The Optimism of Spring in Our Garden

IMG_3237This is a time of year when we can literally feel spring coursing through our veins. It’s a season full of rebirth and new growth, a time of endless possibilities, and a time of innocent hope. Whilst our climate is generally mild here on the coast and the risk of a frost is pretty much gone now, March and April can be fickle months; we can be dining al fresco with windows and doors wide open one day, and the next be plunged into less favourable temperatures with chilly winds and in definite need of a coat. It’s also a time of year when you can bring spring inside too,  when branches of blossom can fill the house with colour and scent 


and daffodils can be perched, canary yellow, in a vase on the kitchen table.


For one reason or another the garden suffered slightly from a lack of attention last year. I felt as if we were always playing catch up and I never quite managed to achieve what I wanted to. This year, I plan to put that right. No, I don’t have more time on my hands, in truth I have less, way less, as the children do more and more outside of school. To some this might seem to be an even bigger problem but I’m not going to let it deter me. I’m eternally optimistic by habit and the key, I have decided (like so many things), is organisation. Getting a head start is the first thing, and if successful it will certainly make the main growing season a great deal less hectic. I read somewhere that getting on top of the weeds in early spring will make for a much easier summer and I am pinning my hopes on this by getting to work now!



We’ve been blessed with the most wonderful weather the last week or so and I have gardened in every second of spare time I can muster. It is fantastic to get my hands dirty again and to feel the earth staining my fingers.

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who – if I feel everything is in control –  then I can conquer anything; nothing is impossible. I am an eternally positive person and this has given rise to big plans for the garden this year, and while I know it’s utter madness to take on more things, an hour’s digging for me is far more fun than going to the gym. To be blunt, I have never been one to sit still.


First up on the agenda is the long herbaceous border. One of the things we love most about our garden is that it is surrounded by old stone walls; this border runs right down the middle of the garden, effectively cutting it in half. It is even fenced in two! On the south side is the chicken garden bordered by a long row of cob and hazel trees. These trees have grown to huge heights over the years and although we can still see signs of where they were once pruned it seems this seasonal haircut stopped long before we bought the house. They have also stopped producing nuts. This winter we took up the initiative bravely and cut them hard back, reducing their height by half. Of course, in some ways this was also a savage pruning in an attempt to reinvigorate the fruiting gene. All in all it was way more exciting than it sounds, and for the first time since we have lived here the herbaceous border is finally getting plenty of sun once again, just as it was planned to do when it was first planted decades ago. Over the years many of the perennials under the trees have had to adapt to the lack of light; they are nearly all sun-loving plants and yet they have been forced to tolerate dry shade.


Now that the light problems are solved, and we have a shed full of wonderful hazel posts and switches for the vegetable garden, I am gently digging in a good 5cm of organic fertiliser. There will be light and there will be sun and I am excited to see what a difference this is going to make.


Whilst working away, lost in my own little quiet and peaceful world, I realise it is in fact far from silent; if I listen carefully, nature has an entire orchestra surrounding me. Bees form a constant buzzing bass and birds form the chorus, their soprano and alto song in perfect tone and pitch. An occasional rooster crows in a neighbour’s garden, a green tree frog croaks and the distant rattle of a lawn mower can be heard.


All the time I am wondering, did I notice these things when I was a child? Perhaps not, and then I remember my grandfather’s gardener, he was always called Bonnyface, I never knew him by any other name! He seemed old to me back then but probably was not; how he always took the time to stop and talk to me and how he always wore a felt hat. Sadly we don’t have help in the garden and the weeds more often than not win our constant battle. But then, what a weed is to some is not to others, of course. The celandine for example; between February and April their bright yellow flowers cut a swathe across our lawn and in the beds, so many that they really should be an unwanted nuisance, but I rather love their welcome cheerful colour, and then Roddy says a heartfelt ‘thank you’ on behalf of his beloved insects who need every bit of help they can at this time of year from any splash of colour.

IMG_2976 2

And so, the kitchen floor has remained unwashed, the paperwork has been slightly pushed to one side and the laundry (whilst washed and hung out to flap on the line and then dried in the sunshine) has remained neatly folded in its basket by the foot of the stairs, not yet successful in its final journey upwards to each of the children’s bedrooms. You can imagine, there is a lot of laundry,  for 6 or 7 people all the time, and there’s a lot of cleaning, a lot of cooking, and a lot of just being Mama. Not to mention the driving and too-ing and fro-ing and the resultant support network. But this brings me back to the garden again, for when I hear the squeals from the swings, or see the girls sitting on the grass making daisy chains in the warm spring sunshine, chatting away without a care in the world, I know that it deserves special attention; it is a place that just keeps on giving, and it is a part of our lives that brings so much enjoyment to everyone in so many ways without anyone really realising it.


Then there’s the smell of freshly cut grass.  Yellow butterflies are already chasing each other high and low. The dogs lounge around soaking up the warmth, and of course each has their favourite spot.


The wisteria which I cut back just before we went away to the mountains has exploded into a mass of buds.


There’s a hint of green on many of the trees, and the ash is slowly uncurling its fingers, and the hard pruned cob and hazel are already coming back to life.


Yellow was the dominant colour a couple of weeks ago in the garden; daffodils, forsythia, primroses and the aforementioned celandine all brought a touch of sunshine to the green spaces, everywhere you turned.




Slowly though, the whites and pinks have added their delicate hues, starting with the plum blossom P6040338




and then moving on to the cherry, P6040407


the peach


and the camellia


And now we’re finally starting to see the blues and soft purples; hyacinths, grape hyacinths (muscari) and violets. Rosemary and vinka.







Soon we will have bluebells and iris, soon all the trees will be in full leaf, and soon we will be planting out vegetables. I’ve got to the end and as always I’m searching for a title for this piece, but everyone is at school so there is no assistance there. I rest my chin on my hand and stare out of the kitchen windows;  there’s a bee hard at work, a tiny spider weaving an intricate web glistening in the morning sun, insects flying around and endless birdsong. Someone away in the distance is using a chainsaw somewhere in the village and the rasp of it gently filters through the open front door. I still don’t have a title but I wish I could find a way to bottle up and give away these tiny simple pleasures.


157 thoughts on “The Optimism of Spring in Our Garden

    1. Thanks so much Tanya, my husband actually bought the house without me being here and he said as soon as he drove in through the gates and saw the garden he was enchanted, he just knew this was the home for us! We’re right in the middle of a village and yet we have the most fabulous garden, I love it so much, we all do! xx

        1. Brilliant, that sums it up exactly, thank you. I am always thankful for everything when I am in the garden and it is so serene, no matter what my mood, I always feel so much better after even just a five minute walk in the garden. xx

  1. The most wonderful stroll around your garden to start my day full of hope with a smile on my face. Thank you

    1. Thank you Peggy and I hope your day has gone well and continues to do so. I always find a stroll around the garden the most relaxing perfect thing, no matter what my mood, I always feel so much better afterwards! xx

  2. What a gorgeous variety of blooms you have in the spring! I loved seeing every one and hearing, through your descriptions, the sounds of spring in your area. All is a definite contrast to our wintery weather here in Washington, DC. Your photos are so beautiful!! Enjoy every moment of your fingers in the soil. I, too, love weeding and tidying in the garden. It is my particular happy place.

    1. It is my happy place too Anne, here and walking along the beach! I can work for hours, not realising quite where the times goes, there is just something so fabulous about it and it always rewards me for my hard work. Hope your weather warms up soon, I heard that the East coast had a huge dump of snow, we have very good friends in CT. xx

  3. Spring is such a wonderful time of the year and full of promise for gardeners. We have the same goals. My garden was neglected last year as I had to be away. I have worked up to 6 hours a day on it, to get it back to where it should be. And I don’t go to the gym either. I like to work and spend my energy on a tangible outcome. Housework is for rainy days!

    1. We are definitely on the same wavelength! I have never been to a gym in my life and don’t intend to start now, if I exercise it has to be in the open air and gardening certainly works all of the muscles! It sounds as if you have been working like a demon getting the garden back on track, but it will reward you, that is what is so great about gardens. My favourite time of day in the summer is in the evening, taking a glass of wine and have a stroll around the garden, Roddy and I go together, looking at what plant is appearing here and what is flowering there. xx

    1. Thank you so much Angela, I really wish I could transport everyone here, to sit and have coffee, or lunch or even just an evening aperitif in the garden, it would be such fun to have one giant party for every reader! xx

  4. You certainly have better weather than we have in northern UK and your garden is streets ahead of ours! Please send some of those blue skies over here!

    1. I thought the UK was having reasonable weather at the moment, turning colder tomorrow. A little cooler here too for the weekend, but still plenty of sunshine around, fingers crossed! Having said that, last year April was really chilly and miserable, so who knows what is in store! xx

  5. Your yard looks so pretty!
    Two weeks ago, on a Saturday, I awoke to thick tufts of snow falling. It came down hard between 7 and 8 a.m., and by 8:30, it had all melted as if it had never happened. It’s certainly warm now. In the blink of an eye, the leaves on the trees have opened up all over. As I type, someone is mowing and I hope the smell wafts in through the open windows.

    1. Thank so much, you had the snow when we were in the Pyrenees, skiing. We woke up to it on the Saturday morning too, well over a foot of it! It seems as if everything has blossomed within the past two weeks here, suddenly we’ve had these much warmer temperatures. Hope we don’t have a cold April now! I am quite ready for spring!! xx

    1. I heard about the really cold snap in the Eastern US, we have good friends in CT who sent me photos of their snow! The weather is certainly all over the place, hope it warms up for you soon and that your plants all survive ok. xx

  6. I have been thinking about you and hoping that a post like this would emerge after the incredible spring weather you have experienced, and dare I say…so have we this past week- although cold is about to return…can’t complain. You and I are so alike. As another eternal optimist, I can see something good in just about every situation….and hate to sit and do nothing…if I do it’s usually a case of picking up a book or paper and then falling into a 15 minute cat nap which I like to do after lunch….no longer than that – just 15 mins. 🙂 Wonderful photographs as ever and for me the highlights are seeing the dogs enjoying the warm spring sunshine…there is nothing quite like it. Janet 🙂 xxx

    1. It is going to get cooler here tomorrow, today was 23C, tomorrow down to about 16 I think and then around 15 for the weekend. Hopefully it will stay relatively pleasant for the most part now and I just hope we don’t get a cold April, last year it was unseasonably chilly and most unusually miserable! It’s great to meet another eternal optimist, I too can see something good in just about any situation, life has it’s ups and downs but I think being positive certainly makes it a lot easier! I love watching the dogs just lie in the sun and then slowly they move to the shade when it all gets too much!! Enjoy your weekend, hopefully it won’t be too chilly! xx

  7. You did manage to bottle it up, and it was exactly the dose of spring and warmth and optimism I needed today.Thank you for that.

  8. Thank you for a dose of spring!! Your spring seems even stronger than ours! What a glorious symphony of color!!

    1. Thanks Nancy, we have had two weeks of absolutely gorgeous weather with temperatures for the most part hovering between 70 and 75F. The odd rainy day, but really it has been lovely and such a welcome after winter, everything has exploded into life in the past two weeks. Hope you have a lovely end to the week and weekend xx

  9. Fabulous pictures, and such a nice contemplative story today. Our flowers had begun blooming too soon, and a hard freeze with snow in the past week will likely kill off some of our mountain color for spring. Your place is lovely. I would love to have a wisteria at my place. Thank you for sharing the wonderful flowers.

    1. Oh no, I heard that the east coast had a really cold blast with lots of snow. It is always so sad when it hits tender young plants, hope not too much harm is done and that it warms up soon. I love the wisteria, when we first moved here it made me quite nervous every time I pruned it, but now I have a little more confidence! Are you able to grow wisteria where you are, I would think you probably can, it tolerates both heat and cold relatively well. xx

  10. Such a wonderful tour of your extensive French garden! We have had the same kind of weather here in California, one day it’s almost summer, the next, downright chilly. Our poor plants don’t really know what to do! There is much work in our gardens to do before our annual Easter Egg Brunch, plenty of pruning, and replacing some plants that have just grown too large with their smaller, new brothers and sisters. Our roses are in bloom, the rest is still just beginning. It’s a gorgeous time of year, isn’t it?Happy Spring!

    1. Wow, you are ahead of us, our roses are still just forming leaves with the occasional buds, but certainly no blooms yet. We’ve had two weeks of lovely weather now, the odd wet rainy day, but mostly between 70 and 75F, but it is meant to cool down quite a lot this weekend! Your Easter Brunch sounds as if it going to be absolutely fantastic, I’m getting lots of ideas from your blog as we just love having an easter egg hunt here too. I’ve never thought of combining it with a brunch, thanks for the idea! xx

  11. Thank you for the walk in your garden. Really fabulous photos and I think I could breathe in the fragrance of all the early blooms thanks to your beautiful writing. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

    1. Thanks Cathleen, I really wish you could breath in the scent, the hyacinths are absolutely gorgeous and running my hand through the rosemary leaves a wonderful lingering smell, but best of all has to be the smell of freshly cut grass, all around the village people are mowing and the scent is incredible, it just smells like spring! xx

  12. This is a wonderful post, to linger over and enjoy. Oddly though, the photo that caught my eye straight away was that of the young green shoots of the iris pushing through. I’ve never seen such astonishing displays of iris, in such a profusion of colours, as we saw in the Ariège. It looks as though you may have this richesse in your little corner of France too.

    1. Thanks Margaret, we do have amazing iris here, and I see them all around the area, they seem to thrive in the local soil, every colour and every variety. We have lots and lots but they had all been forced into a shady situation thanks to the towering heights of the cob and hazel and as I know they really do much better in full sun I am really hoping we are going to get a fantastic display this year, they’ve always been good but just not brilliant! Hope you are having some reasonably good weather too xx

  13. I can almost smell the green buds popping out of the earth! My favorites are the newly blooming trees. Ah, Spring! Enjoy!

    1. I cannot wait for all the trees to be in full leaf, as we drive down the road there is a hint of green appearing everywhere, but the prevalent colours is still brown from dormant trees, another couple of weeks and it should all have changed! I gather you are having quite a cold snap in FL, I think you were colder than us today!! We were 75F, it was gorgeous! xx

  14. What I want to know is where you get your energy, now if you could bottle up that recipe you could make a fortune. How do you cope with a house, work, a garden and five children and this incredible blog too? I think we should all christen you wonder women! But seriously do you never get tired? How do you do it all? I struggled to manage with two children and even then I had to say no to extra curricular activities.

    1. I don’t know Jane! I think energy breeds energy, they say that when people exercise they feel more invigorated and work better afterwards and I guess it is the same with my daily life, the more I do, the more I want to do! But thank you so much and I hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  15. Bentley and Evie pictures bought smiles to both DJ’s and my faces. The yard looks gorgeous and I can see the efforts of your hard work will definitely pay off. Anxiously awaiting the summer garden photos. Give the girls hugs for me and Jack as well. Miss you lots. And yes, enjoying this with my coffee while college touring. A very nice break to refresh my mind for today’s tour. xxoo

    1. Thanks so much Debra, you know how much work the garden is here! I can’t even mention the vegetable garden at the moment, it’s a disaster, but I’ll work on that next week!!! Everyone says a huge hello. Hope you are having lots of fun touring colleges, saw you went to SCAD, we were very keen on it. Can’t wait to hear where you choose and your plans. Big hugs xxx

  16. What a wonderful gift your post was this morning. The promise of spring. Yes we are almost there also.

    Ali xx

    1. Thanks so much Ali, has your snow gone now? What a strange year you have had. It was 75F here today and so lovely, everything has burst into life in the past couple of weeks, now I am so ready for spring, we’ve eaten lunch outside almost every day and now we’ve started I don’t want it to stop, hope we don’t get a cold April like last year! xx

  17. I’ve been absent for a while whilst we were on vacation in he south. What a delight this was to return to, feeling a definite dose of winter blues here, wondering if the weather will ever warm up and this was just the tonic I needed. Fantastic photos accompanied by beautiful writing. Merci beaucoup!

    1. Thanks so much Shari, I hope you had a lovely holiday and have returned feeling totally refreshed and looking forward to the warmer weather. Spring is such a wonderful time of year. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx


    1. Precisely, it never ends and as soon as it’s all put away, they get it all out wear it and back it goes in the laundry, an endless cycle so it really comes to no harm staying in the basket for a couple of days! 75F here today, loving every single second of it. Big hugs xxx

  19. what’s housework? lol…spring is for being outside…i loved this post and felt like i was right there …as always you write delightfully and the photos are breathtaking…here in cape may, nj we’re still under a deep freeze after a mild february…daffodils and hyacinths have been bloomed for a while…i love gardening as exercise…nothing like getting my hands dirty and connecting with mother earth…thanks so much for sharing your wonderful world

    1. Thanks so much Mary, I heard about the really cold snap in the east from a friend who lives in CT, she had lots and lots of snow and sent me photos. It’s always really tough on tender spring plants when a cold snap comes and knocks them back, hope yours come to no harm and I hope you get some warm spring weather soon. There really is nothing like working outside with nature, it is my favourite place to be, that and walking along a beach! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thanks so much, I just love spring too, sadly we don’t have any hellebores here, something I need to rectify for next year. We’ve eaten lunch outside for nearly two weeks now, I just hope we don’t get a chilly April like last year. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thanks so much, it was the thing that sold us the house in the first place, my husband viewed the house without me and the moment he drove in through the gates he knew this would be our home! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  20. Gorgeous spring blooms, Susan. I do envy you having proper seasons, and sometimes I think I’d prefer to live somewhere that shows when spring is just around the corner. I am quite grateful for the really constantly clement weather here in Florida, so I suppose I can’t have it all ways. I’ll have to content myself with reading your blog posts and admiring your efforts in the garden. I still think that you must have far more hours in your day than I have in mine. 😆 xx

    1. Ha ha, I wish I had more hours, I have to admit I do work far too long into the nighttime hours and every time I read about the importance of sleep I feel guilty! I do love seasons and I think when we were away from France it was the one thing we all really missed. I think we were warmer than you today as I know parts of FL had a chilly morning, we were 75F, it felt fabulous! xx

      1. You sound like my mom when I was growing up. She worked into the night, sewing clothes for my sister and I. She also bottled and pickled all sorts of jams and garden produce. Thinking back now, I realize how truly blessed I was to have such a dedicated mom. She had so little but gave so much. xx

        1. She sounds amazing, but this also made me laugh, I’m not great at sewing but I have to stop reading comments as I have to mend a small hole in Gigi’s jeans, she’s only had them a couple of weeks and fell over in the playground. She wants to wear them tomorrow, or course she has plenty of others but she wants these ones, so it looks as if I have to get mending!!! Wish me luck, this is not my strong point at all! xx

          1. With one of those wooden mushroom looking things? I remember my Mum having one of those in her sewing basket. The children laugh when I tell them that my Mum used to darn my Father’s socks, they cannot understand why anyone would repair a sock! How times change!!

  21. Just delighted to see a new post on your blog today. Full of such wonderful eye candy. I live in Missouri (USA) and the weather here has been so odd. We were in the high 70’s for days weeks ago and now suffer with temps in the teens. Naturally everything sprouted out and lots have been destroyed by the cold. Seeing your gorgeous pictures of blooming plants was just what I needed. Your photography is superb. Hope a normal, lasting spring gets here soon.

    1. Thanks so much Debbie, it’s always awful when everything blooms early and then a cold snap knocks it all back and you have had it really cold, hope everything survives, that is quite a contrast from the 70’s to well below freezing. Our climate is far more temperate without the huge variations, today we reached a wonderful 75F and loved every minute of it, but for the weekend I think we will be at a more seasonally normal 65F. Hope you have a lovely weekend and hoping spring settles into a normal routine for you. xx

    1. Thanks so much, I think you get far more extremes of weather than we do, ours is normally a very temperate climate which is good for gardening. Our summers can be hot but the plants seem to cope. So enjoying the onset of spring here, it was 75F today and we loved every minute of it! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  22. I’d choose gardening as my favorite form of exercise any day…..and often do. We got an unexpected 20 inches of snow this week, but the birds are singing and Spring continues her imminent, unwavering, unstoppable march under all of it.

    1. It’s certainly one of my favourite forms of exercise, along with walking on the beach and walking the dogs through the nearby fields and woods, basically anything to do with nature! I heard about the big dump of snow on the east coast, hope spring settles back down again for you soon and that you have a lovely weekend xx

  23. As I always said in my herbal lectures, “an herb is a weed with a purpose”. Spring is my most favorite season.

    1. Those sound like very wise words, the celandine I know was used a lot in medicine centuries ago. Herbal lectures sound extremely interesting, I would love to know more, that’s what I love about the garden and plants, there is always something new to learn. Loving spring too, today was 75F, jut beautiful! Have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thanks so much, we’ve had two weeks now of beautiful spring weather, the odd day of rain thrown in, but on the whole just gorgeous. It is such a wonderful time of year and it feels so good to be outside again. xx

        1. -15C, that is really cold. We are meant to get cooler again this weekend, but more like +15C! Hope you get some nice weather soon, when does spring really start in Finland? I am guessing more like mid April? xx

    1. Yes! We have so much life in the garden suddenly. Two weeks ago it was just daffodils and primroses and suddenly we now have so so much more, every time I walk around I see new things emerging, it is such a fabulous time of year, it makes me smile and it makes me feel happy just to be outside. Have a really lovely weekend xx

  24. Bustling bee Susan. You can be proud of all that hard work you have done and it was worth it. What an inviting
    spring garden. Personally I have not a “golden finger” for gardening but I add also some new flowers into my terrace
    planter box and can’t get enough to gaze at them whenever I look outside. Also my red oleander is in bloom and I
    only wait for the mild evenings were we can seat outside.

    1. You are way ahead of us with oleander in bloom, ours are a long way off yet but today it was 23C and it felt so wonderful to be really warm once again. We’ve had lunch outside for a couple of weeks now, but the evenings are still chilly and we still are lighting a fire. I am sure your terrace is gorgeous, I can assure you there are times when I think I would love to have a small terrace, I think they can be so stunning. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

      1. It starting to get really cold since yesterday (as always End of March, what I can’t grasp…it is the coldest month of the year) and I’m worried about my Oleander which has very young blooms. Only once we could have lunch
        outside and it was a kind of anticipation ton summer. Before I had always houses with a garden and getting older we thought it would be easier to live in an apartment with a terrace….lesser work….think again. As our terrace is quite huge (about 80 m2) we came from smoke to smother. But I try to do my best to give this place a flamboyant

        1. I am sure the oleander will be fine, I think so long as you don’t get any actual frosts it should cope. It sounds as if it has been colder with you than here, although we dropped almost 10 degrees today, still sunny but much cooler. The more little bits you tell me about your terrace the more delightful it sounds. I am sure it is a lot of work but I also know that terraces can look so dramatic and fabulous and your’s really is huge. Hope you have a lovely weekend and that the warmer weather returns soon. Xx

  25. Mmmmmm. Such lovely flowers and colors, thank you. Love the pictures of the dog snoozing in the sun.
    And what is this “housework” of which you speak? Strange foreign words you’re using.

    1. Ha ha, it’s a word I try to use as little as possible, especially at this time of year, today was 75F, far far too nice to be stuck indoors. The dogs seem to have just the right attitude, they start off in full sun right outside the door and slowly move towards the shade as it gets too hot. Hope all is well with you and that you have a lovely weekend xx

  26. While waiting and waiting to see whether our daffodils, narcissus, and day lilies will survive the days and nights of well-below freezing temperatures (and snow) and eventually bloom, I will wallow in the beauty of your garden and flowers. Gives me something to look forward to, although when I get to California next week, I’ll suddenly be thrust into a completely different climate and season. 🙂


    1. It’s really hard for plants when they come to life and then get plunged into the depths of a cold snap, I am sure the daffodils will survive, they seem to cope with so much. Hopefully you will get into some real spring weather soon although California sounds like a lot of fun, have a great time xx

      1. Thanks. It will be great, I’m sure. She and I always have fun together and we’re planning a short trip to Yosemite National Park. I haven’t been there since I was a child and never at this time of year.

  27. What a fabulous post! I loved looking at the photos. We are returning to our French house, in a week, and I am looking forward to seeing what signs of spring will be evident in our garden. Of course, we are in Occitanie and I’m not familiar – yet – with which flowers will bloom here in Spring but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out!

    1. It sounds as if you are going to have a lot of fun, I think you will possibly be a week or so ahead of us. Are you moving to France permanently now? New adventures are always so much fun, looking forward to reading all about it. xx

      1. No, we’re not moving permanently to France, at the moment. On the other hand, it’s not a holiday home; it’s very much a second home. It’s very important to us to be part of the French community and we have fortunately found lots of ways to join in. I guess it helps that we both speak French!

        1. I agree it is terribly important to be a part of the community and to join in and speaking French is really important, even if not well. I always say to everyone coming here, learn as much of the language as you can, otherwise it is impossible to lead a full life. xx

  28. Every minute spent in the garden working with plants is a minute well spent. Leave the housework love, and the kids look just fine, the garden is the best place to be!

    1. The garden is a fabulous place to be, certainly one of my favourites, here and also walking along a beach, that’s another favourite space. I do enjoy every minute in the garden, love planning and digging and watching. Have a lovely weekend xx

  29. Leave all those indoor chores till later. The garden needs you now as it gently wakes from its winter slumber. Spring is the most demanding time in the garden. You are doing a great job. Thanks for this refreshing morning post Susan.

    1. My thoughts precisely, the garden really does need all the attention right now and we also have to make the most of it. Unfortunately we are also completely redoing the hallway and so the house is in a slight upside down upheaval! Hope you have a lovely weekend, I know some parts of Australia have finally had lots of rain, did you get any? xx

        1. I guess anything is better than nothing. The weather sounds gorgeous, I love autumn too, the slightly cooler mornings and yet still beautiful days, but right now I am just loving early spring and today it was so warm, 23C, a real treat! xx

          1. My thoughts precisely, it is all being slowly sorted and redone! Actually the fog just rolled in, so maybe more will be achieved indoors today than I imagined!!

  30. I am a lazy gardener so I’ve always been out in February or early March hoeing down the weeds. If I get them early before they set seeds, I can chop and let them drop and rot in place adding organic matter back to the soil. I come back again in one month to catch any weeds that sneaked in. And do a general clean up of the yard, pulling out anything that didn’t make it thru the winter thus giving me space to plant something new. And then, i’m pretty much done for the year as opposed to the people who wait til May / June to start weeding and weeding and weeding all summer long.
    Yes, going out early really works. It might take a year or two of early weeding (I’ve gone hoeing while the ground is still frozen some years!) but the tide turns in your favor. I’m lazing around reading a good book in the sunshine while everyone else weeds….

    1. Ooooh, thanks for this Patricia, this has given me great hope, so I really am going to keep attacking the weeds now, I am all for working hard now and enjoying the summer even more, last year the weeds got so bad by July/August that I pretty much gave up with them so I am praying that my due diligence now will pay off. Sounds as if you have worked it all out rather well! Have a lovely weekend xx

    2. Patricia, you have both my admiration for your zeal in weeding and my envy…. I haven’t started on the weeds yet and I dispair of seeing (soon) no longer a grassy ‘field’ but miriads of weeds (thistle, the a.m. golden celandine, many w/o name & dandelion, plus all those clutching, fast growing and invasive climbers which often also invade the grass)…. I am just back from the garden, due to a ‘disagreement’ between the sun and my skin I am forced to be working in the garden either quite late (when I can’t see a thing) or very early (when I can’t see a thing because I’m still half-asleep 🙂 – not a win-win situation! Shall take heed of your advice and be a bit more Pat and a bit less Kiki – Thank You for your words – I’m totally with you at least on the ‘Reading a good book’ (in the shade) 😉 😉 😉

  31. Your writing is so evocative I feel as though I am there with you smelling and hearing and of course seeing your spring garden which your beautiful photos and words bring to life. Here we are heading towards autumn as the days get shorter, and there’s that invigorating early morning crispness to the air. We are still suffering from a severe drought, so the garden is looking very sad and so many plants have died, including my lemon tree which after 7 years of nurturing finally produced one tiny lemon before it too succumbed.
    Enjoy your gardening- housework can wait!!

    1. Thanks so much Ingrid, I love those crisp autumn mornings, they always feel so welcome after a long hot summer, although at the moment we are relishing in a little warmth, today was 23C and it was lovely to just be in a t shirt and to eat outside. I hope you get some rain soon, it is always so sad seeing plants wilt and die from lack of water, we lost a few last summer as it was so hot and dry. I cannot believe you lost your lemon tree after all your hard work and just as it had rewarded you with a fruit. Ours suffered from the hard frosts we had this winter and I have been removing damaged leaves today but I am hoping they will be fine. Our single lime however did not do so well, it’s still alive but not at all happy. Praying for some rain for you. xx

    1. Thank you so much, it is such a wonderful time of year and it is so lovely to be outside and to actually feel warm and to open up the house, the doors and the windows. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  32. The garden looks absolutely stunning. Looking forward to seeing it first hand again in a little under 6 months time x

    1. Thanks Neil, lots and lots of work to do, hopefully it will be looking good in six months time and there will be lots of vegetables and grapes and figs! However, at the moment the vegetable garden is a disaster, need to get to work on that next week, looks too awful to show at the moment!!! big hugs to you both, cannot believe it is only six months away now, how time flies! xx

  33. It sounds as though you are off to a great start. And you’re right–getting the weeds early as well as weeding and putting things to bed in the fall makes the growing season much more enjoyable. I love all your beautiful blossoms.

    1. I am so glad that I read this piece of advice and that you and others have confirmed that it works, I shall be working hard on those weeds now, of course it makes perfect sense, before they get a chance to set seed and spread like, well, like weeds! I just never really thought of it before! xx

  34. I know that our autumn in this area of Australia is usually the most stable and beautiful part of the year, but remembering my European roots I still get joyous goosebumps when I see a spring garden like yours! Buds and blossoms at all levels! And 23C is so comfortable a temperature: we had the same today 🙂 ! Don’t think anyone in your house would mind laundry in baskets and messy hallways, would even notice such!! Rain: unlike Francesca some 700Km south we have had heaps and heaps every day, much of it Camelot-like in the nighttime hours . . . well, perchance some of the shrubs and other plants I seemingly lost during our 40C+ summer, will begin peeking out of the ground again . . . . all the best and do enjoy having your hands in the soil . . .

    1. I enjoy autumn too, but I have to admit I do prefer spring, it just seems there is always so much hope and possibility, even today when the fog has just rolled in off the coast, it is still so green and lovely. I think everyone in our house is used to the laundry basket at the foot of the stairs, you’re right, they don’t give it a second thought, it’s really of little importance in the grand scheme of things. So glad you are getting plenty of rain, I am sure everything will come back to life again soon, it is always something of a miracle to me how things that seem quite dead can re-emerge, a little battered but with a little nurturing they are as good as new. Have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thanks so much, it is such a lovely time of year and after winter, which I have really enjoyed, it is still fabulous to be outside so much again. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  35. Well Susan, guess why I haven’t commented yet???? Yep, the garden…. 🙂 What a timely shared ‘life’ we lead!
    Also here, in the Paris region, we are much further ahead of my home country Switzerland’s spring arrival and my garden is absolutely beautiful right now. My heart nearly bursts when I see the colours, blooms, buds and …. weeds…. ehem, a little less bursting with joy but frustration. I do widely agree with you about ‘A weed is a flower with another name’ BUT your so praised celandine really doesn’t have my favour. It is growing so fast and thick that it prevents my planted stuff to pierce through the heavy growth. I couldn’t believe it when I had to realise that TULIPS & DAFFS, not exactly timid bloomers, got stuck under the carpet of celandines. asked two gardeners what to do and they said the only way to really get rid of them is to take the whole topsoil off and replace it. I can’t do that….. and I’m only so glad that your husband is happy to have them for the insects 🙂 Makes me a bit more lenient towards them – I used to love those flowers, so cheerful and happy in their yellow golden abundance.

    Still, your garden IS much more advanced all the same – although here I have carpets of many, many multicoloured primroses, hundreds of daffs and narcissus, tiny wild violets and budding hyacinths (?) (have a brain blockage, in German it’s Hyazinthen) which I HAD to plant as far away as possible because they give me violent headaches, I have beautiful hellebores and an exuberantly blooming old/quite rotten apricot tree, the various camellias are opening up in great numbers and the glorious magnolia has popped open its flowers between 2 days ago and now. Wide place is taken by the blues of grape hyacinths called muscaris, another plant I adore but have to enjoy outside or on the window sills for their pungeant smell….. Aaaah, the innate and unexplicable joy of springtime – once more – thank you dear God….
    And you already have so much more blooming to show…. People must hate us when in so many places, winter is still (or again) firmly established! When I send photos to my family, I always make sure to apologise gently for showing off my beauties, knowing that they wait just as eagerly for spring as we all do. Have been eating in our veranda since Monday, only lunch mind you but what a gr8 feeling: Sunglasses on, T-shirt, hat and 2 open parasols – but it also means for me to pay attention, many pollen-laden shrubs and trees render my life rather difficult already. My son, the landscape gardener (who lives in Switzerland and is not much help here for my poor garden) tells me always to have a wild flower prairie, an unobtainable thing of wishes non-fulfilled as it would force me to live inside, also one of the neighbours already had the first lawnmower-outing and it chased me right back inside. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way – now give me a lake, stream, sea and I won’t ever ask for anything else on top of it!!!! Aren’t we so blessed?!
    (Sorry, sorry, sorry – for taking up so much space; I’m a writer of some sort too…. – am just compensating for not being able to do much with my photography!)

    1. Aren’t we so blessed. That’s exactly what I thought and why I wish I could just bottle this all up and give it away. You’re a girl after my own heart, I definitely need the sea or water at the very least as well, I need my weekly walk along the beach, I need to hear the waves and feel the salt on my lips, got my dose of it this evening thank goodness! So much colour in the garden, so much is looking so lovely and yes the celandine are behaving here, they are mostly only in the lawn which is fine, they will die back by April. Talking of lawns, we are about to mow tomorrow for the second time, there’s no going back now the grass is growing as fast as the weeds and it’s thick and lush. Half of our daffodils are already over now, the ones which bloomed first, but I know we are moving on to other things, most of all now I am looking forward to the bluebells which literally line the walls of the house and the wisteria, then it really looks fabulous. I am hoping to experiment with a wild flower section in the chicken garden, last year we were unsuccessful so I am going to try again! Hope you have a lovely weekend xxx

  36. Didn’t wish you all a lovely weekend yet…! Enjoy the great weather we are (still) having — it will change I heard… must hang my gazillion pieces of delicate washing and hope it dries before it starts raining

    1. We actually had sun here today and no rain forecast until Sunday when there are showers in the offing. But it was very much cooler, down to around 15C which seemed quite low after yesterday’s 23C. Still can’t complain it has been so gorgeous. It’s great to have all the laundry non stop flapping on the line. Enjoy your weekend xxx

  37. I am soooo envious! What a delightful introduction to the season I most look forward to! I enjoyed the look at your lovely garden, and it will help me hang on till we have the awakening here in the middle of the North American continent!

    1. Thanks so much, I too so look forward to Spring. I enjoy winter, I have learnt to make the most of it, but I cannot tell you how much I still long for spring and the warmer weather, all the time!! Fingers crossed that your spring arrives soon. Have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thanks Amanda, shorts yesterday for sure, it was 23C here and so gorgeous. Quite a bit cooler today but still plenty of sunshine. Everyone is working in their gardens, the farmers have turned their cattle out and they are muck spreading in all the fields, delightful smells as one drives past!!! Have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thank you. March can be a fickle month here too. This weekend, although mild has been damp and grey, gone are the beautiful blue skies! Hope your weather becomes more permanently springlike soon. xx

  38. There is nothing so sweet a smell as deep dark soil on the hands. I am reminded by something I saw once that said, “weeds are perennials that you didn’t buy.” Your beautiful bearded iris bed reminds me I need to get outside and clean mine up. Happy first day of spring! 🌷

    1. So excited that it is officially spring, but today we had a really chilly wind and grey weather, not at all spring like! But the garden and nature is marching on undeterred, everywhere is starting to look green and we have already had to mow twice now! Happy first day of spring to you too, so exciting! xx

  39. What a gorgeous post … full of warmth and colour and delight. I’m very similar to you … if I feel I have control I can conquer the world and I don’t sit still. Never learned, never intend to! You channel these too traits quite magnificently and I am delighted to bask in your garden even though, at the moment, I don’t have one! May the sunshine continue and may the lengthening days give you the opportunity you need to keep up and even overtake the garden as it grows into it;s summer clothes xx

    1. I never intend to either, my motto is the opposite to most people’s “why walk when you can run!” However, Spring has sprung and the weather has taken a predictable nose dive, rain, grey skies and plummeting temperatures, makes me think of England, except Izzi phoned this morning to say the sun was shining and they had a fabulous day!!! The summer clothes need wellie boots, raincoats and umbrellas today! Xx

      1. We were in Marcolès (Cantal) for the weekend and it was glorious. Left yesterday lunchtime with the old ladies telling me they are in for a rather less pleasant week (but no snow). As it happens further East it turned glorious and sunny and here it is holding. I don’t dare look at the Météo for fear of bursting the bubble!! I’m sure the garden appreciates the wet but what a bore for you! Xx

        1. I was up in the Vienne all day Saturday and it was grey and cold! Sunday was decidedly better, huge black clouds all around and rain forecast and yet there seemed to be chinks of blue sky that somehow managed to shine on us most of the day! Don’t look at the meteo, I did last night and it’s not a great week here at all!!!

          1. Seems we got lucky – Vienne is not horribly far from here so we seem to have dodged that bullet. It won’t last … never does! Making metaphorical hay and all that xx

  40. Your life looks perfectly blissful in your little oasis and the flowers are gorgeous. Spring has always been my favorite season when you see gardens reawakening…just lovely.

    1. Thank you I do love Spring, every day it seems new things emerge, it is almost difficult to keep up with the speed at which things are growing, taking a walk around the village is fascinating just to see the changes from one week to the next. Xx

    1. Thanks so much, I love walking around the garden and working outside at this time of year, there is just so much happening all the time, the birds are permanently singing and everything is bursting into life. xx

  41. Oh my, Susan … the photos of your gardens are so beautiful. Spring is in full swing in your part of the world and it looks amazing! It’s easy to feel happy and optimistic on glorious spring days like you’ve been experiencing 🙂

    1. Spring is in full swing here indeed although the weather has taken a nosedive for the worst. Rain and so chilly again, we have dropped 10C! Still the plants are marching on with their growth, can’t wait until it gets slightly warmer again! xx

  42. Your garden looks a lovely place to be and the shots of the dog lolling around while you do all the work is amusing. It is good you take time to enjoy the beauty all around rather than stressing about the jobs to be done. Oasis indeed

    1. Thanks so much, there are times when I would love to be one of the dogs with nothing better to do than snooze in the sun and when it gets a little too warm they just move a few feet to the shade! Have a lovely weekend xx

    1. Thanks so much, lovely to have you following along and thank you for taking the time to comment. Have a great week ahead and hope to chat more with you here in the comments over the coming weeks, months and years! xx

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