French Gardening and Summer Rain

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I am rarely the first person up in our family, I leave that badge to Roddy or the youngest girls. I prefer to remain in bed a few minutes longer where I like to lie and gather my thoughts; often Gigi will come in for a snuggle and I will plan my day, but yesterday I broke my own rules and I was up and out before the rest of the family had stirred. I wasn’t going anywhere special, there was no important meeting in my diary, I just wanted to capture the early morning light. I’ll do this every now and then; everyone wonders if I am feeling ok, but once in a while it’s fun to be the first to rise. I unlock the front door and open the french windows in the kitchen and let the cool morning air rush in.

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I pour myself a juice and wander out onto the terrace. All is silent, it’s just me and the dogs. And the sun; big and yellow, still quite low on the horizon where she’s stretching and yawning; I can already feel her warmth on my skin. I might be joined by a cat too, the stillness is intoxicating and the light is magical. As the sun rises a little higher so the birds awaken to form a dawn orchestra; an array of blackbirds, starlings, tits and finches, with the bass-line comprising a selection  of collar doves and our pair of wood-pigeons. They practice a few chords and then the ensemble bursts into a delicious medley of sound. The odd rooster around the village crows in the distance, adding a few dis-harmonious chords to a symphony already in full flow. Everything else is still silent.

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I wander down the garden, everywhere is so dry, the grass, what is left of it, crunches under my feet. The  lawn is brown and brittle. Most of the original plants in the flower beds are surviving without water; they have adapted to the region’s dry summers and were planted here accordingly, long before we arrived. But even with their roots going deep into the soil in search of water they are looking slightly sorry for themselves, their leaves wilting a little. Thankfully the hollyhocks, the hibiscus and the mirabilis provide fantastic pops of colour in an otherwise parched landscape.

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I stop for a few minutes by the pond which we built last year from old stone that was already here; we wanted it to look natural and appear as if it had always been a part of the garden. It is now home to a few fish and a great many frogs. Whenever anyone passes, les grenouilles leap and dive into the cool water, disappearing under a lily pad.

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Our simple watering system (me with a hose) is managing rather well. Thanks to our seemingly limitless well, the potager is thriving and so are the tubs on the terrace. It’s a nightly task at this time of year and a long one at that. I crank up the old electric pressure system from the 1930’s, turn a time-worn tap here and pull a knob there and the system noisily grumbles into life, and I can hear the water gurgling through the ancient cold iron pipes.  It’s a routine that has no doubt been practised for nearly a hundred years, albeit originally with the help of a manual pump worked by a giant hand wheel. The aubergines are just about ready and I pause to pick a couple of tomatoes and eat them while surveying the rest of our vegetables. The tomatoes always taste best like this, fresh and warm from the sun; I gorge on them greedily, their juices running down my chin.

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I pass more than just a cursory glance over the grapevines as we have a little fungus on some of the leaves and it needs careful watching. It’s nowhere near as bad as last year’s attack. We were adamant that we wouldn’t deluge our vines in the usual copper sulphate spray, a sludge traditionally used to ward off all sorts of disease here in the vineyards. The sulphates turn walls and everything else they touch quite blue. Our bunches of grapes are growing by the day, soon they will start to ripen and turn purple; for now they are happily flourishing without any interference.

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My next stop is the chickens, and as I approach the coop I can hear them chatting away inside. They know it’s ‘that’ time of day and they’re anxious to get out. One of the grey hens is always the first through the door. Fritz, our little rooster, usually comes second or third, doing his morning dance around the other girls as they each appear in turn. He flirts outrageously as if he has only just met them despite the fact he is in their presence 24 hours a day!

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I open up the hatch of the little Silkie babies and then the Frizzle bantam chicks, the latter now two months old; they appear to possibly be a male and a female, which would be a perfect result, so we’re keeping our fingers firmly crossed. I so wish they could roam free with the other birds but they are still too small, and I wouldn’t trust either of our cats. I’ve seen feathers on the lawn on enough occasions from a melange of blackbirds, thrushes and pigeons to know what our two hunters are capable of when they fancy a change of diet.

Wandering back towards the house, I glance over at our guest cottage; all is quiet; no one is awake there either.

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I pass our giant fig tree, which is bursting with fruit; we pruned it hard in the winter and I was worried we might have a lesser crop this year, but no, we have more than ever; just another couple of weeks and we will be eating our first figs of the year.

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I turn and meander up the driveway, where the flowering hedge which borders one side is flourishing; it’s a haven of colour and pollen for insects. For a few seconds I watch the bees at work, it is totally fascinating, and through the magnified lens of the camera I can see there is pollen everywhere, overflowing, covering the bees almost entirely.

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As I reach our front door, the dogs have beaten me to it and have taken up their usual positions, content for a while to enjoy the sun before it gets too hot. As the day gets underway they’ll slowly drift towards a shady spot when the heat becomes too much to bear.

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That was yesterday.

This morning I was awoken by an unfamiliar sound, something I had not heard in a while; rain. I am not normally a fan of rain, and I hate grey skies and endless wet days, but we haven’t seen a drop in so long that for once I welcomed its presence. For the second morning in a row I leapt out of bed ahead of all the others. I ran downstairs and once again opened the doors, I could smell the moisture and I could sense the earth sighing in gratitude, the plants nodding sagely; finally their parched leaves and stalks were being sated. Tomorrow the forecast is for more sun, but for now I’ll happily take one wet day.IMG_7919

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If you, like me, enjoy the simple pleasures that life offers us, I think you might enjoy Penny’s blog. She is a blogging friend of mine and I urge you to go over, have a read and follow along. www.enjoyingthesimplethings.com

 

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110 thoughts on “French Gardening and Summer Rain

  • You have a gift, a natural talent for telling a story, your words are so descriptive, such a novel way of showing your garden, I felt as if I was there with you, every step of the way, I only wish I was, I dream of visiting your part of France.

    • Thank you so much Jane,as always very much appreciated! I hope one day you do get to come and visit, have you ever been to France before? It would be great fun to show you around the Charente Maritime it is such a beautiful area with lovely friendly people. Susan x

      • No I have never visited France, one day, I keep saving and dreaming. If I ever get there I will let you know for sure, I will need lots of advice!

  • Summer rain – mmmm. One of my favourite smells. Sounds like you’ve had a slightly better summer than us, Susan. I think ice-cream sales may be down a little along the beachfront here compared to you. 🙂 Nice photos – the new camera is obviously working out well.

    • It’s been a very strange year Phil, Spring as I have previously mentioned was chilly and not that great, summer seemed to be a long time coming but once it finally arrived it has been fantastic. It’s raining steadily all day today, it makes a change, no one is complaining and the garden is loving every minute of it! I hope the sun returns to England soon and yes the camera is fantastic, I am so enjoying it, but I still need to learn how to use all of it’s functions, at the moment I am probably only making use of 10% of it’s capabilities! I need to do my homework! Susan x

      • Ah, ’tis not just the camera, Susan, it’s the person behind the lens too. If you were a cook, it would be your food I would enjoy, not the pots, pans and oven you use to cook it with. So it is with photos – a better camera will enhance the quality of an image perhaps, but it’s still you that needs to have the vision, get the camera in the right place and then press the shutter button. Consider my hat ‘doffed’ at this end in tribute to you and your vision. Love the grapes, the tomatoes, and the rain-sodden flowers especially.

      • Hi Phil, why thank you so much, but I feel you rather flatter me. I am but a novice compared to a great many, but I enjoy shooting away, there is so much beauty all around us and so much to photograph, thank goodness for digital cameras!!! Susan x

  • I totally agree with the comment above, your blog is my absolute favourite, we have had far too much rain in England as always, but I hope you enjoy your rainy day!

    • Thanks Lisa, I think you need to come over to France for a few days and enjoy some sunshine!!! Having grown up in England and spent so much time there I am very used to British summers, but when it is nice it is fantastic, it’s hard to beat a perfect English summer day. Susan x

  • We are expecting rain today and I am waiting and watching for its arrival as the garden sorely needs it. We have a similar watering system to you by the sound of it but I am not as diligent as you when it comes to watering unfortunately. I would much rather be cooking.

    • Hope you got your rain? Here it stopped around midday and the sun is now out again, blue skies have returned. But, we must have had a good eight hours, I am sure the garden will be happy. I enjoy cooking, but I have to admit I would far rather be gardening! Thank goodness Roddy is an excellent chef and the main cook, it’s all about the teamwork, I grow it, he cooks it! Susan x

      • It was slowly moving across inland, it must have fizzled out somewhat as it arrived with you! But it’s better than nothing. However, now I want the rest of August to remain hot and sunny, I just love summer too much, I can cope with the odd rainy day like this, especially as this evening is beautiful, but now I want summer to return!!!

  • As I type, I type reluctantly as we are having rain WITH lightening; I typically stay off of any electronic devices during this time!

    Your French mas is spectacular, and living that close to nature is a sublime way of living. Cheers to you!

    • Be careful! I try and stay away from the computer during storms too. I find this is the best way to live, it’s a way we have chosen and one in which we are particularly enjoying raising our children, they get the best of both worlds like this. They of course love electronics, their iPads etc., what kid doesn’t, but they do appreciate the simple things, they love the garden and fresh vegetables, I hope they will always continue to do so, that’s all I can ask. Susan xx

  • The photo of the bee dusted in pollen is lovely. It’s like fairy sprinkles!
    It’s very hot and dry here, too. Without a well, we are limited to a rain tank, which is getting quite low. We have showers forecast for tonight, but such promises have fallen flat before. Using a tank means traipsing back and forth with a watering can. Luckily the oleanders and lavender don’t need help; just the vegetables.

    • You could quite easily fit a 12v bilge pump from a boat chandlery to your rain tank to save your walking back and forth. All it will need then will be a battery and a little solar panel to keep it topped up with charge. You’ll find that the battery will always be fully charged when you need it – on the sunny dry days 🙂 It’s a very easy system to buy and fit, I promise.

    • This was the first rain we had seen for weeks on end. Amazingly we had a good eight hours, not too heavy, just steady and constant. Now the sun is out and the blue skies have returned, at least I shall be sparred watering for one night! Our oleander and lavender are also thriving, as you say it’s just the vegetables and anything in tubs that need constant attention and a new hedge we planted in the spring! Susan x

    • Thank you so much Susan, I am so glad you enjoyed it. It’s the best way to start the day for me too, a walk around the garden, however briefly is always uplifting. Have a great end to the week, Susan x

  • Bees, flowers, chickens, children, adorable dogs and cats, gorgeous produce……….wow……..I’d say that’s heaven!
    Thanks for sharing. Relaxed and in a summer frame of mind after enjoying this post!

    • Thank you so very much, I find a quick tour of the garden is the best way to start the day, no matter how much of a rush I am in, I always feel better if I just walk around briefly and if I am feeling down or unhappy it always lifts my spirits. Back to nature, it does wonders for us! Susan x

    • I am so glad, thank you Linda. We all lead such busy lives, sometimes it’s easy just to become blinkered and take no notice of the simple beauty around us. I find it extremely calming and relaxing just to take five minutes to pause and enjoy the garden, to pick a tomato and eat it there and then, to watch the frogs diving into the pond, it never fails to put me in a great frame of mind! Susan x

  • If you were to look on Google Earth at the western side of Perthshire, I am sure that you would see an intense patch of green. That would be the envy that my wife and I are currently feeling! Summer here has been dismal (again), with the last sustained dry period being the end of May. June, July and August thus far have seen rain every day, and very rarely a patch of blue sky. We are having difficulty ripening tomatoes in our greenhouse – outdoors there would be no chance, but then we only get about 1,000 hours of sunshine each year, and that must be in a good year!

    It is great to read of your lifestyle, and makes us all the more determined to move to Poitou Charentes, once family commitments allow it.

    You mention that you have a well, but do you have any restrictions on using a hose with it? I assume that mains supplies would have hose limitations in the height of summer.

    Anyway, keep up the good work – you keep our appetites whetted for the big day…….

    • Hi Ian, I remember English summers, I remember Scottish summers too, I sailed quite a bit around Bute. Today’s rain was a welcome change, but we did have a wet spring if that’s any consolation! Yes there are hose pipe restrictions on mains water but with our own well, nothing. We can water as much as we like. Most people here sight having a well as of extreme importance, I would never be able to keep everything going without it. When do you think the big day will be? Keep planning, it will happen, and I promise you it will be worthwhile, it is a truly great lifestyle and the people here are so lovely. We don’t regret a thing. Susan x

      • Hi Susan, thanks for the advice regarding wells. As a keen fruit and veg gardener, having the ability to keep everything watered would be quite important to me. Your plants are looking beautiful just now, and the extra warmth allows you to grow things that simply wouldn’t survive here.

        Our timescale for coming out to Poitou Charentes is something of an unknown. My father-in-law is 94 and quite frail, so we couldn’t bring him with us now, but equally we wouldn’t leave him, so it is rather a case of waiting for nature to take its course. The way things are going, I have visions of moving across and straight into a retirement home!

        You write so lyrically, and make everything sound so beautiful – have you written professionally in the past? We look forward to reading many more posts.

        Kind regards, Ian.

      • Hi Ian, Thank you so much, no I have never written professionally, I just enjoy writing! When you look for a house a well is somewhat vital if you want to grow vegetables and especially if you may be planting young fruit trees, it does get very dry here in the summer. Let me know when you are next over, would be lovely to meet and show you around. Susan x

  • Lovely description of your mornings in the garden! I particularly enjoyed the bird choir. Ahhhh….so peaceful. And I love the photo of the three tomatoes!
    Xoxo
    Nan

    • Thanks Nancy, the bird choir is fantastic! The vegetables have had a tough year, it was too cold in the spring and then it got too hot, now it’s about perfect, but everything has suffered! I am making the most of what we have! Susan xx

  • Ahhhh, what a lovely morning stroll! Thanks for taking me along. You are a very gifted writer and such a pleasure to read.

    • Thank you so much Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the garden with you and showing you around. It’s not at it’s best, it really is a spring garden, but despite the lack of colour in places it is still terribly peaceful and a very calming environment. Have a wonderful end to the week. Susan x

    • Thank you Jess and welcome to the blog, fabulous to have you following along and thank you for taking the time to comment, always very much appreciated. I love the peace of the garden. The rain has now stopped, the blue skies and sun have now returned, but everything is watered for once and I get a night off!! Susan x

    • Thanks so much, hope you are having a good summer in Ontario, I have a lot of family in Canada, but in Vancouver Island and Alberta, if I wasn’t in France it is one country I would love to live in. Enjoy the rest of the week, Susan x

      • Susan, thank you! Yes, we have family scattered across Canada, in B.C., too like you! Have to tell you, my dream/goal is to live & garden in France. Enjoying your site immensely! All the best, and I hope you have a lovely week, too. ~ Karen

      • Thank you Karen, let me know when you are next over here so that maybe we could meet up! Canada is a gorgeous country though and you are lucky to live there. Susan x

  • I envy you those beautiful peaceful gardens, you have painted such a beautiful picture, I was with you all the way and I love the idea of your rooster dancing around his hens. Have a lovely evening my dear x

    • Thank you so much Varsha, the garden is such a gorgeous place to be, we all enjoy it, whether it’s for a game of badminton or for the kids to play on the swings, or simply to wander around and pick some flowers, it doesn’t matter what we do, it will always be a place that makes us all very happy. I loved sharing it today and of course our chickens are very much a highlight! Hope you too have a lovely evening. Susan x

    • Thanks so much David, I love sharing the garden, the chickens, our lifestyle here with everyone and thank you for taking the time to comment, this is what makes it all so worthwhile. Susan x

  • A beautiful tour of a beautiful garden. brought to life with a very well written story and great photos. You’ve done it again, Susan, another winner in my opinion!

    • Thank you so much Erin, it was so much fun to walk everyone around the garden with me, my morning tour. The garden is not at it’s best at this time of year, it is far more of a spring garden, but nonetheless it is still peaceful and relaxing and a very special place to be. I am so flattered that you enjoyed it so much. Thank you again. Susan x

    • Thanks Penny, so glad you enjoyed it. I will write more, I promise, I just wanted to let everyone know about your blog as I particularly loved the watermelon recipe. Have a great end to the week, Susan x

  • I felt like was there with you in your garden. following your footsteps. Early morning is such a lovely time of the day, I too love to wander and pull out a weed or two ,or dead head the roses, and cut a few to put in a vase or these days a jam jar, I’ve started to favour country chic these days. Do you rent your guest cottage , we are planning a few days away the beginning of Sept. if so send me some details to my email address.
    We too have enjoyed a few scattered showers today, but not enough to make a difference in not having to water the pot plants on the terrace,

    • Hi Barbara, hopefully if you come in this direction we can show you around in person! I love having the time to potter in the garden, doesn’t happen as much as it should but it’s always fun and very relaxing. We had a solid 8 hours of rain, the first since the end of June, we literally haven’t had a drop for weeks on end, so it was very very welcome and enough to actually do some good, at least I don’t have to water tonight! The skies have now cleared and the sun is back out! No doubt tomorrow I will be back at it again!!! I will email you later this evening. Susan x

  • This is idylic – it’s actually giving me inspiration to carry on with our packing! The hens are adorable. I’m a little bit in love with your house xx

    • Hi Andrea, when you make it over here and are finally settled, I hope you will come south to visit! I commented on your blog today, hopefully with some encouragement, because I do promise the packing will be worth it, you will forget it in an instant and you know what, so will the children, like you I always worry about the children and feel guilt if I don’t spend enough time with them, but they are probably having plenty of fun, when do you arrive? In time to spend a little bit of the summer here I hope before school begins? and of course, I hope you are going to have chickens, they are so much fun! Now the skies have cleared and the sun has come back out to play, normality has returned! I’m off to pick some tomatoes for supper and collect the eggs! its a good life. Susan x

      • Hi Susan, yes I got your lovely message hence my heading over to your wonderful site again.
        We’re sailing Tuesday, so tomorrow we’re packing the van. The little ones and I are staying there for the summer but my poor hubby has to come back and decorate our house as we’re renting it out.
        If our life there is as lovely as yours always seems we’ll be very happy!
        Thank you again for your lovely words of encouragement xx

      • Hi Andrea, Best of luck, hope you have a smooth crossing. I can imagine the excitement is building! At least you will have nearly a month before you have to start thinking about schools etc and the children will enjoy part of their summer holidays here. I am sure you are going to be extremely happy, our second youngest daughter, who is 11, said to me only this evening, as we were swimming in the pool, how she loves it here. She said she thought it was going to be really old fashioned, she didn’t event think there would be internet here, but now she knows it’s as modern in some ways as anywhere else and she said she just loves it here! Bon Voyage Susan x

  • Good Morning Susan, I so enjoyed trailing along behind you as you woke up to your garden and critters. What a little spot of heaven you have.I have a similar morning routine, walking around my small garden and inspecting the overnight changes. I love your writing style…is it the evocative adjectives or the action-packed verbs? Or maybe just the talent you have of transporting me to your little corner of France? I am trying to find you on a map; what cities are you near? Hugs,

    • Hi Pat, thank you so much, I hope we would be walking around chatting side by side, not with you trailing behind! I love seeing what has changed overnight, there is always something. This evening as I wandered down under clear blue skies once more, I notice how our young lettuces, struggling in the dry soil had perked up, everything looked just that little bit happier! Our closest big town is Rochefort Sur Mer, it’s about 8 minutes away. Hope you have had a lovely day, Susan x

  • These pictures are simply wonderful. I love the feeling of getting up early like you have a secret you are sharing with the morning while everyone else is asleep. Thanks for sharing these lovely thoughts.

    • You have hit the nail on the head, it is indeed like sharing a secret with the morning, it’s a very special time, but secret or not, this once I did enjoy sharing it with everyone, so glad you enjoyed it. Susan x

  • Beautiful photos and narrative, Susan. Your garden is so beautiful and serene in the early morning light. Those tomatoes and aubergines look very healthy and yummy. Happy that you’ve had some much-needed rain. The bee covered in pollen is a really great capture. Gorgeous! 🙂

    • Hi Sylvia, thanks so much, I love watching the insects hard at work, but it is nothing like the wildlife you have in your garden, of which you know I am eternally envious, except not of the rabbit! Susan x

  • Beautiful shots and beautifully written. We woke to heavy rain this morning and it woke me during the night. It was not in the weather forecast. It was 10%, but hey we got 100%! I’m glad you got some much needed rain.

    • Hi Kim, I always think there is something quite soothing about torrential rain, so hard that it wakes us up, I always feel extra snug, tucked up warm and safe in bed, it just goes to show how lucky we all are in this world.
      The skies here cleared by mid afternoon and the sun returned, but a steady 8 hours of rain have done some good, at least for the time being, now hopefully we are back to warm long lazy sunny days! Susan x

    • Hi Rosemary, so glad you enjoyed my little tour, I loved sharing it. Once in a while it is really great fun to get up early, everywhere is so quiet apart from the birds. Susan x

  • I am very partial to that beautiful photo of the water lily Susan! But then again I may be a little biased! Absolutely stunning photos and a beautifully woven story today, lovely read.

    • Thanks Lily, so glad you enjoyed this, it was such fun to share. I love our water lilies. They only last a day but then each day a new one pops up, we have had non stop flowers somewhere in the pond for over a month now. Susan x

  • You seem to be putting your new camera through its paces very well, today is such a beautiful batch of photos Susan, so lovely to see the world through your lens.

    • Hi Helen, thank you so much, I am afraid I am still not using the camera to it’s full extent, nowhere near, I have a lot of homework to do to use it properly but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I am fortunate that there is so much to photograph! Susan x

  • What a lovely evocative post! You took us all along with you around your quiet morning garden! thank you. I love the photo of that beautiful pink rose, could you tell me its name or was it there before you arrived? It’s such a pretty shape and mix of colour. I also liked Sharon Santoni’s Polka rose she featured on her recent post. I’m not usually a fan of orange roses, but this apricot which gently fades to pale pink looks fabulous and is in flower when the others are going past. I tried to find it in the UK but without luck, but finally discovered that it is called Lord Byron here. So if any of your UK readers are looking for a warm rich apricot climber to brighten their days, that’s it’s name over here and they can see Sharon’s beautiful photos on her blog My French Country Home.
    The hens are settling. Starting to scratch and chase flies! No names yet. waiting for characters to emerge! They are still very nervous of me – how long must I wait till they are more confident and will take corn from my hand??! I must be patient…! Thanks again for sharing your early morning walk.

    • Hi Marian, thanks so much. I am sorry I don’t know the name of the Rose, they were all here before we arrived, they are all very old. What has surprised me is how the three rose bushes, all different in our vegetable garden have continued to flower all summer. They were just in the lawn and when we created the vegetable garden we left them where they were, I love having roses amongst the vegetables! I deadhead regularly and they keep giving back for months on end. The hens sound delightful. They won’t eat out of your hands straight away, you have to be patient, Just keep sitting in amongst them, so that they get used to you. Take in scraps from the kitchen, they will learn pretty soon that you mean food. Ours come running the moment they see me, they are hilarious! They should be eating out of your hand within a week or so if you persevere! Have fun. Susan x

    • So glad you came along for the stroll with me! It is always such fun to wander around the garden, see what has changed overnight and pick a few veggies along the way. Now the skies have completely cleared, sun has returned, but everything feels a little bit fresher, it won’t last for long, but I am sure the grass looks just a touch greener, I know I’m fooling myself, but it would be nice to think it is! Susan x

  • Hello from the US of A, Susan. Quick business trip here for a couple of days, and I already want to come home to our English summer. Scared I will miss something! Thanks for the tour, lovely photos as always!

    • Thanks Maria, it really is the most wonderfully restful place, it always fills me with a sense of peace and that cannot be a bad thing in this world! Have a lovely weekend, Susan x

  • Hi Susan, your gardens are producing well to spite the lack of rain…here very close to the Florida Everglades we are having too much rain and daily storms and the gardens somehow seem to dwindle away. I see something on your instagram it looks like a peach? I love cooking with everything that we harvest especially Eggplant, I cook that Italian style such as my gram Eggplant parmesan. Tomato’s are made into a spicy pasta sauce. Here mangoes are plenty right now and in early fall we harvest oranges, lemons, limes etc. Your pictures captured everything magnificently thanks for the lovely morning tour. Lisa@ Sweet Tea N’ Salty Air

    • Thanks so much Lisa, I remember summer storms and rain in Florida only too well and the humidity! Our eggplants, or aubergines as we call them, are now ripe, I love to thinly slice them, cover them with olive oil and gently grill them on the BBQ. I envy you your mangoes and oranges, enjoy! The Instagram photo was indeed a flat peach, they are very popular here and the sweetest I have ever tasted. Have a wonderful weekend, Susan x

    • Hi Ali, rain envy! I don’t think I will ever suffer from that!! Although just for one day it was nice, 8 hours of steady rain, not too hard, just enough to sink in and do a little bit of good and see us through August I hope. Everything is just a little fresher this morning, I swear the grass is a little greener!! Now it’s hot and sunny again but it has done the power of good. Susan x

  • Hello Susan, those early mornings before the rest of the house stirs, rare as they may be, are a particularly soulful time, with stillness and time being in perfect balance. Our summer was so very dry too, and when the howling wind added itself to our very hot sun, I could have cried for our plants. But that is when I really love rain. I love summer rain, because the sun quickly bounces back and everything is fresh, smelling heavenly. Your garden looks like a wonderful place to be! We had a hen like your black and white one in the photo, I called her Miss Speckle, her tail slanted slightly as though it was a sail catching the wind. But something caught Miss Speckle in broad daylight and dragged her into a neighbouring vineyard….all we found were her feathers. Country Life! Have a fabulous Friday ❤ Jeanne

    • Hi Jeanne, that’s exactly what I love about summer rain, the smell and that fresh feeling we have this morning, everything looks just that little bit happier, less parched and everything smells refreshed and regenerated. So sorry for Miss Speckle, country life indeed, it can be very cruel. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Susan x

  • Since our 1 cat is positive that she will never eat again, I am up before sunrise. Her face pressed against my nose. I really don’t mind, it is the best time of day. Wonderful photos as well, do love that bee who can barely fly being covered in pollen.

    • Ahh I know that feeling, Bentley sleeps at the foot of our bed and he really is not happy for anyone to have a lie in! He wants his breakfast sharpish, he’s always on a diet, so he’s always hungry!!! The bee with the pollen was luck! But it also fascinated me, it’s amazing what we can see with the camera. Hope you are having a lovely weekend. Susan x

  • Wasn’t the rain bliss and it came the day after our two large containers were discharged into our barn!! I am getting so many ideas for our garden from you – I have a small field and an “orchard” to transform. We also have to transform a summer holiday home into a year long abode. Winter seems very close but we are enjoying the summer and visiting family

    • Hi Gill, the rain was brilliant, I am sure everything is a tiny bit greener now, we so badly needed it. The latest salad things in the vegetable garden had really struggled despite nightly watering, but they have really bucked up now. Remind me where you are living again, I am sure I have asked before, I do apologise. If you had the same rain as us it must be in a similar area. In which case you have a few months to enjoy yet! Very often we still go to the beach (and swim) in October, you don’t really have to start worrying too much about winter until November! Enjoy every second of the summer. It sounds like you have a great project on your hands, would love to chat more. Susan x

    • Welcome to the blog, great to have you following and so glad you enjoyed wandering around the garden with me, I love spending as much time as I can in the garden and being able to share it is even better! Loved your blog too. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, always much appreciated. Susan X

  • Your garden is beautiful. I know you were happy that you finally received some needed rainfall. In our part of Florida, we didn’t receive any rain during July but have had 8 inches this month. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. 🙂

    • Hi Karen, thank you. so lovely to have you following along and thank you for taking the time to comment, always much appreciated. I quite agree, it seems to be all or nothing for you which is not helpful for a garden at all. It is terribly dry here, but it always is at this time of year so we are used to it and so are the plants! Susan x

  • We are more and more determined to purchase in France. Your blog is such an inspiration its really gives you a positive boost. Were you fluent before moving out to France or did you learn while in France. I loved the area we were in but felt my french was lacking so badly and wanted to communicate with the locals. In time it will come but for now i will enjoy the learning. Ellena xx

    • Hi Ellena, thank you. No I was not fluent when I moved here, my husband was, but he was the only one, we used to rely on him quite heavily! I spoke reasonably good French but I struggled when in a group of people and everyone started talking at once! Enjoy the learning, it is worth it I promise, I love being able to chatter to friends and neighbour’s, of course I still make mistakes, the most important thing is just to be able to laugh at oneself! Susan xx

      • I think learning and exploring are some of the best things in life. Learning a new language properly is so exciting, it just makes me want to try harder so i can enjoy making those friendships. I was recommended to download an app called Duolingo its a great app and children are doing a little bit of french everyday. Thank you for your encouragement Susan. Ellena xxx

      • I think that is very true, there is something really quite magical about being able to converse in two or several different languages. I love nothing better than to hear our children chatting away in French without even the merest hint of a foreign accent and then they will switch to English with a very British accent and then back to French again. It is so important to speak the language otherwise you can only enjoy a small percentage of the pleasure of living here, mistakes are totally acceptable so long as you make an effort! Xxx

  • What a gorgeous garden/animal round up … and if you happen to have another rainy day you don’t want please do sent it up to Normandy as our poor pigs would love some summer rain. We have to keep hosing them off and creating a mud wallow for them! #AllAboutFrance

    • Hi Rosie, I would if I could but we have had just that one day of rain since the end of June! We had rain forecast two nights ago but we got none. It is actually at quite a critical level now, it is always very dry here in the summer but this has been the driest for a long time, our lawn is now virtually non existent! Enjoy hosing the pigs, it sounds like great fun and I am sure they greatly appreciate it! Susan x

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