever since and it was very exciting when Mike said they were bringing some more plants for us – what a treat!!


They revealed a boot-load of plants – campanulas, sweet Williams, Phlomis….


Also, lots of lovely Verbena bonariensis – these will make a beautiful addition to the garden – tall, airy stems, topped with small clusters of purple flowers, which bees and other insects love.  They self seed too, so eventually, we should have a number of striking stands of them around the garden…

And finally, a tray of Calendula seedlings (English marigolds) – they’ll be great for adding some colour around the island bed in the courtyard…


I’ve planted out some verbenas already, the rest I have potted up, ready for when I have borders/areas prepared for them to be planted out.  I also thought it would give them the best chance of survival to have a good root system before being planted into the soil…

Gifts from the UK

In early May, we took a trip over to England, primarily so that I could attend a meeting at the Royal Entomological Society, but combining that with staying with family and meeting with friends.

Jim came with us…


He’s a well-travelled cat and took the journey in his stride, even the channel crossing on the ferry 🙂

A garden visit with a friend

On the day before we were due to return to France, we met up with our dear friend, Anne, from Canada.  Anne emigrated over 40 years ago – I used to play with her boys when we were about 4 years old!  It was lovely to see her again and good chance that her trip to the UK coincided with ours.  We decided to take a stroll around some local gardens  (Mount Ephraim) that were open…


and have a decadent cream tea!


The topiary was impressive…


As were the magnolias and camellias…

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A gateway took us through to a grass labyrinth, in the centre of which was a huge urn, stuffed full of tulips…



A walk by the lake took us up to the Japanese garden, the bog garden and then into the arboretum, which still sported a carpet of bluebells…

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At a vantage point from the arboretum, we were able to see the labyrinth…


before heading back past the lake, the stunning acers, beech and dog woods to the car…



It was back at the car park that I spotted a globe thistle in the plant sales!  I love them and asked Edward if I could buy it – ‘No!’ he replied (!), to which Anne said, ‘give in, give in!!’ and promptly bought it for me!!  Now I have a lovely plant by which to remember her and our outing – I’m a lucky girl 🙂

More plant gifts from Mum, Dad and my Aunty Gill

Before heading back home to France, Mum took me for a walk around her garden, armed with a list of plants I might like to take back with me.  Before I knew it, I had pots of rooted buddleias and perennial wallflowers, more campion, various grasses, including Carex pendula, which will be great in the woodland and the lovely annual quaking grass, Fatsia japonica, comfrey and cistus, to name just a few!

My Mum’s sister, Aunty Gill, lives next door to Mum and Dad.  I popped round to see her and Uncle Derek during the week one evening, thinking we’d chat about what we’d each been up to.  Instead, Aunty Gill took me around her garden, this time, armed with a trowel and garden fork!  A couple of hours later, I had sacks full of perennials to take back with me!!  Irises, hardy geraniums, primroses, lambs’ ears, crocosmia, campanulas, euphorbias, bugle, periwinkle, a fern and a variegated maple made up some of the number – so exciting!!

Finally, the evening before we left, Dad took me down to his garden, where he gave me some garden chrysanthemums, for autumn colour – we’ll have mounds of lovely golden flowers to pick in September/ October, as well as some larger red ones.  Also, he gave me some daffodil bulbs, which I’ll plant under the lime tree, and some native bluebells, which I’ll add to the small clump I discovered at the edge of the woodland…

How lucky are we??  Everyone has been so generous and it will really be a great help to get the garden established more quickly, with such a range of plants and flowers that would have taken us years to build up other wise 🙂

So, it was with a very full car that we returned home early in the morning, with Jim, after he’d said his goodbyes, of course!!



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It was a calm and comfortable crossing and the drive on the French roads was easy but I couldn’t wait to get back to sort out all the plants we’d been given…..  Two days later and I finally had them all potted up in the temporary ‘nursery’….


Afternoon tea with our friends at Mantilly

On Saturday, we met up with our good friends Ruth and Kevin – it’s been a long time since we last saw them, when it was too cold for a tour around the garden and we were still in a state of upheaval in the house!

So, it was lovely to see them both again, to see that they are both enjoying their home and planning their garden.  Kevin took us for a ‘grand tour’, showing us his impressive handy work in the outbuildings, preparations for his veranda, pond-building, fence-making, arbour construction, vegetable garden preparation and planting, chicken run and housing, green house sowings and workshop – phew!  Makes me feel we’ve been slacking!!!

Back in the house and Ruth had set the table for cake 🙂  It was the biggest cake I’d seen and we were given a quarter each – I don’t think we should visit too often as they will be rolling us out of the door….. !

And then there were three!

On leaving, Kevin said he’d put a couple of plants by the car for us – globe thistles he’d grown from seed last year.  I am over the moon with them and know exactly where they will be going, along with the one our friend Anne bought for me ♥