About the garden
Our own garden is in the Gironde department of South West France, not far from the beautiful city of Bordeaux and within easy reach of the Atlantic coast. We are in an area known as Entre-Deux-Mers, literally translated as "Between Two Seas". The seas referred to are the tidal reaches of the Dordogne river to the north and the Garonne river to the south of us. We think it is the most beautiful part of Gironde, known for rolling hills, vineyards, woodland and grassland.
We live in a winemaker's cottage which was built some time before the French Revolution. Attached to the house are two barns - a large cattle barn and a chai, or winery which still has its original concrete wine vats (or "cuves"). The garden is around an acre in size with a clay over limestone soil and the climate is moderated by being relatively close to the coast. However, we have recently experienced summers with many dry days of 40C+ temperatures and regular winter temperatures of -7C. We grow vegetables, fruit trees and garden ornamentals plus we keep a few hens. A degree of self sufficiency with minimal environmental impact has always been our aim and learning to garden in an increasingly dry climate, which can also accommodate torrential downpours, is our challenge.
Meet the gardeners
Richard and I divide the gardening chores between us - he majors on fruit and veg, grass cutting and tree pruning. For me it is ornamentals, herbs and "edimentals" - that is ornamental plants which you can eat or, to put it another way, edible plants which you grow amongst your flowers and shrubs. We have gardened together for over 40 years and at one point owned and ran a fruit farm in Northumberland. We still keep chickens - and in the past also kept bees, sheep and ducks. We bought our first house here in 2005 and moved somewhere smaller - as we are not getting any younger - in 2014. The garden at our present house was a rough cut field, and has been a work in progress for the last 8 years.
Gardener and writer
Gardener and sports fanatic
Pest control officer