An Oasis in a French Village

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Walking down the hot dusty street, time passes slowly and for most of the day not a soul can be seen. But at certain times the village comes to life; first thing in the morning when the children arrive at school, and again when they leave in the afternoon. That’s when the pavements bustle with life, and excited gaggles of small people skip back and forth haphazardly on pavements. There’s also a cluster of activity around the boulangerie just before midday when each household chooses a victim to pop in and collect baguettes for lunch. This little spurt of movement happens again around 7pm, as the afternoon sun fades away into the welcome cool of the evening. 

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Other than that the village is calm for most of the day – except for the cars that pass through, always too fast, everything in a race against time, late for lunch, late for work, late for love, always late for something and always at the same busy times, the start of the working day, the end of the working day and lunchtime! Speeding chicanes do nothing to slow the outside traffic down; if anything the obstacles just provide a game, a chance to swerve through them at pace, a challenge for talentless speedsters who continue through the village, far too fast.  If only the speed-cameras would come here instead of the main roads; they’d rack up hundreds – no thousands – of euros in a day and our village life would be that much better for it. And then we’d be just left with the tractors that make the hideous racket, their giant wheels clanking over the uneven old road surface, causing every bit of metal on their huge frames to rattle as loudly as it can, be it a chain or some other mechanical part of farm machinery, made for honest toil on soil, and not for defeating plastic chicanes on the tarmac. I can’t dislike the heavy machinery though, as a farmer’s daughter I know it travels the length and breadth of the parish to reach fields everywhere and without it the countryside would not be the same.

Step in through our gates, though, and one immediately enters another world, a garden that sold my husband the property the instant he arrived. He wasn’t bothered about the house, nor the fact that it needed endless work to bring it into the 21st Century; that was all cosmetic as far as he was concerned, things that could all be altered or fixed. But the trees, some nudging 500 years old, they could not be bought, and it was the green cathedral spaces that clinched the deal.

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And the moment I set foot inside the gates for the first time I was equally spellbound, a feeling that is still the same today, years later. The driveway comes into its own in the spring, when the scent of honeysuckle fills the air with perfume and the Russian sage tangles its way through the old, original, wrought iron gates, long since abandoned but still in situ. We have to be tough when cutting everything back in the winter or we would be in danger of losing the drive altogether.

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Our garden will never be perfect, it is too big for manicured perfection without a full-time gardener, so instead the best I can hope for is ‘enchanting’, with archways and secret places.

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The garden was planted eons ago, long before any of us were born; it has evolved quite naturally but in recent years before we came here it had fallen into decline. Slowly we have been reviving it, adding our own little touches here and there and breathing new life into this acre and a half of ‘green’ tucked in between its neighbours.

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I wanted to create a space where anyone who visits feels instantly calm, a garden where as one ventures deeper into it, away from the road, the more the stress of everyday life slowly slips away. I wanted this garden to take on an almost fairytale existence, a magical world where plants and insects and bees live in harmony.

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I believe it was originally quite formal, which is often the way with French gardens, but we have purposefully softened the edges, allowing plants to tumble over the cobbled path, and to tangle themselves over fences. We’ve really just tidied up the once severely clipped shapes which – by the time we bought the house – were totally overgrown. Now I think we’ve allowed them to be far more natural, and much more soothing to the eye.

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The long border – which I have talked about before –  I had almost given up on; it was a dry, shady space, hidden from the sun behind the over-grown hazel and cob hedge. It seemed a hopeless case, pretty in the spring when the hedge was still not fully leafed, but by summer lacking any form of colour, nothing thrived and everything growing there struggled. This was until we cut back the hedge last winter, ruthlessly and a little nervously reducing it by two thirds, levelling it to a height where the border has been completely transformed with the influx of new light. The day-lilies which hated the shade have emerged everywhere for the first time in years. Although their flowers fade so quickly, the plant can actually bloom for weeks, sometimes even months, because as one flower fades, the next one on the stalk, known as the scape, opens.

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This is a busy garden with many roles to fill. On any summer weekend the birdsong will always be in competition with shrieks and splashes from the pool and various garden games. And as in any family, it won’t all be tuneful peels of laughter; there are always some heated exchanges and a few cross words, when siblings get mad at one another as one bends the rules or doesn’t play in quite the same way as the other had in mind! But fortunately for us, and the other inhabitants of the garden, squabbles rarely last more than a few seconds!

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Somehow effervescent human-life and the tranquility of plant-life exist side by side, even if the grass takes a permanent beating, not just from the sun which shrivels it to brown before our eyes each summer, but from the constant criss-crossing of feet, pounding the earth as they run, hop and skip.

The flowers and plants are not immune either; they never quite know when they are in for a surprise direct hit from a football, or a frisbee, or a hula-hoop (there’s one currently stuck in the persimmon tree waiting for someone to find a way to get it down) or when a dog or cat is going to stretch out languorously in the sun across stems, leaves and blooms, leaving a decidedly notable dip in the green world when they leave.

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The chicken garden on the south-eastern side is perhaps the quietest and most peaceful place here, and we’ve purposefully left it a little untamed so the chickens can go back to their jungle-fowl roots when they desire and eat ticks and scratch up grubs. Beware the mouse or snake who finds itself out in the open here. Our feathered girls know no mercy when it comes to victuals.

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One side of the chicken’s world is bordered by the hazel hedge,which is separated from the long herbaceous border by the old original fencing which runs the entire length down the middle.

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Down here, deep in utopian greenery and colour, away from the pool noise and the thump of vehicles beyond our gate, I can lose myself completely. It’s a far from manicured space that I gaze out on from the kitchen window, but somehow it’s the sort of place where dreams are made.

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One of the disadvantages of having some natural nirvana in the garden is that I am always in danger of forgetting time if I venture out to pick some fruit or a lettuce for lunch. I admit to finding myself easily sidetracked; a new bud will grab my attention, then I’ll spy a rather large weed that I ought to remove, and then some plastic detritus from last night’s games will need picking up (for no matter how many times we repeat the mantra “you can play with whatever you want, but put things away afterwards” it always seems to fall on deaf ears). In addition there will always be some badminton rackets tossed aside with careless abandon, bows and arrows from a round of archery, and a stray flip flop found by Evie. One that has been guiltily carried across the lawn to a quiet corner by our canine thief, she’s long past the chewing stage but she still loves to hide things and we go through flip-flops at an alarming rate, if they are not rescued quickly they will be lost deep in a shrub. We have many half pairs, and they’re all quite useless!

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Over the years we’ve changed things. We’ve added water and the pond has become one of our favourite places to stop and stand and stare. It is teeming with aquatic life, frogs who like to sunbathe, newts, toads, water nymphs and fire slamanders, they all have made their homes here.

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In the small courtyard garden we added a tiny water basin, an old cast iron tub we found at a brocante.

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Hollyhocks soften the old stone walls,

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roses and Virginia creeper vie for vertical space beside the house, whilst valerian and mirabilis fill the lower half.

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The very first of the hibiscus have just come into bloom.

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The cherries are long since gone, almost a forgotten memory, but the plums are ripening fast and the figs are growing.

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I am feasting daily on red currants and black currants, they grow amongst the flowers in typically French fashion. I think Roddy has also been at the red currants while photographing insects, but I have yet to catch him in the act!

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However my favourite thing has to be the evening stroll around the garden, when the temperature is perfect, the light is softer, and the children are home from school, running around playing; their energy renews itself when the heat wanes, and even the dogs come out of their day-long slumber, it’s a time of day when everything feels……. just right!

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130 thoughts on “An Oasis in a French Village

    • I think Susan has mentioned it before, Arabella, but the lady who sold us the house was half-English as her mother (who bought the house with her French husband in 1936) was very much 100% English. So much of the garden’s layout and planting may well be influenced……. and therein lies a tale of courage, innovation and victory. Perhaps Susan will tell all in the book 🙂

    • It does have an English feel to it, I think that is the lack of formality and the long herbaceous border, perhaps it’s just my Englishness coming through without me even realising it! We have been eating red currants for a week or more now! Utterly delicious! xx

  • So delightful to read this lovely post this morning. Beautiful photos and descriptions of your French Oasis.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks so much Anne, it is such a special place and such a rare find in the middle of the village, it is a constant place of peace and enjoyment for all of us, weeds and all! xx

  • Such a beautiful garden, you have such a good eye for both the interior of your home & the outdoor space., I also dislike formal gardens, & much prefer softer edges & tangles of plants, it really is an oasis, no wonder you love it so much.x

    • Thanks so much Janet, it really is an oasis, I think it was the garden that caused the name of the blog! I like the soft gentle style of a cottage garden far more than the harsh lines of a clipped formal garden. xx

    • Thank you so very much, we absolutely love this garden, it has taken a while to get it just how we really want it and it will never be perfect but it is so relaxing and such a happy place xx

  • You could have been talking about my village in the south! Same busy times and French drivers with a love of speed that drives me insane on our lane which isn’t even two cars wide. We didn’t have much garden as we are built into a riverbank but since tending the grape and cherry we have seen Wonderful results. After 8 years renovating we are down to two rooms to go, can’t believe it! Thanks for your blog I really enjoy it and can always relate. 😄

    • Oh I am sure you can relate,I think any of us who have renovated properties here and come to love them can. We all go through much the same things. Where are you, Languedoc south or Provence south? We have things flowering this year that have never flowered before, it is so exciting, I cannot believe the difference in a few years. Your house sounds fabulous being built into a riverbank, is it a mill house? Roddy would be deathly envious, especially if you can fish from the garden! xx

      • Yes we can certainly fish from the front garden haha. Our house in the south is in the Aveyron, no mil houses just a very big, deep River at the front and forest on 3 sides. Gorgeous but a lot of work, it’s a once only project. We are beginning a new project near Paris but definitely not on the same scale 🙂

      • Oh what fun, I definitely cannot show my husband this!! I love the Aveyron, we once, as a family, when I was little, had a house there, a little village house and it was on a small river, I just remember the fabulous country and incredible walks. Enjoy your new project! I think once we get the renovation bug it’s hard to break! Xx

    • No I didn’t say, Roddy did!! The garden is looking so lovely this year, the best we have ever seen it, so hope we have warm weather whilst you are here and that it lasts! xx

    • They do indeed call us away and then once they have us they keep us away, away from all sorts of things that we should be doing because there is nothing better than being in the garden! I guess this is why they are so therapeutic and used in so many natural healing environments. xx

    • We are really lucky and the space is maximised and feels so much bigger because there are so many different areas, little secret places that we can lose ourselves in, it is very much a part of the magic xx

    • So pleased Alice, it is such a wonderful happy and relaxing garden, they say gardening is therapeutic and I can quite see why, it really does feel wonderful to be lost amongst the plants (with all of the missing flip flops!) xx

  • Everywhere is looking so lovely, green & lush, despite the heat we’ve all been enjoying. I’m looking forward to having a garden of our own again. We are able to rent our new house for the next six weeks before the completion at the end of July. So excited

    • The heat has been fabulous, so hot here, the lawn is almost brown already and I am watering like mad, thank goodness for the well. I loved your photos and meant to reply, but things took over, I am so excited for you, will email soon, I promise. xx

  • Un petit (or not so petit) coin de paradis … it really really is. I can imagine nothing more delightful than wandering in the evening listening to the chatter of children and teens, taking in the honeyed scents and hearing the gentle splosh of the pondlife. You have made such a HOME in this house and it is so evident that the garden has been a labour of love and that it has loved being laboured on. I just love it!

    • It is an ongoing labour of love, but because it is not too formal it is a little forgiving, it doesn’t mind the odd weed, they can be happily camouflaged amongst the ‘real’ foliage, that’s my type of gardening I’m afraid, pretty and casual and natural and if somewhere gives us all great pleasure then I am not going to change a thing! Except I always have new ideas, new plans and then I divulge them and everyone looks at me like I have gone mad, Roddy because he knows the work whatever scheme I have is going to involve and the children because they know it is another of my ideas!!xx

      • I can just imagine the collective intake of breath as you excitedly outline the new idea …. but you are a great team as well as a lovely family and you do make your schemes and plans work. Together. Which happens to be one of my favourite words xx

      • Ahh yes together, because I couldn’t do it on my own! Right now we are on my latest scheme, finding a mate for Evie, who is just about to come on heat, (Roddy rolls his eyes) no seriously,he is happy and as excited as we are! New vegetable garden, done, another thing ticked off, now it’s time for that summer kitchen!!! xx

      • My daughter once advertised, unbeknownst to me for a mate for The Bean. A very nice man called Alan rang me and withered on about someone called Sampson and how he was actually very small and entirely suited. I had NO idea what he was on about. Slowly, very slowly the truth dawned. He was most insistent but I actually had no intention of letting The Bean have babies. I tried to be furious with my daughter but it was so funny I failed miserably! Xx

      • Oh how funny, I would have just laughed too, just the sort of thing the children would do here! But for once, this has unanimous approval, even if some are more excited than others!!! Roddy just thinks of all the work, the children just think of cute puppies and me, a mix of both, a childish love of puppies and an adults synicism to all the cleaning up of poop!!! Now finding a mate in French has been hilarious, we bred from our Labrador years ago when Roddy and I first married, when we discuss the owner of the dog, and his actions during and helping with the mating, we still collapse in hysterics with tears running down our cheeks we laugh so much, he didn’t believe in leaving them to it, naturally!!! Xx

  • You have achieved nirvana! So enchanting! A book, you say? I suspected one would be done at some point. Hurray!

    • Ha ha, Roddy said, not me!! I really really hope you are going to come out and visit and enjoy the garden with us. Just imagine wandering on a summer’s evening, and no humidity, no rushing indoors to the A/C, and a cooling breeze whilst you eat outdoors, it is fabulous, I promise! xx

  • Your garden is so far ahead of ours here in the U.K., I too would have added a pond. Water is the best part of any garden and the life it brings with it, it’s only little micro world

    • The pond draws everyone always. As we pass we always stop, we see if we can see the fish, we put five in, they have grown but because it is deep, over a metre at one end, we don’t often see them. The frogs sunbathe and then leap in with a splash if we approach to fast. It is so full of life, we just love the pond! xx

  • I was transported to your French garden and what a lovely trip it was. When I need a happy moment I shall read this again and again, just beautiful

    • Thanks so much Trish, it is such a relaxing, peaceful place, whenever I am in the garden I feel totally at ease and it seems to do the same to everyone and anyone who enters, the wonderful world of plants! xx

    • Thanks so much, I know just what you mean, it’s hard to come inside and even harder to get back to work! The garden always calls and is always a welcome respite from just about anything. Now I am off to water the vegetables! It is so hot here it is a nightly task xx

    • Thank you Cynthia, they really do love it and better still they really appreciate it. We often discuss which is better town or country, coast or inland, and our village and our garden always wins!! xx

  • I live in Canada, but have such a fondness for France having visited once and am looking forward to a return trip next summer with my boys. I find your blog to be a lovely, calm respite from the day-to-day and am always so happy to see a new post in my inbox 🙂 Your garden seems an absolute delight!

    • Thanks so much Krista, where are you coming to next year with your boys? lucky things, I am guessing it will be their fist visit? Wherever you visit I am sure you will have a fantastic time, it is such a varied country with so many things to see and really something for everyone. xx

      • Yes, it will be their first trip! My husband and I traveled to Paris in 2012 for our 10th anniversary and are hoping to do a tour of the country this time with the boys who are 11 and 13. We all can’t wait!!

      • If you head over in this direction let me know, would very gladly help if you need any advice with planning your trip etc. Such a fantastic thing for your boys xx

  • Oh, what a treat of a tour, Susan – I love the photos you take of your garden. I can’t say anything else at all, except to say London is blooming too, save for the shadow of smoke on the horizon. I fear Grenfell Tower will become the memory of this summer. Terrible for all those poor souls, and I can guess that you and your family all feel the same way. We’ll all be in need of a small private place by the time they finish there, I think. Thank you for the break at such a horrible time.

  • Just stunning! As well as the beautiful garden, you have an eye for a great photograph, Susan. With a bit of luck I will get to see it in a month or two. (Leaving next week on my Big Trip!)

    • Oh how exciting, you will certainly get to see it, although already the grass is turning brown. So looking forward to meeting you. Travel safely, fly nicely and see you in August. xx

  • You have certainly achieved an enchanting garden and what could be better, wins hands down over formal for me.

    • Thank you so much Shari, I am afraid the cottage style garden always wins over the formal one for me too, I love the romanticism of this type of garden, all soft and natural and oh so pretty! xx

  • I love the hollyhocks, they always remind me of France, the only place I have ever seen them. Enjoy your fabulous garden and keep us updated, it really is so lovely just to read about it and see the photos, felt as if I was there, wishful thinking!

    • I had never seen hollyhocks either until we came here, or if I had, I had taken no notice of them. I am sure I saw them in the UK, but they probably weren’t as abundant. Here they are hard to miss, they are literally everywhere, they grow like weeds out of the tiniest cracks in walls beside the roads, and in gardens and, well everywhere! xx

  • I’ve read mutterings about a book, is it true, don’t keep us in suspense, it would be such exciting news. Great post by the way, but that’s nothing new! Just love your garden, your story telling and your photos Xoxo

    • Ha ha, that was Roddy talking, I am not quite sure why he said it! The garden is such a delight and so wonderful for all the family, it really is a place of great calm and relaxation. xx

  • Susan and Roddy,your posts and pictures are always wonderful and never fail to transport us away to a place of tranquility and beauty.
    Thank you!
    Although this must be a good deal of work requiring some real organization on both your parts,it is worth every bit of it! What a gorgeous place for your family to grow up!

    • Thanks Natalia, the garden is hard work, but it’s a wonderful sort of hard work, the type that just totally absorbs me, we all do a little here and there and the garden is totally organic, it just keeps giving. What more can we ask for! Have a lovely weekend xx

    • Thanks Monika, the temperatures are high all the time here too at the moment, around 90 each day and like you, no rain at all and none forecast. Thank goodness we have a well which means we can water the vegetables and the plants in pots, everything else just has to cope. I have never seen the lawn so brown so early in the year, it looks like an August lawn, not mid June which is rather worrying. But the trees provide such an incredible and very welcome canopy of green. Hope you have a good weekend. Xx

  • “…it really is a place of great calm and relaxation” – sounds like the ideal place to write a book! If you ever do, I’ll certainly be ordering a copy. The cottage garden look is always attractive, and we have gone for something similar in our part of Perthshire, though only on one third of an acre. It never ceases to amaze me how much further on your plants are – our currants are only just forming, and it will probably be another month at least before they are ready. You mention lack of water, but if you have your own well are you allowed to use a hose pipe with it? (I assume that you get hose pipe bans in France in the height of summer.)

    When you let Roddy loose on your blog, he mentioned exchanging emails, but I have no idea of his email address. Please let him know that I am finding ‘A Sting in theTale’ a delightful read.

    Thanks for another brilliantly evocative post.

    • Ian, my email is roddy.haysATicloud.com. Drop me a line and we’ll chat! So happy you are enjoying the bee book. I admit to finding it fascinating!

    • Thanks Ian, firstly I will pass your email to Roddy and I am sure he will be in touch this weekend. I am always quite surprised at how different our weather is from the north of France and the U.K. Occasionally we will all be affected by the same storm rolling off the Atlantic, but for the most part we seem to have a completely different climate. Here we are right in the tiny La Rochelle microclimate which extends to about 30km around from the city only. We can watch the big black clouds form in the north and then roll around to the east and we will stay sunny and dry, a good thing, apart from the fact that we really do always need rain in the summer. Good question about the hose pipes and the well. I always took it for granted that we could use the well water when there was a hose pipe ban, it is our water after all, as such. But apparently one cannot use a hose pipe with a well if there is a ban according to a French friend who is a landscape gardener and has lived here all his life, which is rather worrying news. So now I am just praying for a little rain, but none in sight! Hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy your garden, cottage gardens and informality is the way to go in my opinion! Xx

  • Looking at all of this somehow. after quite a time following you, really ‘explains’ the word ‘oasis’ in your title! Practically speaking I have absolutely no idea how you can manage to look after this glorious piece of Mother Earth even to this degree . . . . does everyone and everything just ‘play ball’ because it feels wonderfully natural and the way life should but rarely does . . . ? [On the ‘funny’ side of life am laughing at your use of ‘flip-flops’ 🙂 ! Naturally Down Under these are ‘thongs’ much to the ‘disgust’ and merriment of out northern neighbours across ‘the Pond’ !!!

      • A huge ‘thank you’ – I really did not know and I actually follow a few Kiwis!!!! Well, another one for those ‘up above us’ to ponder over 🙂 !!

      • Alison you beat me to it, I was about to say in NZ they call them jandals! I never got into using that word although we always called swimming things togs and that has completely stuck, much to everyone’s amusement as no one ever has a clue what we are talking about! Xx

    • It really does doesn’t it! Millie came up with the name when we first arrived, long before I ever wrote my first blog post, before we had a pond or any water in the garden, but she just felt that this was what the garden was in the middle of the village and she is right! I think the garden and I look after each other, we have quite a good relationship, if you looked closely you would see weeds and everything is far from perfection, but in a general view it is gorgeous, totally organic and totally natural, everyone does their bit helping because we all love it so which really does help! I have never managed to use the word thong for a flip flop without laughing! Then a French friend referred to them as just that yesterday and I grinned, he thought I had gone quite mad! Xx

      • ‘Togs’ – Well, we all certainly know what the word means, but . . . . methinks, amongst my friends, it is somewhat a ‘dated’ word which was mainly used when talking to children: ‘go rinse your togs out and put them on the line’ kind’of thing . . . . ‘cozzie’ or just plain swimsuit seems to be more in use, but again that is an individual matter . . . . . as is the use of ‘thongs’ which I still quite naturally do . . .

      • I love different expressions from around the world, we could confuse everyone with different terms from English, American, Kiwi etc! Hope you have had a fabulous weekend xx

    • I did wonder how it seems to a stranger and if it seems difficult to piece together! I love different areas ‘rooms’ in a garden, I think they add so much interest. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

    • Thanks, it is a wonderfully natural type of perfection, one that can organically evolve without needing too much human intervention. The fig tree fruits prolifically every year, far more than we can either eat or give away! Xx

      • You’re killing me. I have tried to grow fig trees for over 12 years and have had two figs total from four trees. Haven’t got the touch for it I guess. Enjoy one for me!

      • I can claim no prizes for our fig tree, it is postively ancient and was here when we bought the house, all we did was prune it hard, in fact it worried me, but it seems to have just grown back even stronger!! If you were close by I would give you box loads of figs from August to October! Xx

  • A lovely post Susan. I think you could be right – the English feel that lies deep within the garden’s memory, is resonating with you. It’s a beautiful mix of English garden and French landscape, with freedom and formality lazily mixed! I can see why you love it! I can completely empathise with how easily you are distracted! – I do exactly the same: go out ‘just to collect an egg’ or ‘better just deadhead that rose’ – and end up doing all sorts of other bits and pieces that catch my eye! It’s a bit similar indoors too! Have a lovely weekend in that garden!

    • Thanks Marian, I think all gardeners are probably the same! How are your girls by the way? Are they back to laying? We have three broody bantams at the moment, they all huddle together all day long in the coop! It’s that time of year! I think I rather like the French/English mix in the garden, France has always had such a long interwoven history with England so the two go hand in hand! Although actually it looks just like every other French persons garden I have visited around here, everyone seems to have the same sort of cottage garden informality in our village!! Have a great weekend yourself xx

      • The girls? well, they are not earning their keep at the moment!! Only the big one, Buffy, is laying. The other two spend all day in the coop with a couple of forays out for food and water. The one I’m concerned about is Florence who has been ‘broody’ now for months! Not just the 21 days the others do. Have you experienced this? Her plumage is silky and in good condition, her comb is a bit pale as they normally are during broody time and she eats a bit, but seems just to want to stay inside all the time. I think she’s the bottom hen but that shouldn’t make any difference should it? Ah well, time will tell! Thank you for asking! x

      • Sometimes they are broody for a month or so, but I have never had any of ours for longer. We are quite persistent in picking them up and taking them outside, lots of times during each day to help break them of their broodiness. It is a laborious job but it does seem to help. I doubt her being bottom would make any difference at all. I would just be patient and keep lifting her out as often as you can. In this heat I am not surprised she is still feeling broody! Xx

  • What a beautiful garden and I love the natural look but it still means lots of hard work. Our garden is quite a lot smaller but it certainly takes up a lot of out time to just keep it tidy. The weeds in our veggie garden seem to thrive so well!! Bon weekend Diane

    • Hi Diane, it is a lot of work, but it is so worth it! The weeds in the vegetable garden are a constant battle. We have tried all sorts of things, this year completely changing everything and adopting the ‘no dig’ method, so far it has been a huge success, I will write all about it in a couple of weeks time, but the weeds this year have been manageable which is a huge plus and quite amazing! Xx

  • Your little space in the world is so serene and captivating. I could roam it for hours just eating fruit and identifying flowers. SO beautiful! Thanks for the pictures. France is heaven on earth.

    • Thanks so much, our little place is lovely and we do feel truly blessed to live in such a wonderful area, it is a great place to raise the family and for the children. Once I get out into the garden I can roam for hours too! Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  • Heck,it is a picture.Dont know how you get the time to do all the things you do.I was going to say do you do any artwork with all those scenes in the garden but perhaps time wont permit. 🙂

    • Hi Pete, I wish I could do artwork, but alas I am not am artist at all! I leave that to the children who all have inherited the artist’s gene from my ancestors that have totally bypassed me! Xx

  • Enjoyed this stroll so much. I can easily see why you were bewitched. Winter here (which I love ) but you’ve not only given me a happier Saturday morning ( I save you up for a cup of tea in great anticipation) but reminded me of the joys of a summer garden to look forward to. X

    • Thanks so much Ann-Maree, there is something so fabulous about the garden in spring and summer, ours is looking fabulous although the lawn is already turning brown! Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  • Susan, as I was reading this post, I could feel myself starting to relax and let go. Thank you! Your garden is wonderful.

    • Thank you so much, this is exactly how I feel when I wander around the garden, it fills me with a complete sense of peace and calm. I love nothing more than to stop and watch the fish, pluck a weed and see how the vegetables are growing. Hope you have a lovely week xx

    • I have to admit, I do agree with you, I say to the children all the time that I hope they realise how lucky they are and I know they really do, they love it here. Hope you have a great week xx

  • your garden and your writing are equally lovely…i so love reading about everything going on…enjoyed the insect piece and photos of your hubby so much so that i had to buy the books he mentioned…i love the hollyhocks the best, used to have them here, got seeds from a neighbors garden…need to find seeds somewhere to have them again…they’re a delight as is following you and your life in france…thanks so much!

    • Thank you so much Mary, I love the hollyhocks so much too, they literally grow like weeds here beside the road in every colour imaginable, but they last all summer long and are a major part of plant life here, cannot imagine not having them. If you can send me an email with your address I can pop some seeds in an envelope in the mail to you. Have a great week, xx

  • Your blog title ‘French Oasis’ is appropriate in so many ways. Even in photographs it looks like a garden paradise.
    I have challenges trying to maintain my tiny plot of city space. I can’t imagine trying to maintain some semblance of order in an acre and a half!

  • Just reading about your beautiful garden has calmed me down this morning – I need to go out in our yard and really appreciate it today.

    (Also, your villages could learn a lot from ours – everyone knows when they hit a small town on a back road to slow down, or you WILL be getting pulled over and getting a ticket. The small town officers seem to enjoy getting some money back from the big city folks!)

    • I wish our small villages would do the same, I have only ever seen a policeman with a speeding gun once in a neighbouring village last year. Such a shame as it would certainly be a win win on all fronts. Xx

  • Beautiful grounds! We have many of the same plants in our own “yard” and beds – somehow yours look more content. Perhaps your climate is just that little bit kinder. I agree with your husband – the house seems easier to alter than to create the look and feel of a mature, established garden. Thank you for sharing!

    • The climate really is most pleasant here, even though we are in the midst of a heatwave, the nights still cool down and there is plenty of dew so everything and everyone is happy! I think Roddy was right, the house can be altered, and indeed it has been, the garden, not so easy and it is the years and years of growing that make it what it is today. Xx

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