Saturday, 4 August 2012

Catching up with the Garden - Free Promotion

Here are a few photos showing how my garden is progressing after its very slow start, following the coldest winter in about 60 years.  The winter was followed by a late frost in May, which took out almost all the blossom on the fruit trees. The cold snap also meant an absence of bees! I thought that the quince had not produced any fruit, but I have managed to track down a few, in between the leaves and all very high up.  We also have one mirabelle plum tree with some fruit on it, while the other 3 are bare!

The 'Mushroom Garden' has taken ages for anything to flower in it, but the lavender is looking good, together with a few yellow calendula.  Because this bed is in full sun, I have not planted anything which needs too much water. There are a lot of cactus and succulents planted around the perimeter of the bed, but they are not yet big enough to be noticeable in the photo.  Next year I hope they will all multiply!!

In other parts of the garden there are various flowers in mixed beds
 The top two are  cosmos, the left hand one with a bee in the centre.
Bottom left is a shot of the cactus flowering in the 'mushroom garden' and bottom right is hibiscus.
 Love-in-a-Mist on the left, Lavender top right and the flowers of the herb oregano  bottom right.
Sunflower on the left, calendula top right and courgette (zucchini) bottom right. The birds have eaten most of the sunflower seeds!!

Climbing rose top left, pinks top right, zinnia bottom left and my unknown rose  with the amazing perfume bottom right.
Various Zinnia


My Stargazer, which happily survived underground in the cold of winter and it is now  putting on a beautiful display, which will last for a week or so.


Hydrangeas at the back, partly hiding the neighbour's horrible barn wall (!!) with what I think are single chrysanthemums in front, and a few lone poppies.  The insects really love this bed!!


A bed of calendulas, zinnias, cosmos,with pampas grass at the back and a small holly right in the front. We cut and burnt back the pampas in the spring, as it was getting too big - all now under control!
Apples top left,there are a very few this year, grapes top right, hazel nuts bottom left and we have at last a few small figs, bottom right.
Round courgettes top left, Italian plums top right, pepper bottom left and round yellow courgette bottom right.
Haricot beans, as they are called here in France (French beans in the UK) on the left, marrow top right and chard bottom right.


A bed of courgettes (zucchini) and pumpkins taking up at least half of the vegetable garden and climbing the anti-rabbit perimeter fence. They are really running wild in the sun!! You can see some haricot beans between the two.




 
See also - My Life Before Charente updated  04 August 2012


Free Promotion from 6 August 2012 until 9 August 2012
The following weeks of the next part of my life story I have put on Kindle and you can obtain it at www.Amazon.com or www.Amazon.co.uk I will however continue writing it on 'My Life Before the Charente' as well so that the blog is not interrupted. 

It can also be downloaded to computers, smart-phones or tablets see Here



114 comments:

  1. Hello Diane:
    Gardening is always, as we are sure that you are aware, something of an uphill battle and a new garden does take time to establish. However, you must feel very pleased with the way in which your French garden is progressing with, very obviously, much colour for this time of year. It must make it easier now you are there for the greater part of the time.

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    1. Jane and Lance it was always difficult before. I used to leave before the garden was really ready to clear for winter, then I used to arrive when I should have had seedlings already under way. Sadly winter this year caused things not to go quite as planned but it has picked up a lot now. Diane

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  2. Your garden is beautiful. You have a lot of things growing.

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    1. Words Of Deliciousness I love my garden and especially the vegetable garden. Although it is very late this year it is looking pretty healthy now. Diane

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  3. The weather across Europe this year has been very strange. However, your garden still managed quite a few blossoms and fruits. Actually, it looks beautiful.
    And i am a little jealous of you having your own fig tree - that's one of my favourite fruits!
    Enjoy your beauttful little paradaise!

    Red

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    1. I agree, very strange weather, poor Nigel is convinced he has brought the lousy weather to France :) We also love figs and I generally bottle in some sort of liquor so we have for much of the year. Have a good weekend Diane

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  4. Gorgeous! That mushroom garden is most inspiring, and very doable.

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    1. I was very sad when the tree died and had to come down, but at least part of it remains :) Keep well Diane

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  5. Lovely garden, I am especially in awe of your kitchen garden - it looks so well kept!

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    1. We do our best, but there are certainly a number of weeds there if you look properly :) It produces well though which is the main thing. Keep well Diane

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  6. The winter was rough but your garden has an amazing mixture of flowers and flowering shrubs. Very beautiful.

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    1. Michel everything is late, but better late then never :) Thanks for the comment. Have a good weekend. Diane

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  7. Your garden looks absolutely wonderful! Well worth the wait ;-)

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    1. Joyful I agree, but I just hope that winter is late this year or we are going to lose quite a lot. Have a wonderful weekend. Diane

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  8. Wow, I'm very impressed with your garden, certainly considering all of the cold weather you've endured. You must have a very green thumb!
    Sam

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    1. Sam I have always been pretty lucky that things generally grow for me although I do get the odd disappointment. After the slow start this year things are beginning to look up. Hope you enjoy the weekend. Diane

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  9. your gardens look fabulous. picture dry, dead and brown here. the heat and humidity are relentless. we got your summer and then some.

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    1. jaz@octoberfarm, our lawn is dry and brown but I have been watering the garden. Thankfully we have no water restrictions :) Thanks for the comment Diane

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  10. heavenly...you're blessed to be in midst of those cute lovely flowers..:)
    Tasty Appetite

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    1. Jay the garden is looking pretty good despite the weather, Thanks for the visit and the comment. Diane

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  11. Such a beautiful garden - full of life! I would absolutely love to visit it - hope that you have a great weekend too! ^^

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    1. Bou Shin thanks for the visit and the comment. I must say although the garden was late this year it is not looking too bad. Have a good day. Diane

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  12. You have a gorgeous garden Diane:) Have a lovely weekend!
    ~Anne

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    1. Anne thanks for the nice comment, I hope you have a relaxing weekend after your few days away. Diane

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  13. Diane,

    Your garden looks fantastic! Despite getting a late start due to the inclimate weather, you're getting an abundant return on your plants. My garden has been wrought with troubles this year. I do have lots of herbs though. =)
    Have fun with it these final weeks of summer! <3

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    1. Ree I am really lucky that the garden has picked up and if winter is late I may get a full crop of vegetables. The herbs survived winter though it is going to take the Rosemary a while to recover. Have a great Sunday and take care. Diane x

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  14. Your Garden is fantastic, Diane. Hope the weather stay nice for you.

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    1. Horst, Oh I hope so too, I could not stand it if we have an early winter and everything gets wiped out!! Have a good day. Diane

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  15. always enjoy your garden posts so pretty

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    1. Rebecca I am happy that you enjoy these posts, have a great day, Diane

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  16. Even with a harsh winter your garden looks prolific and the flowers are gorgeous.

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    1. Gaelyn I am pretty happy with the result even though the beginning was a little slow. Take care and have a good day. Diane

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  17. Hi Diane,
    I always enjoy these trips around your lovely garden.
    I haven't got a Kindle but will click the link during the period you suggest.

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    1. GaynorB, I am delighted that you enjoy my garden, hopefully you will see it for yourself in the not too distant future. I have only had my kindle for a short time but I wonder now how I survived before it!! Have a good day. Diane

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  18. Love the mushroom feature Diane, your garden is looking wonderful.
    I will defiantly download your book, as I spent a few weeks in Zim running a marathon to help save the rhino on my 40th birthday quite a few years ago. :-)

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    1. Steve it was a good way to use the tree stump and the wood to large to cut up. Also being cedar it is not very good for the fire. I hope that you enjoy our short story. Have a great day Diane

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  19. Diane your garden is gorgeous, I would love to have all that colour in mind, I am so jealous. xx

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    1. Karen I think we are really lucky that it looks so good after the late start this year. You are welcome to come and sit here and enjoy :) Have a great day Diane

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  20. Oh your garden is doing really well considering all the weather. So many lovely flowers you have it must look lovely. Interesting to see all the produce from your fruit and veg. I've never seen hazel nuts fruit before (is fruit the right word?).
    You must put a lot of effort and work into your garden and it really shows - looking good!!! :)

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    1. Ellie, walnuts nuts, hazel nuts etc are the seeds; (in most cases, peanuts are legumes!) - the fruits (in a technical sense) include the shells and husk that enclose them. Hope that makes sense. I hope we will get a good crop this year if the worms and the dormouse don't beat us to it! Take care Diane

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  21. it's really a while since you last showed some photos of your garden. There are lots of pretty beautiful flowers in your garden, looks like you are having quite a a good harvest there!

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    1. Lena I love a good harvest but it always means lots of work bottling so we have food in winter. I have discovered that bottling is much more successful for me than freezing and I have not go masses of freezer space anyway. Take care Diane

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  22. Your flowers and garden are AMAZING!

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    1. Pam thanks, I am pretty happy after the slow start. Have a good day Diane

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  23. Your garden is looking lovely. The courgette and luscious beans have me starting to think about what I will attempt here over the next NZ summer. (I'd best start preparing the containers with some sheep manure pellets while the temps are lower so it wont smell like a sheep farm!)

    I hope you sneak a little bean or three to munch on while working outside - I wont tell Nigel, promise!

    Michelle xxxx

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    1. Michelle I am happy with the garden now but I was worried a few month back! Ha ha usually with the beans it is pick two and eat one, they are delicious straight from the garden as are the little tomatoes :)
      I hope that you are well and taking care of yourself. Love to both you and Zebby cat. Diane xx

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  24. this is unbelievable to me ! so beautiful and useful at the same time, I also love the first mushroom lavender photo !
    my yard is tiny and looks like the jungle !

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    1. This is Belgium, a garden that is not useful is not a garden to me. Even our small yard in the UK we managed to grow a few tomatoes. The food just tastes so much better than from the shops! Enjoy your day Diane

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  25. That's lovely...I am just SPEECHLESS after going through the garden pictures! The flowers look stunning and the veggies and fruits...oh, yum! I can only imagine having a beautiful garden like this, sitting here in Hong Kong's concrete surroundings...Happy for you!
    http://cosmopolitancurrymania.blogspot.hk/

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    1. Purabi Naha Ha ha I am glad that I left you speechless :) We have been to Hong Kong and I can imagine how you appreciate a garden after living in a concrete jungle. I am not used to living anywhere without some space so I think other than a holiday in Hong Kong I would not survive!! Take care Diane

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  26. Quel magnifique Jardin. Le paradis. Tu as de la chance d'avoir tant de belles plantes et arbres fruitiers autour de toi.
    A bientôt

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    1. Merci pour le commentaire. J'aime mon jardin et je suis heureux d'avoir des légumes frais. Bonne journée. A bientôt. Diane

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  27. I love your garden! So nice to enjoy homegrown harvest!

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    1. Sonia I am always happy to have my vegetables straight from the garden, they always taste so much better :) Have a good day Diane

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  28. Difficult start or no, your garden has wonderful color this year. It must bring you great pleasure. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Mary, I am amazed by the result and yes, although it is hard work it does give me much pleasure. Keep well Diane

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  29. The mushroom garden looks good - excellent for a really sunny spot. I planted some drought-tolerant plants in sunny spots but, since it's been raining pretty much every day, they don't look happy. Still the lilies and the soft fruit seem to be enjoying the rain. The scent of lilies on a warm evening is pretty special.

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    1. Phil I am fairly happy with the mushroom garden but I was hoping for a little more colour by now :-) The Star Gazers in the garden have a wonderful perfume, and as you say on a warm evening it is delightful. Have a good day Diane

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  30. Hi Diane, made it here at last to admire your garden. A great post which I thoroughly enjoyed but then you know how much I love the garden. The mushroom flowerbed is such a great idea and it is already looking well established.

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    1. Linda glad you have made it :) I am hoping for a bit more colour in the mushroom garden for next year but I have to find some drought resistant plants to go with the lavender and the sedum. Mind you, if all the succulents double up there will not be much space left :-)) Have a good week. Diane

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  31. For a garden with a slow start it is doing amazingly well. I would hide the barn wall by growing a climber up it. I do envy you being able to grow a blue hydrangea. Mine has reverted to pink.

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    1. cheshire wife, We have a very friendly French neighbourhood, all but one person, and it is his barn wall that neighbours our property. He lives up the road. I would not dream of growing a creeper on it as he would complain and any damage to the wall would cause more than a few problems. Nobody in the hamlet can stand the man, he is a miserable bachelor and complains about every thing that happens in the hamlet. The wall is thankfully only in a small corner so it is not a huge problem.
      That hydrangea seems to change colour through the year, starting out as pink and ending up as blue. To change your hydrangea back to blue just add some aluminium to the soil, it usually does the trick. Take care Diane

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  32. Diane, your flowers and garden look great considering the crazy weather. Cosmos are my favorite, pretty colors and dainty. We have about the same flowers here, except for Love-in-Mist. It's pretty! The drought is so bad here this year. We had a new deck built and the new bushes and flowers and around it are just hanging in there, even with watering all the time. We've planted grass seed twice to no avail so will just wait until it's cooler and hopefully some rain. Your mushroom garden is pretty cool!

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    1. Pam I am sorry to hear that your garden is struggling. I know the feeling as last year we had no rain here for 5 months in summer it was terrible. I am doing a lot of watering this year, but we have had the small light shower occasionally which helps. Nigel came back up from the garden yesterday and he said he could hear it growing :-) The courgette is literally taking off and has now just covered the fence despite me picking out the end shoots!! Have a good week Diane

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  33. DIANE... Que VEGETACIÓN y QUE FLORES TAN PRECIOSAS TIENES!!!
    Mil gracias por tus PALABRAS y tu GENEROSIDAD. UN ABRAZO "-"
    Conxita

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    1. Te de Ternura, Gracias por tu visita y tu comentario encantadora. Buen día. Diane

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  34. What a lot of beautiful photo,s and collages. Have a nice day

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    1. Riet thanks for your visit and comment. Keep well Diane

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  35. I really like the mushroom garden idea, it is so neat. Love your flowers. Do you get a lot of butterflies? My beans did not do good this year but the cherry tomatoes is plenty.

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    1. chubskulit the mushroom garden worked well, we could not remove the stump it was too big so this was the next best way of using it. I think this is the best year I have ever had for beans. Sorry I can't send some to you :-) Keep well Diane

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  36. It must be wonderful to be able to grow and eat your own vegetables! Gorgeous garden!

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    1. Francesca I have always grown a few vegetables where ever I have been, even if it has had to be in pots. This garden is probably as good as any I have had except there is a lot of stone in the soil. Take care Diane

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  37. Your flowers and vegetables are gorgeous - the colors so bright! I’ll have to do a post on my garden (if I can call it that) and you will feel sorry for me, that’s for sure! I see that you mark your name on your pictures. I still don’t know how to do that on mine. I had tried to do it with Picnik but it is no longer available.

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    1. Vagabonde putting your name on photos is easy. Picasa has a facility and that is free. I have not got the facility to watermark, I just write on the photo. Looking forward to seeing a post on your garden :) Take care Diane

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  38. lovely colourful pictures of the garden Charente
    lots of hard work and fun

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    1. Torviewtoronto you are so right, it is hard work, but as long as I get good results I never mind too much. What is time consuming is preserving so we have plenty of veg and fruit for winter for winter. Enjoy your day Diane

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  39. Considering you had such a bad winter your garden looks very healthy. I'm impressed with all the fruit and veggies. It must be a great feeling to be eating home grown veggies, We have a few but not like yours. The flowers are lovely too.

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    1. diane b I have to admit to being quite impressed seeing what the weather has been like. Problem is I am a victim of my success as I am now making jams and bottling every day. Difficult to keep up but I will be grateful for it in winter :) Take care Diane

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  40. Wow! Your garden is very impressive! I'll have to show it to my father-in-law, he'll be jealous! :)

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    1. Sara Louise ha ha I be he has a good garden anyway. Many of the French around us have amazing gardens. Have a good day. Diane

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  41. Hi Diane .. the garden is looking great - well done ... considering the awful weather we've been having - looks a bumper year ahead next year for the plums etc - wonderful selection of nuts ... I remember ours from Surrey days ... and when I stayed in Kent and had the cobnuts ..

    Mrs Greenfingers - you do good!!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary it has done well but I have been having to water, the little rain we have had has helped, but not a lot. Lots of preserving going on at the moment so my days are very full. We have many, many courgettes and beans at the moment so I am bottling, pickling, jam and what have you. Now the plums are also all ready so I will be now making masses of plum sauce and jam there as well. At least we reap the rewards later in the year. Take care Diane

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  42. Just superb Diane!
    Your garden looks huge!
    Indeed all the plants seem to have recovered from this terrible winter and and your are well off between thes beauties and your veggie garden!
    Wonderful and congratulations for all the work!
    Cheers!

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    1. Hi Noushka, it is only about a 1/3 of an acre but the veg garden takes up quite a bit on one corner. It is hard work, but so long as we reap the result I have no objections. I find the preserving is what takes the longest when we have a good crop!! Keep well Diane xx

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  43. Hello Diane,
    What a wonderful shots of all these beautiful colored flowers. Great to see so much different flowers to each other. This is enjoyment!!

    Greetings, Marco

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    1. Marco Alpha thanks so much for your visit and comment I really appreciate it. I love my garden, it is quite a special part of my life :-) Greetings Diane

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  44. oh my gosh!!! what beauty and what harvest! wow...worth all the time and effort...beautiful!

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    1. Annmarie Pipa thanks so much for your visit and kind comment. It is worth all the effort, though I do sometimes wonder like now when I struggle to keep up with preserving all the fruit and vegetables! Come winter though, I am more than glad we still have vegetables and fruit in some way to eat. Take care Diane

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  45. Gosh, your flowers and veggies are stupendous! Puts ours to shame!

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    1. Vera I am sure that you exaggerate, but then I only have the garden to see to. I don't have sheep, pigs, chicken and hay-making to cope with as well. I am always amazed how much you fit into your day. Keep well and have a good day Diane

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  46. This is an amazing garden and the produce looks amazing! I do like sunflowers, but unfortunately, so do the birds who eat all the seed.s

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    1. Stephen the birds also eat the seeds from my sunflowers but as long as I can cover one flower to get some seed for next year I never mind. Have a great day Diane

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  47. I just downloaded your book, Diane, and am looking forward to it. Your garden is doing really well this year. My hydrangea is white unless we hit it with fertilizer, and then it turns bright blue, like yours.

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    1. Marjie just remember I am not an author, but it was just a case of trying to carry out my Mum's wishes of wanting to write a book. Never the less I hope that you enjoy. Diane

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  48. You are quite the gardener!!! Beautiful display!
    I love the mushroom garden :)
    I HOPE we have a real winter...last year I never donned a coat.

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    1. Auntie Bliss you have no idea how lucky you were. We were snowed in for two weeks with temperatures in the barn of -18C (0.4F. We then had a very late frost to finish things off. Keep well, hope the winter goes your way this year and stays away from us :-) Diane

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  49. lucky you! also figs in your garden-simplyheaven! I am used to them from my grant parents garden in Bulgaria:-)) lovely post, the mushroom garden corner is so beautiful and what a lovely way to show us your own harvest+garden beauties! let me know if u need some help!

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    1. Jana ha ha, help is always welcome. We are lucky with the fruit in out garden though this has been any thing but the best year. Have a great weekend. Diane

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  50. Absolutely beautiful flower and fruit shots! The mushroom garden on top is just amazing.

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    1. Thanks JM. The mushroom was a great idea using up a tree stump and also wood that it not particularly good to burn on a fire. Diane

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  51. Wow! That was indeed a great update. I really love your rose. It looks pretty in that color. Your hydrangeas are lovely as well. It love theirs shades for it is not the regular blue that I often see. It was indeed a very lovely garden! Lovely post.

    Garden shed in Auckland

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    1. Loren that rose not only looks beautiful but it has the best perfume of any rose I have ever known. I have tried to get it identified at the local nursery but they have never managed to be certain of what it is.
      Thanks so much for your visit and lovely comment. Have a great week Diane

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  52. You must have a wondrful "green thumb". Congratulations on such success after such a ghastly winter...Louise

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    1. Louise, not sure about the green thumb, I have my odd disaster but generally most things grow well. Have a good day Diane

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  53. What a lovely garden...which you must enjoy spending time in. I love how you made your mushroom garden.

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    1. backroadjournal the mushroom garden was a double inspiration. When we had the dead cedar brought down, the guy suggested the mushroom for the stump. I then said if he cut the large pieces all to the same length, I could put them around to make the garden. It was a good way to use up the wood which is not good on the fire and it made a pretty garden :-)) I gather he has made this suggestion to several others now. Take care Diane

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  54. Diane, I've published a review of your book. I did enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks Margie, I am glad that you enjoyed it :-) Diane

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  55. You are a lucky person!
    And i will be back reading more about your life in France.
    Happy Sunday to you.

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    1. Thanks Gunn for your visit and the comment, glad to hear that you will be back. Have a good day. Diane

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  56. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!


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    1. Thanks for the kind comment. Glad you like my blog. Take care Diane

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