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Hello from my garden in France.1.


Hi everyone, having joined GOY a few weeks ago, I finally found some time to write something.
To introduce myself, my name is Mandy and since 2004 have lived in the centre of France with my husband and Teenage son.
Also a dog, two cats, three pygmy goats,two pot bellied pigs, nine sheep and several chickens.
At the risk of being boring, here’s some background.
At least you’ll know what I’m talking about in future blogs.

My property is an old farm that hadn’t been lived in for about 30 years, so you can imagine the state of the place.
It didn’t have any set “garden” though we were blessed with an orchard and lots of very old, mature trees.

The early days.

The land is over 7 acres,encompassing a valley, Loosely divided as:
1: Hay field
2: wooded area,
3: An orchard,
4: Lower field, this has some drainage problems and is boggy in areas.
5: A boggy area starting from our well,going down hill to a stream with runs across the the land.
6: A strip of land that leads to our “Lavoir” ( French washing place fed by a natural spring.)
7: A flat area below our gardens dedicated to our animals.
8: A ”Flattish” area near the house and barn. This is where I started our gardens.
One in front of the house which is finished ( if a garden ever is,) and one in front of the barn which is in very early stages of development.

We ’re working on an area at a time to make it more manageable and less daunting!
Starting from the house and working our way out.

The soil is heavy clay and full of rock. And I mean rock! Including huge boulders of granite. Shame I’m not really into rockerys.

Most of my gardening experience has been with light, very sandy soil in Dorset. So this soil is some sort of nightmare for me.
Plant choices have to be well thought out too as the temperatures here go to both extremes. Hot summers, and guaranteed snow in winter.
Quite often we get surprise late,hard frosts when we think the weather has settled in to spring. I lost quite a few plants this year because of this.
The land has a few natural springs/sources.
Which can be a blessing or a burden depending on where they are.
One of them is below our well making the land very boggy.
I hope to turn this to my advantage and make a nice bog garden there later.
something I have no experience in so I shall be inquiring on GOY for plenty of info from “bog experts”.
At present the pigs are working at digging it over for me, though they seem to spend far too much time wallowing in the stream!

I’ve been trying to think what style of garden is “ my thing”. I’m definitely not in to topiary or knot gardens!
Preferring soft curves and plants that are a bit way wood.
Erring on the romantic,is probably the best description.
Or is it just an excuse to do less pruning!

It’s taken me quite a while to get used to planning out gardens on a larger scale. All my previous gardens have been on the modest side.
Many hours were spent trying to make them seem larger. Now it’s a choice of how much garden do I want or how much can I manage!
Not being a millionaire, I’m always trying to keep costs down.
Obviously large garden = more plants.
Taking lots of cuttings, having friends with exchanges and a gardening Mum helps a lot.
Also rescuing those sad specimens at the garden centre discount bin and nurturing them back to life.

The biggest difference between gardening here and in England, is that here things grow really fast!
Hubby has to mow the grass three times a week. Though at least my shrubs look more mature sooner.

More blog posts by naylorsark

Next post: Hello from my garden in France. 2



you really have taken on a task naylorsark well done

8 Jul, 2009


A fantastic opportunity to be grabbed with both hands. Good luck with all the hard work you have ahead of you. The pics of what you have done so far show a beautiful, well planned garden. Well done.

8 Jul, 2009


Thanks for an interesting blog.
I shall watch your progress with interest.
Pity you aren't into rockeries...
Maybe with so many lovely rocks around you'll change your mind. I love rocks and stones, though I realise moving the huge ones is not easy.
Good luck with your project :o)

8 Jul, 2009


O.k maybe I can be persuaded about the Rockery.
A few years down the track I intend making a water garden by the lavoir. Rocks would be good there me thinks.

8 Jul, 2009


Welcome to GoY Mandy, thankyou for sharing your pics with us, I can see you have your work cut out especially with all those rocks, a good thing in a garden is a pond and the rocks will go very nicely with it. Best of luck and keep us posted.

8 Jul, 2009


That's quite a project you've taken on there Naylorsark...but it's looking good already. Best of luck with it all...& I think rockeries & water features would look fab in that setting! :0)

8 Jul, 2009


Welcome to GOY. I look forward to seeing updates as your mammoth garden takes shape

8 Jul, 2009


A really interesting and well written blog Mandy, and a belated welcome to GoY. I love the pig! He/she looks as if he/she is smiling, and with good reason. You have a big task ahead of you, but with careful thought and planning you'll be surprised how quickly it will come together.
Your photographs and the excellent ground plan transported me to France with you.
All the very best.

8 Jul, 2009


Well first welcome to GOY, really enjoyed your trip round your land,looks a lot of hard work, but looking forward to seeing its progress, so good luck with it.

8 Jul, 2009


welcome to GoY and you ahve done so much already. please keep us upto date on your progress.

8 Jul, 2009


welcome to GOY an interesting first blog
lovely little pig!
you have enough rocks to build a wall or two!
best wishes with your garden lots of work but well worth it so far so lovely!
look forward to updates

regards neellan

8 Jul, 2009


Enjoyed the tour around your garden,sounds like you have a busy time ahead of you,what you already have worked on looks great and it seems you have a lot planned for the future,look forward to seeing more. Many thanks and welcome to Goy.......

8 Jul, 2009


Very interesting Mandy..thanks for sharing

9 Jul, 2009


A wonderful blog Mandy....your Garden is lovely and by the looks of things will continue to do so....thanks..:>)

12 Jul, 2009


I would get rid of the lawns, build rockeries, with stone paths, lol! Seriously, Many Thanks for sharing your fabulous spot, and Good Luck with your gardens! Look forward to seeing how it all develops! :-)

12 Jul, 2009


Good idea David, but then what would my hubby do in the garden! : )

13 Jul, 2009


The watering? :-)

13 Jul, 2009


Interesting blog what a lovely place to live. Your vpb pig looks as happy as ...erm.......yup a pig in muck ;-) What do you do with the sheep? Did you do the plan yourself? it's very good and gives a very good idea of your layout, your garden is lovely also.

15 Jul, 2009


Thanks Bornagain. Yes it is a lovely place to live,
The sheep are pets really and are good at keeping the grass short on the field. We won't be killing any for sunday lunch!

The plan I did myself. Everything here I plan on the computer first. It gives me a good idea of how it will turn out and shows up any possible problems before any back- breaking work starts.
I have also planned our barn conversion in 3d. We are currently working on that as well as the gardens.

16 Jul, 2009

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