In the “Veranda”

After a few weeks of glorious spring weather, the skies closed in this week and we found ourselves once again in the drizzly normandy climate. For a few short minutes I wondered what to do with myself before being drawn to start clearing out the conservatory or “veranda” as they are known as in France. Since I was very young I always had a fascination for the word “veranda”, being, along with Panda, the only two words that could rhyme with my name to create a lymerick, something we did suprisingly often in school. As you can imagine, when I discovered that I was the proud owner of one, it rather highlighted the pleasure of being able to sit in it while trying to compile lines three and four which would take me neatly on to our furry four-legged companion. Planting some bamboo at the end of the garden seems to have become, suddenly much more of a necessity!

But I digress. The veranda is in a fairly dismal state, and at some point extensive renovation is required. Several pieces of glass are broken. But for this year I intend just to relish its presence. To remind you of the “before”, I’ll slip in the photos with the previous owner’s belongings. I don’t believe that he been in here much over the past few years, the flower beds were bone dry and weedridden, and a general sense of decay hung in the air.

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After a few days clearing of spider’s webs, the weed-mass in the flower beds and the first attempts to clean the windows it has become a tranquil space that is a pleasure to work or rest in.


WP_20150330_007I’m having a “Green Card” moment, remembering the stunning conservatory that forced Andie MacDowell to “marry” Gérard Depardieu  to fool the board of governers into believing she fulfilled their criteria as a “married couple” to rent the appartment that went along with it.



I’ve brought the old urns inside to clean up. I’m not quite sure whether to leave them in their distressed state or to repaint them, 
WP_20150330_003But i’m loving spending a few minutes toying with plants and deciding what to fill them with.

WP_20150330_006Seedlings are just pushing up their heads from the Geranium seeds I planted a week or so back,
WP_20150330_011and I have Allium, Climbing Roses, Peonies  and Lupins waiting in the wings for warmer weather when they can be planted into the bed outside.

But for now, I’m just revelling in the pleasure of gardening in comfort.

“Miranda is in her Veranda”

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Rooting for a Lovely Garden!

Another burst of warm spring sunshine seems to have sent all of the neighbourhood into the garden. Looking at ours and the thought of the work ahead is very daunting but today I decided that I needed to focus little by little on the garden closest to the front door. All part, I suppose of the idea of “entrance” and having a pleasant vista to return to at the end of the day.

On first appraisal the flower bed or “bordure” nearest the garden gate was just a raggle of weeds and I was hoping for an easy half-hour to clear the bed. Then I spotted some pretty blue flowers and took one in to identify. The news wasn’t great. While pretty, the vincus minor or periwinkle is a bit of a pest, and judging by the lack of any established flowers, with the exception of one very fragile and straggly rose, the bed was riddled with its root system.

vinca minor

An afternoon later I am not exactly flushed with success, but the “bordure” is much clearer than before. I managed to bend the prongs in of my brand-new garden fork in the process when the vinca-minor root system was not the only one I tried to uproot. I had a pretty eventful time with the roots of our fig tree too.WP_20150322_007

Some are still in the ground blissfully unaware of their impending rendez-vous with “Husband à l’etranger”. “Husband à l’etranger” is blissfully unaware too,  – well he was until just about now!WP_20150322_009

But to be fair, I did put in quite an effort filling the wheelie-bin full of roots,WP_20150322_010

Who would have believed that one flower bed could contain so many ? But since they self -root from runners under the ground, any roots left in will stunt all other flowers placed in the bed.

After calling it quits on the roots, it was fabulous to look at the first of the spring flowers in other parts of the garden.


WP_20150322_003But the slight chill of the early evening brought me back to thoughts of lighting the fire, and helping myself to a glass of wine.

WP_20150322_004But before I go, perhaps some of you are able to identify some of the following. Perhaps I have more hardwork in store rooting these out as well….



WP_20150322_013or perhaps I shall just invest in a pig and put an end to all this “cochonerrie” (slang for mess) once and for all!

After all I have these great little urns to deal with, and that’s much more fun!WP_20150322_011