Where’s your happy place?

Good question that. I hope you have one. Mine is our garden. Pottering around checking how things are growing, taking cuttings, tidying up a little, talking with the birds.

I think gardening is in my blood really. My Granddad Leam was a keen and clever gardener. Outside of the living room window was his garden where he pottered every evening, in his slippers. Keep the hoe moving was one of his sayings! He always used to throw the dregs of his tea across the garden too! I must admit I find myself doing this and smile.

He loved Sweet Williams which are biennial and I have not managed to grow yet. My neighbour here Rene grows them and cuts me some for the house. I'm always so grateful as they bring back happy memories.

My Mum is green fingered. She can take a leaf off a plant, pop in a pot and normally they grow! She hasn’t grown veg like her Dad did, but I still ask her advice on fruit and veg here in my potager! Well it has 2 choices Clare is her usual response! It will live or it won’t!

My Aunty Gill really inherited the gardening gene. Plus she has a degree in sciences and can remember the Latin names and care of most plants! So if i’m not sure what a plant is I take a picture, send it to Gill and she normally knows!

Our French garden was left untended for many years. From around 1970 to 2010! The original owner died in 1969 and the house was empty until 1998. I imagine the garden went back to wild. When we bought the house in 2007 only half of the garden belonged with the house, half must have been sold off by the original owner. It was weedy grass, 2 hazelnut trees, a red cherry tree and 2 roses on the front. Down the side adjoining our neighbours stands an old box tree. He is really on the border. Looking at him I think he is probably 300 years old maybe older. The only other one I have found in the village is near to the church and is a similar size. What stories these 2 could tell of the change and comings and goings!!

Roses grow well around here in the Vienne valley. They like the soil is seems and the hot summers. The original 2 were both planted in the 1960’s according to my other neighbour who has lived here since then. I give them a hard prune in March and each summer they stand around 7 feet tall in flower. I have added 6 more roses over the last 2 years, and taken cuttings from the big 2, Rosa Peace, and Rosa Queen Elizabeth.

After my surgery recently we had so much rain the garden hadn't been touched for 5 weeks. I planned to take cuttings and lots of tidying up things before the winter. on 2 mornings last week the weather was so sunny the sky amazingly blue I dashed out in my wellies and looked around what to do first. I managed to tidy out some planters, put in a few winter heathers too. I covered up the big table and pew with a big tarpaulin and called it a day.

Knowing when to stop is generally a failing of mine. Doing too much too soon is another of my specialities. So I was quite proud of myself that I left the lawnmower in the shed and came inside to sit down!

So that’s my happy place. The garden is a huge project for me and it is really a lifelong dream to have such a space. I do rope Martin in from time to time especially when manly power tools are required.

My plans for the next few months include a raised rockery area near Mr Box tree, and a pergola to provide us shade outside of the kitchen where our table and chairs sits. Oh and my garden room... technically part of the shed space, but will make a great outdoor room with a bit of elbow grease and vision!

Until next time, A bientot, Clare x

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