Breaking Ground


A lot has happened in our sleepy little corner of France this past week. Or at least a lot for a place where life ticks along at a slow pace that’s remained relatively unchanged for a century. On Thursday we had an earthquake (yes, a real earthquake!) measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was in between Rochefort and La Rochelle. There was some slight damage and schools were evacuated but there were no injuries.

Then on Friday our tiny village was taken over for the afternoon by a huge amount of gendarmes; they set up a roadblock to stop and check cars in both directions just at the exit on the east end of the village. Spot-checks are the one thing I really dislike about France; I always feel guilty, even when there is absolutely no reason why I should do so. Fortunately this time the two cars passing through the village before me had already been pulled over and so I was waved straight through. I smiled, a very guilty looking gesture I am sure as I passed within two feet of the gendarme who peered at my car, and he certainly did not return my smile! On my way home half an hour later I took a detour and entered the village along a back road. These lead into tiny little lanes which weave their way around the houses in between the old stone walls. It takes twice as long but I was not going to face the roadblock again!


However, there was a wonderful surprise, too. An elderly man lives in one of the ancient village houses, and many times I have seen him standing under the cover of his porch smoking a cigarette. When we first arrived here we would just stare at each other as I passed, then one day I smiled at him and he smiled back and from that day on I always waved and smiled whenever I saw him, and he always raised his hand and grinned back at me. We had this sort of strange but silent friendship. But then I saw him no more. I didn’t know what happened to him, but months passed and I hadn’t seen him all winter; I thought that perhaps he had either moved away or something terrible had happened and I feared the worst. I asked a couple of friends who the old man was but no one seemed to know who I was talking about. But then on Friday he was back there on his porch, as if he had never been away. I waved and smiled a huge broad smile and he raised his hand and grinned back at me with his usual friendly lopsided greeting. I cannot tell you how extremely happy I am to see him again.


Wednesday afternoon, in France, there is no school for the children and after tennis we set off for a garden centre near Royan that sells gold fish or more specifically ‘pond’ fish. We were finally going to put some fish in the pond that we built 10 months ago. They would join the frogs who have found it and who appear to love their new home! We were also there so that the children could buy vegetable plants. Their own choices for their own little gardens. Of course they chose the usual suspects. Strawberries, melons and salad for Hetty. Strawberries, peppers, peas and watermelons for Gigi. Jack chose peas and watermelon and Millie is experimenting with several different varieties of pepper, a watermelon and a peanut plant. Who needs a toy shop when you can buy and grow your own vegetables?




At the check-out there are no brightly coloured packets of sweets and candy, instead there are children’s books. Our attention was caught by the tale of Monsieur Taupe (Mr Mole) and I flicked through, the story of a mole family living their lives in darkness underground. In real life, the mole is not my friend at the moment. I know he eats the bad grubs and means no harm, but he is destroying one section of our lawn and I am finding it increasingly difficult to be forgiving. Rory sits for hours on end staring at the mounds of earth waiting patiently to pounce. Evie can feel the movement underground and uses it as a great excuse to dig, so now we have a double problem in the garden, mole hills and holes. I swear the pair of them are in cahoots and concocting all sorts of wicked plans if they ever do catch a mole.


The vegetable garden has been rotovated and is prepared ready for growing. The children and I have chatted about this on and off for a couple of months now and planned. The idea was that each of them would have their own small rectangle of garden within the potager. They could grow whatever they wished, but they must also keep it weeded, watered and tend to their “patch” themselves. I urge anyone and everyone to grow something with their children or grandchildren. You don’t need a big garden, in fact you don’t even need a garden, you can grow a tomato plant, especially the small grape variety in a pot on a balcony. There is nothing better than allowing children to make the connection themselves between the food they eat and watching it grow, for them to be able to nurture that plant and then pick the fruit and eat it, still warm from the sun is a wonderful form of education. It’s a possession that cannot be ignored, it needs attention but it also gives back.




We can’t really escape growing food here, everyone has their potager, some are tiny, some are huge and how they are maintained by some of the people amazes me; everyday I see the same pensioners toiling away in their gardens, hoeing weeds, planting, tending the soil, and the pride in their produce is immense. I am sure to the locals their gardens are purely practical; they grow everything that will see them through the year. For me, I also find them terribly photogenic.



We also have an American friend staying with us, who happened to train at a cookery school in Paris, but more on that later in the week. I told you, for our sleepy little haven, it’s been quite a hive of activity!

Last but by no means least, today is the 1st of May and in France it is the Fête de Muguet (Lily of the valley). A day when loved ones give each other a little posy of Muguet or a small pot of them. However this year with such an unusually cold April the Muguet have not grown and flowered as they should and apparently supplies are about 30% lower than last year. We have Muguet growing in the garden and I can vouch for the fact that last year on May 1st they were flowering and this year there is still no sign of any tiny buds at all. So instead we are making the most of the lilac which is out in abundance everywhere, the scent is incredible and the colours rich and vibrant, I’m quite happy to sacrifice Muguet for some lilac this year.






66 thoughts on “Breaking Ground

    1. It really is – connection on so many levels, connections between children and the food they eat, understanding where it all comes from and also for me the connection with the old man that lives in our village, and it just goes to show how important a smile can be. Finally it is warming up here this week I believe, it’s been such a chilly April! Hope you have a lovely week, Susan x

  1. Love the garden toil photos. It green but cool & rainy here! That will change shortly & be hot & sticky!

    1. Hi Cat, it sounds as if you have a difficult climate! I don’t envy you the hot and sticky at all! But I am hoping it will warm up here a little. After the warmest winter on record with plants flowering and in bud in January, unheard of, we then had a very cold April, everything is upside down. I’m hoping May will settle down into more normal springlike conditions. Susan x

    1. Hi Nadia, they are so pretty. Having seen none about locally at all, this afternoon we drove to the coast for tennis (surprise surprise) and there were little stands selling Muguet everywhere! Susan x

    1. Hi Catherine, you know what it’s like in France, so often we must make the first move as the foreigners, but when we do everything changes. I hope I see him again and I hope we will at least one day exchange a few words, the next move must be on my part, when I stop and say Bonjour. Susan x

  2. It’s so fun reading and learning about the customs over there. That is great that your children have their own patch of garden to tend. We planted a garden a few years ago and I guess my husband didn’t care for it much because the next summer we just had one raised box and last year none at all. He tore the raised box up and we had sod grass installed last summer that he tends to daily now pulling weeds before they get out of hand. So he is really still gardening. 🙂

    1. Hi Kim, Each to their own, some people love growing vegetables, others love growing flowers, and some just love being outside enjoying their “green space”. I think my love of vegetables comes from my childhood, I can always remember sitting in the summer shelling peas and eating strawberries and raspberries from the fruit cages, netted so that the birds couldn’t steal the fruit! This is the first year the children have had their own garden area, normally they just help me, so it will be interesting to see if they remain interested! Susan x

  3. You all certainly did have a busy week. Several years ago we had a 5.1 earthquake that caused quite a shock in the DC area. I was at work in my DC office and the ground shook and the walls rattled very loudly (metal studs). There were two rolls in quick succession. I dove under my desk–having once experienced a minor CA earthquake, I knew what it was. At home, 50 miles south, things fell off the walls and the mantle, drawers and cupboard doors opened. My husband said the dogs raced upstairs just before it hit and he then ran outside to watch our chimney sway back and forth (minor damage). So, I can relate to that surprise. Cannot relate, however, to warm weather and planting yet, it has been too chilly and today it is pouring with rain. Your children are fortunate to have such a lovely plot of earth to grow things. We tend to stick to potted deck plants even though we have space…we just don’t have time. And your pesky mole’s US ‘cousins’ have made our yard a dangerous place to walk for fear of breaking an ankle or falling in a hole up to one’s knees. As my mother would have said, “..the blighters”.

    1. Hi Mary, we scarcely noticed anything with the earthquake here, the tiniest tremble that’s all. Although Evie acted in a most peculiar fashion just before and now I understand why! It’s been so cold here this April, all very unusual weather so it was a real treat to get out into the vegetable garden this morning. As for the moles, the blighters indeed, two fresh molehills this evening, my garden is becoming a real mess. Hope some decent weather arrives this week for you, it is forecast to warm up here quite considerably. Susan x

  4. An earthquake, my goodness! So glad no one was hurt. You are so fortunate to be living in an area where the garden is a fact and way of life, and that your children are learning to appreciate that. Over here, most folks don’t take the time to garden. It’s faster and easier to pick it up at the market. And that’s a sad statement! Enjoy the fruits of your labors!

    1. Hi Nancy, we didn’t really feel much at all! As you will see, when you come to visit, gardening and growing produce is a way of life here, the market is a supplement! But like everywhere it is also something that is changing with the younger generation, less time and less inclination to grow ones own, so I am hoping that by giving the children their own little piece of garden this year that they will really enjoy it and hopefully it will sow the seeds (excuse the pun) for the future! Susan x

  5. Hi, Glad to hear you are fine after the earthquake, my friend had told me about it and I did think of you and your family, pleased to hear no damage was done, She is here on holiday with me for the next two weeks so we are hoping the strange weather we are having is going to settle and the summer can begin. Hope your goldfish and veggie do fine.

    1. Hi Brooke, so you are having strange weather too? After such a mild winter, April has been so unusually cold, the poor plants don’t know what to do. We had blossom on the plum trees in January, but of course after that we had a cold snap and there were no pollinators about, so now, here we are, at the beginning of May and there are just a handful of tiny green fruits forming on each tree, whereas last year they were overflowing with ripening fruits. I wonder is it the same for you? Susan x

      1. Exactly the same, today was very nice and warm and apparently is going to stay that way until Thursday, when we have a threat of rain, for maybe a week, let’s keep our fingers crossed keep safe

        1. It must have been the same all the way from the UK down through Europe. Today was beautiful but still a cold easterly wind here and temperatures didn’t get above 14C, but if you could get out of the wind and into the sun it was sunbathing weather, quite bizarre! It’s meant to warm up here quite considerably this week, into the 20’s and more normal weather for the time of year. Have a lovely week, Susan x

  6. A challenge! Next time you see the smoking gentleman, stop and discover his story for one of your blogs! We never know how one conversation may change one’s life forever… Just curious…

    1. Hi Julie, I am always up for a challenge. You know what I might just do that. Maybe the next time I see him I must stop, if I am late for school, then I am late for school, but maybe I should at least say Bonjour and make the next move. I just hope I do see him again. Watch this space! Susan x

  7. I am new to your blog. Really enjoyed reading it. This is the second one I have read and can’t wait to read more. Glad the earthquake was mild. I live right on earthquake fault on San Francisco Bay Area and we occasionally get them. Hate them. Can you tell me what a gendarmes is and why are they searching.

    1. Hi Lorraine, welcome to the blog, I am so happy to have you following along. We have had the occasional earthquake here but they are always very mild and of no cause for concern. Gendarmes are police. It is very common practice in France for them to set up a roadblock and do on the spot checks. They are just checking all is in order, car papers, insurance, drivers licence. They will of course walk around the car and check tyres are good and that’s all they have ever done with me, takes about 2 or 3 minutes maximum. I presume if anyone has been drinking they will be able to tell and will then do a breathalyser and maybe they are checking for that too, I don’t ever drink and drive so I couldn’t tell you. But if they are checking for that too then it is a very good thing in my opinion. they just always make me feel guilty when I’m not!!! Thank you for taking the time to comment and I really hope you will enjoy the blog and enjoy “chatting” with me, I love reading what everyone has to say and replying, it is what makes it all so worthwhile, getting to know my readers. Susan x

  8. In addition to all the usual good pictures, today’s of cat and dog drinking together is very lovely. My neighbors have some muguet behind their house, have offered me some to transplant.
    I’d never heard of the gendarmes doing spot-checks like that. Do they do it in every town and village — or perhaps you’re shady characters and they want to keep an eye on you. 🙂

    1. Hi Emm, Rory and Evie really do so much together, it’s lovely to watch, two young wicked Devils! Do take the Muguet, it’s a perennial and will come up year after year. It’s very common for the police in France to set up roadblocks, on the spot checks, they do it everywhere, very rarely in our village, I have seen them before here, but not in both directions at the same time. Although I often see them on the way to school on the edge of another village. I’m afraid we are rather boring people so we don’t have anything exciting to hide at all! They just like to check the car papers and insurance. I guess they probably also look out for drunk drivers, but again I don’t drink and drive so I can’t comment on that one, you see I said we were boring! Have a great week, Susan x

  9. I totally agree with you about gardening and children. My love of gardening came from both my Mom and Grandma. They both had gardens, we had to do the weeding and picking. At the end of each season my Mom and Grandma would get together with their harvest and can all of the vegetables for the winter.

    1. Hi Penny, I think it is wonderful if children are able to see for themselves where their food comes from and what better way than by growing it and caring for it. My love of gardening also came from my childhood. Everything we ate came from the kitchen garden, my mother would freeze all of the excess for the winter months. My father was the real gardener and he took so much pride in everything he grew, he was passionate about his garden and I think his love of it has rubbed off on me! Susan x

  10. Hi Susan….I never new there were earthquakes in France. We had a 5.something last year…at about 23.45pm….We were lying in bed and it sounded like a train coming….and then the shake….got up and waited for after shock…none that we felt.
    Living on the West Coast you do expect it. Every area in the world has its own unique…..something….one just copes and it’s so very spectacularly beautiful here.

    Love the garden pics….now out to my own garden.

    Ali xx

    1. Hi Ali, nor did I! It was very minor, but enough to cause a bit of a stir locally and some schools nearer to La Rochelle were evacuated, but there was no damage done anywhere. I have only ever felt one before this in the Caribbean in 1999. We all have to make some sacrifices as you say and it does sound so beautiful where you are. We have had such a cold April, coming after such a warm winter the poor plants are terribly confused, everything seems to be quite topsy turvy, hopefully now May is here things will return to more normal conditions! Susan xx

  11. I remember growing endless sunflowers as a child and the amount of joy it brought me! Sunflower yellow has remained my favorite color to this very day because of it. You are so right Susan, teaching our little ones all about food and how things are grown is so essential to their understanding of the world.

    1. Hi Lily, I totally agree with you, I think it is so essential for children to understand the fundamentals of where their food comes from. We are really hoping to plant some sunflowers for the children too, I will buy the seeds this week so we can plant them out, I am sure it will turn into a competition as to who can grow the tallest! Susan x

  12. There was a little old vigneron, in his 90s, stooped completely in half but still at it in the vineyards in all weather, who lived next to the school here. I would smile and say hello taking or picking up our kid at school (four times a day–9, 12, 2, and 5). He would look at us and return the greeting, beaming. I found out one day that he had a reputation for being grumpy and unfriendly. I think (a) he had a bad day and didn’t greet someone, and in minutes it was all over the village and everyone henceforth gave him wide berth, but in my ignorance I smiled and let him smile back;or (b) he liked my exotic accent–not many foreigners in our little town. Anyway, I saw less of him when our kid passed to the upper classes in Carcassonne, and I learned he died this winter. I miss seeing his hunched figure out on the hillside, pruning the vines or trundling down the road on his ancient tractor–a Lambourghini! There are little old characters, like yours and mine, all over rural France.

    1. Hi, they are indeed the real characters of rural France. I was surprised at how much I missed waving and smiling at him during the winter and even more surprised at how thrilled I was to see him again. My next move is quite obviously to stop and say bonjour, the trouble is whenever I do see him I am always on my way to or from school and invariably late already! Well I guess I will just have to be even later! There is another man here, not quite so old, who keeps two donkeys. He always scowled at us when we walked past with the dogs. So one day I decided to smile at him and say bonjour. He looked so shocked. Now we always stop and exchange greetings and have a brief talk about the weather or the donkeys! Susan X

  13. How lovely to see your children occupied with their potager, I look forward to seeing how each plot progress’s . The smiling, nodding friendship with the old man made me smile, it’s amazing that’s all it takes, but the French rarely make the first move, maybe now the weather is hopefully getting warmer he will be be out on his porch more often, & you will have the car window down, then you can wave & shout ‘ bonjour ‘ I too feel guilty for no reason, when stopped by the Gendarmes, who I have to say are usually very arrogant, and never say merci . Maybe you should take the quiet back roads more often, then you will miss them & get to know the old man.

    1. Hi Barbara, I think as foreigners we do have to make the first move, but I have found on so many occasions that once we do, everything changes. So yes the next time I see him I should say bonjour. But it’s usually when I am collecting the eldest children from school and I am invariably always in a hurry and always already late, which is why I usually take the main road in the first place! I am glad someone else feels guilty for absolutely no apparent reason! I will certainly keep you up to date with the children’s progress in their little gardens, I am sure they will be so excited when the first fruits and vegetables actually appear! I understand it is going to warm up a great deal this week, it’s been very chilly here and I would imagine the same with you. Have a lovely week, Susan x

  14. So glad to hear you all made it through the Earthquake, I remember one once when I was living in California, terrifying things! Very lucky that it didn’t mess up any of your vegetable plot plans!

    1. Hi Helen, it was very very minor, we felt the slightest tremor that’s all. You certainly would have had it much worse in California. The vegetable garden plans were happily unaffected and the children have been planting away for much of the day today on and off! Have a lovely week, Susan x

  15. I love your story about you and the old man! There is still hope for mankind.
    It shows that we care about each other in spite of all the terrible things going on in the world.I also share your feelings towards the Gendarmes.- Whenever I meet one, I feel so guilty,…..I don’t know of what! Lovely children you have.

    1. Hi Inge, I cannot tell you how happy I was to see the old man again, I now know I have to take the time to stop and say Bonjour when I see him again. Isn’t it funny how gendarmes can make us feel so guilty when we are quite innocent, even though cars always warn others when there is one by flashing their lights, I never take a detour because I know there is nothing wrong and that would be silly, but I still hate them!!! Have a lovely week, Susan x

  16. Your story of the old man who waves reminds me of the movie Under The Tuscan Son, one of my very favorite movies that I watched several times. Remember how Francis (Diane Lane) waves to an older gentleman every day that brings flowers to the Madonna but never waves back. Near the end of the movie he tips his hat to her with a slight smile and she gets so excited. I love the scenery in that movie as I do with the wonderful pictures you post of France. The stories of your lives add beauty and inspiration to ours.

    1. Hi Sandy, I have read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it but never seen the movie, Tuscany is such a beautiful part of the world with stunning scenery, ours is nowhere near as fantastic, but I do absolutely love it here none the less! Thank you so much for your lovely kind words, if I can put a smile on someone’s face or brighten someone’s day then I am very happy, then it is all worthwhile. Failing that reading comments and replying, so “chatting via messages,” is the next best thing! Have a great week, Susan X

  17. What an absolutely lovely read this entry is – I could visualize your drive through the village and I swear I could smell the lilac – I miss my lilac so – it does not grow in Mexico. If I had still been in Canada I would have been making my lists for the garden centre in preparation for May 24th planting (the traditional time to plant with no more frost). Gardening is good for the soul. I look forward to your next ‘adventure’.

    1. Hi Joan, thank you so much, lilac does smell fantastic, we don’t have any in the garden so we have to be content with picking from some wild trees which grow on one of our walks we take daily with the dogs, not really a hardship at all! The wisteria is also beautifully scented right under a bedroom window, I love that fresh smell of flowers from the garden. May 24th, gosh did you often get frosts that late in the spring? Gardening is definitely good for the soul, I love being in the garden, I don’t spend nearly as much time as I would like out there but with the lighter warmer evenings I am finding spare hours here and there! I also love that the children are taking such an interest and it’s such fun to share it with everyone. Have a lovely week, until next time, Susan x

  18. The lilacs are just lovely! Maybe especially so because they do not grow here in Texas. I have a small garden that is a challenge. We have had sooo much rain lately the little blossoms have fallen from the vines. Soon it will be so hot little grows! But I still go at it! My Dad always had a garden. He finally gave it up at age 95. I think it gave him a good excuse to get out of the house & have some peace for an hour or so.
    Til next time….

    1. Hi Jeanne, you certainly sound as if you have really challenging gardening conditions, but good for you for persevering, being in the garden does so much for us, it enables us to have a little peace as you say and to be alone with our thoughts. I always say I think best whilst I am mowing the lawn, it takes me about an hour and a half, the mower is noisy so I can’t hear anything else and I am often totally deep in thought, lost in my own noisy mowing heaven and extremely content because I am out in the garden and the weather has to be good otherwise I would not be cutting the grass!!! We don’t have a lilac tree in our garden either, I have to be content with wild ones that grow where we walk the dogs, but I do love them. Hopefully you will get some nice weather in between the rain and the heat? Have a lovely week, Susan x

  19. Wow – earthquakes would be the last thing I’d think of in France, that north of the Med, anyway. Hope it’s the last time that happens for you ! Love the children’s veggies plots – great thing for them to do. Fantastic photos, too !

    1. Hi Phil, they certainly were the last thing we thought of too, but it was minor and no damage done anywhere. The children had so much fun planting on and off all day today, I hope they will stay totally engaged all summer and enjoy weeding and watering, they are such small areas that it won’t be too much hard work so should be fun! Have a great week, Susan x

  20. Ah yes, I heard about the tremblement de terre! We expect them here in New Zealand – not that I have ever really felt one, I have to say – but I was surprised to hear that you had one in France! Lovely post as always. 🙂

    1. Hi Alison, thank you! It was really quite a shock, the tiniest little tremor, but it certainly set all the locals talking! It’s not the sort of thing we expect here! Hope you have a lovely week and good autumnal weather, I remember May was always such a beautiful month in the Bay of Islands. Susan x

  21. Wow. So much to cover in this post. I can tell you that our muguet are definitely blooming today. Wish we could send you some. I’m writing a novel with two American teenagers who move to France. I’d love to hear from your Millie about the differences she experienced when you all moved to France. I saw her blog post before but wonder if she’d like to share more with me. Thanks so much and I hope you’d consider playing along with Dreaming of France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

    1. Hi Paulita, our Muguet are finally blooming, well some of them are, but not all! I am sure Millie would love to chat with you more, perhaps you can email her using the email on my blog and she can reply to you. I am heading over to your blog now! Susan x

  22. Oh the Lilacs…… favorite of childhood. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this absolutely magical Spring journey………….I got to join along with every step of the planting……..oh thank you !!!!!

    1. Thank you so much, I have lilacs in vases all over the house at the moment, wherever I can put them! I adore them too. It was also so much fun to finally get out into the vegetable garden, not sure who was more excited, me or the children! Have a fabulous week, Susan x

    1. Welcome to the blog and thank you for commenting, always appreciated. I just adore lilacs! But I have to admit the scent of the wisteria is pretty amazing too, it wafts straight into the open bedroom windows upstairs, the perfect smells of Spring! Susan X

  23. What an absolutely delightful post! You are living such a beautiful life with your family. I love that you were so exciting to see “your” older French man again! The joys of small village life are precious. lidy

    1. Hi Lidy, welcome to the blog and great to have you following along. It is such a fabulous place to bring up children, I enjoy sharing so much with them and then with everyone else on the blog. I was indeed so happy to see the elderly man again, far more so than I ever realised I would be, as you say, the joys of small village life indeed! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment it is always so much appreciated. Susan x

  24. Lovely, lovely post! I’m so happy I found your blog. Your garden tales and photos make me want to run out to mine in spite of it being late at night!

    Your telling of the gentleman who finally returned your smiles and waves reminds me of the neighbor to Diane Lane’s character in Under the Tuscan Sun. My fave movie!!

    Your kids are so cute with their own garden beds. I did the same with my girls and they loved playing in the dirt!!


    1. Hi Jane, I am so glad you found the blog too and thank you for taking the time to comment, the interaction with everyone is what makes this all so special. It feels so great to be outside in the vegetable garden again, planting and planning and watching the children, although I am not sure who is more excited, them or me! But it has to be good for them, as you say, letting them play in the dirt, mud stained knees and getting back to basics. It’s what I did as a child and I loved it!!! Enjoy the rest of the week, Susan x

  25. An earthquake! Now I didn’t expect to read that in your blog! Glad all is ok though. You are so far ahead over there. Our lilacs are not yet out and certainly no sign of Lilly of the Valley. But the blackbirds are peeping loudly, the Robins are coming down into the garden and my Hydrangeas have leaves sprouting! Bees are bumbling and flies are buzzing and nature is on the march once more! I totally agree about children and gardening. I’m hoping to get my little grandsons growing some in our garden once we have created our raised beds. I loved the photo of your little JR (Evie?) and your puss drinking from the pond! Well captured!

    1. Hi Marian, it was very minor and we felt the most minute tremor only, but it was enough to get the locals talking and headlines in the local paper! I had gathered that we are about a month ahead of northern France and the U.K. In the garden. Our wisteria is nearly over already and the daffodils seem like a distant memory! Now we have the first roses blooming and all the trees are in full leaf which looks so amazing. Your grandsons are very lucky to have you, what a special treat for them to be able to garden with you. With regards to Evie and Rory, just happened to be in the right place at the right time! Susan x

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