Clever gardeners?

70 Replies

Hello to you all!!! I wonder if anyone would be able to help me with this problem please? I live in the Landes and as you will probably know it is very sandy here, in fact it is JUST sand!!! I have put tons and tons of manure down, bought sacks and sacks of peat and I still cant grow much.  Have had success with runner beans, tomatoes, strawberry's and mint but that is it!!!  Tried to grow carrotts, potatoes, spring onions and all the salad stuff, have got 12 apple tree's but no fruit yet. (3rd year)  I am fed up...............I don't have green fingers but I am trying!!!  Please help!!! sueA good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.All people smile in the same language.

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Longn2bXpats-383830 1082700405

Just an idea, but how about raised beds?

Cheep and easy: use cinder blocks (aka. breeze blocks, concrete blocks) stack them aprox 3 blocks high with a garden area of 3 feet by 6 feet (or whatever fits your garden and is easy to reach across.)  No need to mortar the blocks, just fill with compost, well-composted manure, good soil, etc.  Short on good soil or such?  You can fill the bottom 1/4 - 1/3 of your bed with Fall leaves to take up space and they will eventually break down into compost.  You can use the holes in the blocks to plant herbs and flowers, etc. (Idea: push balled-up newspaper into the holes until tightly packed and half filled... why waste good soil?)

Raised beds are great for many reasons... 1) less bending, easier on your back,  2) Concrete blocks absorb heat from the sun in the spring, so plants get a head start, 3) Raised beds go on top of your existing garden, so it doesn't matter how bad your soil is.  4) Helps keep pets out of your garden. 5) Drains excess water in wet times so your garden won't be a mud pit.  6) trouble with moles in the garden? Put down wire-mesh or metal window screen, etc beneeth your raised beds and burrowing rodents can't get in. 

And, if you mulch well between your raised beds, you can garden without getting your feet muddy!

Raised beds can be made out of wood or other materials and made prettier, but I never bother. Wood beds have to be maintained, rapaired and after several years, replaced... but blocks last basically forever!


As for apple trees...  Sorry I can't help. My yards not big enough to enjoy fruit trees.  But they're high on the list, when we make the move.

Hope my ideas help.

Good luck!


Miranda-382795 1082708109

That's a good idea. Make sure you use a lot of compost because moisture will drain off fast if your soil is sandy. Mulching is definitely a must. If you don't have anything to mulch buy in bark chips.

I'm surprised that you can't grow carrots - they can do quite well in sand.

If I'm right your main problem is that you need to water all the time to keep things alive.


courtiot-381782 1082732866

WOW!!!  You are so clever, what a great idea!!!!!  I feel a bit stupid now LOL!!!!  I usually think of things like that but I was so engossed in watching my plants die and being a failure that i did not think of it that way!!!  In England my garden was wonderful and everyone said so, we had a lovely pond, loads of flowers and tree's that grew and here I just failed and was loosing interest fast.  Thought of just putting grass seed down everywhere!!!!

We do have 2 Golden Retrievers who do run everywhere but your idea would stop all of that.  We just have to decide where to put the raised beds now so it will not look soppy as we do have a big garden - 2 hectre. (is that how you spell it?)  We have about 10 oak tree's, loads of the Acacia tree's (which grow like weeds) one Hazel nut tree and a lot of pine tree's.  The grass is a cross between grass and weed. 

When you move somewhere new, the soil is not one of the things you look at is it or at least I didn't?  It was so pretty here, so many tree's, it was what we wanted.  We did notice it was sandy of course but when we got here and dug down it was Skegness beach!!!! 

I actually wrote to BBC gardening and got a lovely letter back but he did not help very much, just told me how pretty it was (I sent a picture)

Miranda.............thank you too!!!  You said; 

If I'm right your main problem is that you need to water all the time to keep things alive.

- you are dead right, we do have a big problem with watering, last year was awful, our water bill was huuuuuuuuuuuuuge!!!!  That was just keeping plants alive!!!!  I will mulch as much as I can this year - it's funny though, the weeds never die no matter how hot it gets!!!! :-(  We have loads of them, it takes a lot of work to keep them down!!!  Blackberries do well here too!!!!  This year has been a lot cooler (so far) we are only in the 20-25c at the moment unlike last year which was in the 40's c and went up to 45c!!!    Ohhhhh forgot my grapes...........they do very well!!!

Thank you both again for your help and thanks Longn2bxpats for your wonderful idea!!!! 

How long will it be before you are an "expat"?????  Good luck when the day arrives, you will not regret it!!!!


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

SALLY MOORE-381897 1082733860

My garden in England is very sandy-in fact it is dirty sand-we back on to an esttuary beach and if you dig down about a foot its lovely yellow sand.

We don't grow vegatables(only a small garden) but findthings with silvery leaves do well. Cistuses are good,aquilegia(granny's bonnet) a mimosa has grown amazingly ans it is worth looking for sea side suitable plants in a gardening book.

If your climate is very dry it may be worth trying out various liners for your raised beds-old carpet-polythene with holes in-newspapers etc

Good luck


Longn2bXpats-383830 1082743768

Courtiot, glad to help.  I agree, normally you fall in love with a place, then notice the soil, later.  Gardening in a new area can be almost as challenging as learning (and appreciating) a new culture. 

I've simply had some practice.  I have lived and gardened in Connecticut (rocky soil, wet, coastal, warm humid summers, COLD snowy winters) North Carolina (clay soil, moderate rain, HOT humid summers, cool winters) and now, Colorado (sandy soil with pockets of clay, hot DRY summers, cold strangly sunny winters with ocassional blizzards - incidentally, it's april 23 and its SNOWING right now! 6 inches on the ground and forcast to keep snowing through tonight! Total predicted... 1-2 feet!)  

My husband and I are planning the move in 1 1/2-2 years.  So much to do.. remodel house for sale, read/study for move, try to learn some French, etc., etc.  But we're determined!  Went to France 2 years ago for my 30th b-day and fell in love with it... all of it... language, culture, food, people, landscape, etc.  I love reading this forum, keeps me motivated, and gives us some nice day-dream fuel "2 hectares... oak trees... acacia trees"  sounds beautiful!

Maify Jensen

courtiot-381782 1082749818

Hi Maify and all!!!

You should consider coming to The Landes :-)  It is lovely here, mild winters, lovely long summers and the people.............are so,so nice!!!! aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnddddddddddddd, you could help me with my garden problems!!!!  LOL LOL!!!  Only kidding!!! 

We went all over France and found this place and fell in love with it, the good part too, is that we are central to most things and places.  We are central to Toulouse, Bordeaux (200km North of us), the coast at Biarritz, Spain and the mountains.  Even if we had known about the soil we would have still had the house and moved to the area - you can get over the soil thing (the gardens of others here are lovely, I think this one has just been neglected.  It is the oldest house in the village (we are still renovating) and the villagers are so very pleased with what we are doing to the house.  They said if we had not bought it the house would have been dead.  It is a very small village (200 people and the village is spread out) and other than one Englishman and his French wife we are the only other English people here.  We are still very remote though, no other houses in sight but they all come to see what we are doing and offer their help and their tractors!!!  They bring us veg and home made wine (which we get plastered on), goodness knows what it is made of!!!  We do not speak wonderful French but it does not matter here and they teach us anyway (as my sig at the bottom of the page says), a smile is the same in all languages. The mayor is our doctor and he is wonderful, he even fought for us when we put our plans in for the renovation!!!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh I go again!!!!  Off the subject - sorry!!  I am going to take all of your advice though, I think it would look really good all round our house to have raised flower beds and sort of give us a garden area, away from the rest of the land which we could keep just grass (takes my husband 8 hours to mow our lawn............ ON ONE OF THOSE LITTLE FUN TRACTORS!!!!!)  I also think it would help with the water bit too as it would not drain away so easily if we put some old carpet and polythene in the beds.  You do realise my husband will kill me now - more work for him LOL!!!!

Sally - that is a good tip of yours for the seaside plants and I will be mulching...... I do that a lot with the villagers home made wine too............ohh no sorry wrong word LOL - I think they give it to us to shut me up, it make my lips go numb!!! 

Any more tips would be gratefully received - this forum is much better than Percy Thrower!!!!!


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Miranda-382795 1082758504

Be careful to choose plants that take the heat well. In Brittany it is easier to grow a lot of plants even in the sand because it's not quite so hot here.

You should try and find inspiration around you. See what other people manage to grow around you, look at the kind of wild plants that do well, from there you can start imagining your garden.

You might get some inspiration from Beth Chattos gravel garden

Try lavender, thyme and sage. If you want to buy roses, go for some of the tougher eglantine types or rugosa. For your lawn, try sowing a meadow in part of it and then leaving it unmown (less work and it will bring lots of wildlife to your garden), nothing's prettier that poppies and other wild flowers moving in the wind. If you buy a sachet of meadow lawn seeds you can sow them straight away. You might even try a few of the larger grasses (stipa gigantea) that can set of a meadow very nicely and bring colour to the garden in autumn months.

Raspberries might do well, they're pretty resistant. If you do grow them make sure that you pen them in. They tend to spread in a rather unruly way.

It is quite a challenge to garden in difficult soils or weather conditions and it can be very rewarding. If you enjoy the challenge of renovating your home than I'm sure you will get just as much out of building up your garden.



Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1082769840

courtiot (Sue)

I have just read your last post on this thread. What a wonderful way you have described your location and the local people. I have printed it out to take to work on Monday morning as none of them have ever been to Brittany and my words can not describe why I keep vanishing over the water the way yours do.

Good luck with the garden providing you can find plenty of soil you could always hide the blocks by making it look like mound.



courtiot-381782 1082776174

Thank you Joe!!!  Does this mean I am famous now????  I have always wanted to be famous and now you have printed my post............I will be!!!!  Will I now be rich like Madonna???

Every word I wrote is so, so true, we adore the people here and the country and although I do not want to say anything bad about England this is the best thing we have ever done and I just wish we had done it earlier but like everyone else we worked and then worked a bit more...............then we said enough is enough and the rest is history!!

So you can tell your workmates to come on over and see for themselves - France will surely surprise them, then they will know why you sneak over every few days!!



A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Longn2bXpats-383830 1082829471

(Sorry, oops, all off-topic.)

Courtiot, Thanks for the suggestion, we will definately look at the Landes area.  When we were there, we didn't get that far south. (only got as far as Gironde-33).  We had had a list of sights to see and things to do, but by the second day of our trip we were smitten.  So we abandoned our plans (we didn't have reservations booked after the second day, so we were'nt expected anywhere.) and simple wandered the countryside (via rental car), with the intention of finding a region to focus on, next trip.  Problem was we liked almost everywhere!

I think we will probably rent a house for 6 months - 1 year, before buying. (Slightly anticlimatic, but I am afraid of having only 2 weeks to choose a region and house, where I want to live, for the rest of my life.)  So far we're considering Normandie, Bretagne, Pay de Loire, Centre, Poitou-Charentes, and Aquitaine.  All so different, yet lovely.  So hard to choose.  And due to the fact that we are in Denver, It's hard to pop over for weekends! :) 

We found the people to be so nice and helpful.  I speak some French but my husband doesn't speak any (yet), so I taught him to say "Pardon, Je ne parle pas francais" and people seemed so pleased that he was trying, that they went out of there way to be kind.

Keep us posted on how your garden grows!

cazherts 1083087387


Plant Rosemary, its grows anywhere, anyhow and loves sandy, dry soil.  It is very pretty, grows quite quickly and smells lovely.


Miranda-382795 1083087874

Sorry to disagree, but Rosemary does not grow anywhere. I have just bought a new plant, my third. My soil dries out very quickly and it doesn't appreciate it. I have now changed its place and am hoping that all the compost that I have been nurturing my soil with in that particular place will mean that I'll be able to keep it this time.

courtiot-381782 1083113221

Thank you, thank you everyone!!!  My husband has now started to build me some "raised beds" (I can hear him......  grumble, grumble......"got loads to do in the house and here she is with ANOTHER of her ideas she has got from that flippin' forum - they should shut it down for the sanity of us poor hard done by husbands") LOL!!!!  But, hey girls, we don't have doggies and bark ourselves do we????  Only kidding blokies/hubbies!!!....:-)

I hope you all are still going to help me with the plant suggestions, and please don't shout at me as I am only very little and very frail -(not really)  but I am going to plant runner beans again this year, can I put polythene under them to try to hold the water because last year I grew them and they were really nice but they cost us a fortune in water bills!!!  I know that any gardeners are going to say, "Oh my goodness is she a looney or what".  Is it OK to do this?  Or will it rot the roots?  Annnnnddddddddddd any idea's about the best thing to use round our house to stop the sand walking in when it is wet - mats don't work very well and I was thinking about gravel/pebbles.  Thank you all again!!! Sue




A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

bob-381779 1083114874

Spending some time in Sologne, where it is also sandy, i can only suggest removing shoes religiously at the door . . . . . . . . . or it ends up everywhere!




Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083116135

Sue put bark chips on top to save water but watch out for that creeping fungus that grows if you use both bark on top and plastic underneath and then water to often.



Huelgoat (29) part-time. Kenavo

courtiot-381782 1083121445

Thank you Bob!!

Yes I have tried the; "If you don't take your shoes off this shotgun may just go off by accident" method and have also tried the; "Was it you that has bought this sand in", with which the reply is always; "It was not me"!!! I have come to the conclusion that in this part of France we have sand fairies with BIG feet!!! I bet you have not got them where you are!!!


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

courtiot-381782 1083121759

Hi Joe!!!

Thanks for that!  So if I put polythene down and bark on top it should be ok if I do not overwater then?  Would holes in the polythene help?  I will watch out for the creeping fungus but he is usually ok after a few beers!!! LOL


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

SALLY MOORE-381897 1083147013

Our house in Exmouth adjoins the estuary beach. We have a large lurcher who plays in the sand. One gets used to having sand rather than carpet on the floor but I still find sleeping in sand rather irritating!!


Miranda-382795 1083154438

Sue, my mother who lived by the beach for many years had dreadful problems with sand coming into the house, and most of it came in with her two dogs. She ended up making pathways in the places where most movement in the garden took place (including around her flowerbeds). It was very nicely done. She had concrete slabs laid in a reddish coloured gravel. The disadvantage of gravel, is that it too comes into the house and it doesn't always stay evenly spread in the right places. The concrete slabs meant that she didn't have this problem. It doesn't get rid of all the sand (there's wind too), but it definitely cuts down the hoovering. It diminished her garden space slightly, but she was getting old so that didn't matter too much (less lawn mowing), it got rid of unsightly dog paths and she had better paths for bringing in the shopping and stuff. It made her final years much easier.

I'm strongly considering doing something similar around my flower beds (not because I'm old, but because it can be very attractive), but with red bricks.

cazherts 1083184350


Thats a shame about your rosemary.  I had it in my very sunny garden in Africa and it is here with my in Hertfordshire.  It is in a very dry, sunny spot and I am having trouble controlling it, it takes over everything.  It is right next to a small conifer which slurps up all the water, maybe yours needs a really sunny spot. 

There is also a good succulent for sandy areas they plant it on dune beaches, but I cant for the life of me remember the name, the leaves are like fingers (well they are not really leaves more like fat stalks) and the flowers (which look like brightly coloured english marigolds) come out when the sun shines and close up when the sun goes in, I am sure there is someone on AI that knows what I am talking about.


Melody-383817 1083187373

Down here near La Rochelle our rosemary is blooming too and our soil could hardly be more sandy and dry.  If there are problems they're probably in your garden rather than with the local soil in general.  I'd advise anyone near the sea to grow it, it's wonderful to fill up the inevitable few blank spaces.  Make sure you grow some as near as possible to the kitchen door.... you'l eat more of it!


Miranda-382795 1083188112

I think I know what that is, in my gardening book it's called Lampranthus spectabilis. I have it in my garden and it thrives to such a point that I have to pull lots out every year.

Another succulent that I have in my garden is sempervivum. It gets on just great in the driest spot possible.

Another plant that is good in those kind of conditions is Sedum. There are lots of varieties. My favourite has a pinkish coloured leaf and flower and is called S. Matrona.

As for the rosemary, it was in a generally sunny spot also near a conifer.

I guess every garden is different.




Pam Morton-381801 1083188330

Mine certainly is......

Miranda-382795 1083193478

Somehow, I think that almost goes without saying Pam!

courtiot-381782 1083199802

Hello everyone!!!


I am sorry I have not got back to you today and you have all been so busy for me!!!  I have been very busy with something marvellous!!!

Guess what.................????

My 2 Golden Retrievers have had pups!!!!!  7 of them and they are fantastic so was Rosie their mum, Ben (dad) sulked a bit as he is so used to lots of attention but a quick ball game soon sorted him out!!  They are beauties and look like little white polar bears.  I wish I could have had my brood as easily as Rosie, not even a whimper.  We had to stop the building of the raised beds and build a run with a shed attached as mum Rosie would not come in the house, we tried but she just wanted to go back to the barn where she had them and there is no heating in there - ok in the day but temp drops a bit at night still.  No heating in her new house but we have put an infra red light in for pups.


Miranda and Melody:  Thank you for the plant suggestions;  Lampranthus spectabilis and sempervivum?

 I know this is a Latin name but is there a French simple name?  Like Rose, Tulip,Lavender in the UK?  Or would this be on the label in France?

I have been taking in what everyone has been telling me and so far I have bought:  Lavender (6), a tall grass (2) ... Herbs; Rosemary, Thyme 6 different ones. These will start me off as we cannot put the plants in the other beds until we have built them.  I love Lavender so I hope this grows ok.  I am going to look for the above next time, that Melody and Miranda suggested.  I did forget to mention one plant that does grow very very well here and that is the Butterfly bush/tree/plant, purple flowers.  We have a huge tree and lots of little seedlings that I took out and replanted last year, they are doing really well.  Last year the plant attracted what I thought was a humming bird - looked just like it and I was very excited but when I looked humming bird up on the web it turned out to be a moth!!!  It had the same long "beak", and the wings went like the clappers!!  It hovers too and takes the nectar out with this long beak just like the bird does.  Has anyone else seen one?

I am also going to go for paths round the house like Miranda's mother had and bark between and on the beds.  I will have to ask admin if there is a way I can show you all when it is finished, after all it is all your info that has helped - in about 50 years LOL!!!

Sorry if I sound really thick but I am a learner gardener but give me a computer and................................I am a human again :-)

In the usual BAFTA awards way...............I would like to thank in order of postings;

Longn2bXpats, Miranda, Sally, Joe, Cazherts, Bob, Melody and Pam with multiple awards to lots of you!!!  And if someone else posts here thank you too!!!

Any advice now on pups???...........only kidding!!!

Thank you



A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Pam Morton-381801 1083225886

Thank you for the Oscar, Sue.   It sounds as if you have a Hummingbird Hawkmoth or some other of the Hawkmoth family (see Google!)   There are several species, each interesting in its own way.   I specially like the Death's Head Hawkmoth with its skull and crossbones body markings in white on black.   But I would!!     Happy Humming.





Pam Morton-381801 1083226382

Oh I forgot about the pups (well it is early!)   Aaaaaaahhh.   Are  you going to call them after AI members?   Congratulations......

Miranda-382795 1083251102

sempervivum is called Joubarbe in French and Houseleek in English.

I can't find any other name for the lampranthus, most of the time good garden centres will come up with the plant if you ask them. Just say it's "une plante grasse".

I'd love to see the results!

The butterfly bush is probably a Buddleia. They're good in Brittany too.

That made me think that you might like to try some achillea, which if you don't cut the flowers leave beautiful shapes in your garden for winter frost to settle on. There are some very pretty colours on the market and they do well in dry soil and rockeries.



Melody-383817 1083266518

Mine's got silver bells and cockleshells...


Melody-383817 1083267786

Oh, I missed an entire page.  My comment was in reference to everyone's garden being different.  By the way thanks for the mention in the prize-giving ceremony (even if I was second last on the list)   :-(    Urrm, Pam, which placing did you have on the list?


Pam Morton-381801 1083268632

Last, I believe, but you're a good girl who knows her Bible, aren't you?  The first shall be last etc.



Melody-383817 1083270186

yeah and the meek shall inherit this big mess, not to mention inheritance taxes ...... so my guess is that being first will have a few strings attached too.

courtiot-381782 1083278222

Pam, Melody, Melody, Pam, (you see I can be fair LOL LOL)  I am so sorry that you were dissapointed at being last and sorry but neither of you won an Oscar:

In the usual BAFTA awards way...............I would like to thank in order of postings;  I could not afford 8 Oscars so had to enter you all for BAFTA's instead!!! :-)

Longn2bXpats, Miranda, Sally, Joe, Cazherts, Bob, Melody and Pam with multiple awards to lots of you!!!  And if someone else posts here thank you too!!!

Pam; What is different about your garden, is it very beautiful?  Other than the absense of Cactus ours looks like a cross between the wild west,  the film Caddyshack and what I imagine world war 3 to be like!!!



A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

courtiot-381782 1083279843

Hi Pam

I went on the BBC (my home page) search today and you are dead right it is the Hummingbird Hawkmoth, I have saved some of the photos that I found - they are  very pretty, I was so excited when I first saw them (2 years ago) as I had never seen one before but now I have seen loads of them and the bigger my Buddlea's get the more we have!! 

Thanks for the wishes for the pups they are very beautiful there are 7 of them and they are really quite big and tubby, their mother did not seem to have a very big tummy and I was amazed at the size of them when they came out, dad is a big boy though.

Thanks for all that!!!




A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

courtiot-381782 1083280362

Hi Miranda

Thank you for finding out about these plants for me, I have written them all down and will get these when we go shopping again (we are 20 miles from the shops so we only go once a week.

I will certainly find a way to show you all when we have finished but I think it will be a while yet as most of them will need time to mature to look anything but I will keep you all posted and if you can think of any more....................  :-) And you were right it is a Buddleia that I have got!!

Thank you


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083281572

Don't forget to take the "before" pictures. If you do get pic's that you can email - I could put them on a site for others to view if you would like.

I hate gardening but this thread is slowly educating me and getting me just a little (only a little) bit interested in the maybe considering stopping my habit of shoving paving slabs every where I can and covering the rest with decking.

Perhaps gardening is going to be just what I need to fill some of the idle time when I finally get to stop the W for a L....


Huelgoat (29) part-time. Kenavo

courtiot-381782 1083285603

Hello Joe!!

Your post did make me smile!!!  You are just like my old man - thats what his ideal garden is too, paving stones, grass and a bit of decking LOL LOL!!!!  "What on earth do you want flowers for" he says, all the weeds and stuff, they grow well here, leave 'em alone!!!  If you plant all these flowers, where are all the moles going to live???  I said they can't get in a raised flower bed - he said you just wait!!! LOL

I will take the before and after photos Joe and that is a very sweet thing to say, have you got a web page then?  I could fill it with all the photos I have taken of our house - before and after!!!! :-)  Have digital camera - will travel!!!  I could actually make a horror movie of our house with the before photos!!!!  We still had taps in the lounge until 3 weeks ago!!! 

The cobwebs were so old that the spiders moved out!!!

But I know what you mean by motivation Joe!!!  What lovely people come on here, I did not think for one minute that I would get so much help!!!  I do not even live near you all either!  I just wish I could meet you all, its funny isn't it, you live in England all your life and then come to France and meet all these lovely people!!!  Where were you all when I was doing my garden in England?????

We should have a garden section on this forum......................Admin :-)


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083286261

Email away Sue - with the pic's. Give me 10 days and I will post site for Sue's pic's.

As for where was every one in the U.K. a funny thing seems to happen to people when they are touched by Brittany........ Or is it perhaps when they find AI ? Was not in to wild life either now I can spot King Fishers Wag Tails Common Toads and Land Leeches ! As well as for some strange reason being concerned about Gertie the ducks welfare and her 6 eggs whilst we are not there to feed her. I must be mellowing as I had her first egg myself - shock horror what a bounder......



courtiot-381782 1083291706

I will get them off my CD tomorrow Joe - thank you!!

Ohhh nooooooo Joe!!!  That poor little your tummy now!!! 

sue :-)


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

SALLY MOORE-381897 1083315052

Joe the gardening bug will get you!!!! First it will be a few pots on the decking full of "geraniums" and before you no it you will be taking up the decking so that you can put a magnolia tree in and then you,ll be buying a house with 3 acres so you can make a "proper garden". Just you wait and see..................


cazherts 1083318506

There is nothing more rewarding than walking out in your garden, smelling the flowers, listening to the birds and seeing how the seedlings are doing.  You wait till you taste the first french bean you have grown, or nice, sweet juicy tomato - it probably costs more to grow than to buy, but growing is much more pleasurable!


Miranda-382795 1083319495

When you pay nearly 3 EUR a kilo for your tomatoes, I would say that buying 10 plants at 1.5 EUR each gives a great crop and is good value for money (and you can just taste those vitamins!!!)

You're right about the joys of wandering through the garden. It's such a pleasure! Right now the intoxicating smell of lilac wafts through my french windows - a true delight.

Pam Morton-381801 1083323935

And as the rain pours down unceasingly and the temperature drops to unheard of lows you light the fire and wonder if it's worth it.   My Turdus  philomenus and Aegithalus caudatus are most definitely feeling the pinch.





cazherts 1083325554

Miranda, was that you today in the Daily Mail extolling the virtues of France and putting the house prices up?


SALLY MOORE-381897 1083350697

Your what Pam??? I don't think I know those- perhaps you could send me a picture or tell me their common names.


Melody-383817 1083351346

I'm trying to guess whether they are shrubs, flowers or herbs...can't think which.  I guess, going on some earlier posts, the real experts would know in an instant.


SALLY MOORE-381897 1083351932

Perhaps Melody but I think that these may be especially rare ones!!!


Pam Morton-381801 1083354225

You're welcome, Sue.   No doubt you saw that the "beak" is actually the proboscis, used for probing and slurping up the nectar.   My garden is exclusively for nature......




Melody-383817 1083355191

Oh no, think I'm losing the plot on this thread too.  Where on earth is this boy named Sue, Pam?  :-(


Pam Morton-381801 1083355528

If you go back near to the beginning you should see a post from Sue about a mysterious moth she had seen - I was, as ever, simply trying to be helpful.   Talking of Sues, Suzette is up and about with a plaster on her tummy - mostly up and about on me!!!


SALLY MOORE-381897 1083362919

Glad to hear that Suzette is up and about again Pam- Don't let her near those plants will you?


Pam Morton-381801 1083363092

She is a very respectful little person, Sally, as befits......

Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083365000

Sally I think I had better book apointment with the doctor now before the bug really takes hold. Just realised I am already jumping for the lawn mover within 20 mins of unloading the car. Already we have installed - is that the word :) two plants of our own in the garden. Ohhh no is there a cure ?


SALLY MOORE-381897 1083365882

No Joe there is no cure. It is a permanent disease though luckily not fatal!


courtiot-381782 1083367945

Ohhhhhhhhhhh dear what have I done..............Joe has the green finger syndrome, which, by the way is the way Joe unless you start to dream about pansies, daffs or building a raised garden you are safe for a while but the desease spreads you know!!!!  The tractor thing after you have been shopping does sound a bit worrying though, take it a little bit easy and you WILL come through this!!!! Honestly!!!!  :-)



A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083368716

Now that's what I love about AI within 45 mins of posting - I have now been informed that I have a permanent disease and I dare not sleep ever again for fear of dreaming of pansies.!

What's more my next car is probably going to be a Massey Furgason..

I do hope Gertie knows what she is doing and will be o.k. (now I am going soft as well !) We worked out that today is hatching day. Perhaps I could train Gertie to eat the moss in the lawn - now there is an idea !






Huelgoat (29) part-time. Kenavo

Pam Morton-381801 1083401207

"Who is Gertie, what  is she?"




Miranda-382795 1083403695

She might not eat the moss, but she'll enjoy the slugs!

Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083456549

Gertie is a female Mallard. Bertie is ever faithfull gard never takes food just watches from 15ft away. Gertie knocks on the kitchen door with her beak when we are there for food and hop's up in to the kitchen to be fed.

The slugs turned out to be land leeches (yuk!)


Huelgoat (29) part-time. Kenavo

Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083457831

For a pic of Gertie and Bertie go here

For Gertie in the kitchen go here


Pam Morton-381801 1083486300

Ah, of course, it was silly of me to ask!!!  Thanks.



bob-381779 1083501311

AAhhhh the pleasures of DIY! (hope the tetanus was up to date, or was it the duck? In which case is your rabies jab upto date??)





Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083532793

Bob does not miss a thing..

Had just sliced the top of my finger off cleaning the BBQ nice sharp edge along the back Ouuuch... What was worse I had to stand with my hand over the sink because it was Gertie's feeding time and taking yet more pictures of her was more important than dressing hubby's wound !

How is the garden Sue ?



Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083542966

Have emailed you Sue



courtiot-381782 1083547247

Thank you Joe!!!

I have a great idea!!!!!

How about all of you clever gardeners coming here for ..............Mmmmmm, say 3 years, like the Ground Force on the TV and designing me a fantastic garden????  No!!  Oh well, just an idea LOL !!!!

You could just look at the photos that Joe has kindly said he will put on his web page and tell me if it is a hopeless case!!!


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Miranda-382795 1083611468

Designing a fantastic garden like Ground Force would be fun, but the problem with Ground Force is that it's instant gardening! In some ways it takes the pleasure out of struggling to get a plant to survive in hostile conditions. How many times have I gone into my garden to a place where I thought that a plant was dead, and have found that it's come back again in the spring. How rewarding it is to have grown your own plants from cuttings (takes quite some time) and its also so much cheaper. A garden should evolve changing as do your ideas. You can start out with very little then you learn to know what suits your garden, what kind of soil you have, you start to identify places that need shelter, where the shady spots are, which areas dry out fastest, etc. Then the challenge begins, you adapt your soil, you mulch, you plant hedging or trees to provide shelter, you start to paint a picture with plants that grow and continue to change your garden, and every time you walk through your garden you know that all that beauty has come from your ideas and your hard work. It may not be perfect, but it's you.





Joe-Huelgoat-383105 1083624141

After viewing the pictures Sue I have thought of a solution to the problem of you garden   MOVE

No seriously - what a wonderful place I would think that you will finish planting in about 25 years time and it will look fabulous. How many paving slabs will it take to cover that lot ?

For those who have not seen the pics click here. Sue has put them on my site for a few weeks so that anyone interest can view them and comment back here.



courtiot-381782 1083629749

After viewing the pictures Sue I have thought of a solution to the problem of you garden   MOVE

Hello Joe and all!!!


Think I will start another post titled:  Does anyone know if there are any houses for sale in the Outer Mongolia region with small garden and good soil?  He, he, he, he!!!  Only kidding.........yes it will take a while but I WILL GET THERE!!  Joe, thank you for going to so much trouble with the web page and naming the photos too!!!  I would love to see some of your gardens too - it would give me a bit of hope!!!  I bet they are beautiful...........and don't get David Bailey in to take the photos either!!!!

You have all given me the will and knowledge to make a good job of it too!!!  We are still doing the house, well.......... we have nearly rebuilt it actually, it would have been quicker to build a new house but it really is worth it and we have done it all by ourselves.  The villagers are really pleased with it too.  So our time is split between doing the house, doing the garden and looking after 2 dogs and 7 pups!!!!  When it rains we are in the house (which is not very often now as we don't get that much rain here), then outside doing the garden and cleaning the pups poo poo up!!!

What you just wrote was lovely Miranda and all so true, in England the soil wasn't too bad and we always had plenty of rain (which we don't get here), the soil here is awful (at the moment) but we will get it right, all of everyones idea's and plant hints will be used and I would love to show you the difference one day!!!  We have planted a lot already, runner beans are in, tomato seeds are started, we have loads of cuttings going of Buddleia (they grow like weeds here and the cuttings do very well) and last year I planted lupin seeds and they are appearing!!!  The plants we have bought (loads of them but it does not look like we have)  I have a few large grasses in now, they should grow quite large.  We are building the raised beds right round the house, that should look nice when finished, going to put loads of lavender in them amongst others.  So we will have to see...........


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

Miranda-382795 1083707068

Sue, that tree in your photos is either a lime tree or a catalpa (more likely) if those long pod like things are anything to go by.

courtiot-381782 1083898401

Thank you very much Miranda!!!  Yes it certainly looks like it from the link you posted!!!  The photo did not have the long pods though (they look like giant vanilla pods) and the trunk in the photo is very straight, my tree is a really wierd shape, it also has another tree (with roots) growing from the main trunk.  I wanted to know what it was because it is so beautiful, so very different from the "usual" shaped tree and I would love to buy another one and thanks to you I now know the name!!


A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.

All people smile in the same language.

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