Meeting Greeny the frog, more gardening, removing the pool and getting ready for the long journey home

Common tree frog

Common tree frog

Callum meets tree frog

Callum meets tree frog

Did I mention how wet it has been in France over the past two weeks?  Well we have only had two days where it hasn’t rained.  This, of course, is ideal for some species, not humans.  Meet the Common Stripeless Tree Frog or Greeny to his friends.  Apparently it has seen considerable population decline and is considered vulnerable according to the French National red list, so it was super to see one in our garden.

Prune tree cutting

Prune tree cutting

Our garden is a work in progress and at the moment is taking up a lot our time when at the house in France. We have a reasonable sized garden but it was previously a vineyard and so the land is undulating and is full of various weeds, such as dandelions, clover, daisies and couch grass.  The plan at the moment is to create some structure to what is a flat plot of land, with some minimal planting, as we don’t want to end up producing the traditional English country garden in France.

I would like to have a space with several fruit trees.  We are lucky enough to have a boundry that has two established prune trees in it, together with numerous self seeded small infant plants.  These we have dug up and transplanted.  These plants will form the basis of the small orchard style planting we are trying to achieve.

Last October, while walking and travelling around the local area, I gathered as many small cuttings as I could and very crudely dipped them in rooting hormone and then stuck them in the ground.  Some of these appear to have taken and are now growing. We have transplanted one of the willow tree cuttings into the garden and will be interested to see if it survives until our return in July.
 
The garden is mainly south facing but suffers from cold north westerly winds.  We have decided to plant a slow growing barrier in the form of Laurel and Elaeagnus (Ebbingei) to the west of the house, in the hope that this will provide some shelter in both the winter and summer months from the prevailing weather.IMG_2851 We have an Olive tree that came with the house and that should benefit from this shelter.  In the same area we planted a Salix and a Red Robin back in April 2012, these are not doing very well. We have also planted a couple of Vibernum Tinus close to the gates, that should provide a display of white flowers in the future at this time of year.
IMG_2847
IMG_2862We inherited an overground pool and gazebo with the house but decided to dismantle the pool and retain the gazebo to produce a seating area in the garden.  I’m afraid this meant we evicted several creatures including toads, beetles and leeches.  Although the weather has been dreadful and wet we planted a pair of Cyprus trees either side of the entrance to the gazebo.  We also purchased a Buddleia and a Feijoa Sellowiana (pineapple guava) and have planted these in the gaps between the uprights of the gazebo.imageimage Today we went to a quarry near Marmande and purchased some very large stone pebbles to put around the edge of the gazebo.  While we were gardening in the very soggy ground my son was aquaplaning across the bottom of the garden, becoming a complete mud boy.

Not Callum but he did looked like this!

Not Callum but he did look like this!

So after hand washing his clothes, my husband bathing the dog and grandma raking we are all bushed and ready for an evening of TV.

Below are some ideas for garden furniture and terracotta plant pots.  It’s always good to have ideas I think:)imageimageimageimageimage
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