My French gar­den

Living France - - Au Jardin -

How have you de­vel­oped it?

Sue and Neil Spoon­ley bought their house in Beyssenac in Cor­rèze in 2000, but only moved there per­ma­nently six years later. Since mov­ing they have spent much time on the gar­den and won the de­part­men­tal ac­co­lade of ‘Best Gar­den Vis­i­ble from the Road in Cor­rèze’ in 2011 and 2013

What was your gar­den like when you first ar­rived?

There was land of 7,000m2, but you could not call it a gar­den when we bought it. How­ever, it was seg­mented into dif­fer­ent ar­eas by fences, walls and a lane, which had not been touched for over five years. Grad­u­ally over the years we have tamed our gar­den, and cre­ated a va­ri­ety of ‘rooms’ with dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics. The rough field is now a park with very large beds of bushes, flow­ers and fruit trees. What had been a veg­etable gar­den many years ago was stripped out and has

be­come a mix of flow­ers, fruit­ing bushes, and veg­etable beds. Else­where we have added fruit trees and built a range of flower beds, but planted with peren­ni­als. We im­me­di­ately planted small fruit bushes so by the time we moved here per­ma­nently six years later we had well-es­tab­lished bushes de­liv­er­ing all the fruit we wanted.

What grows well in your area of France?

Weeds! Al­most ev­ery­thing grows well here. How­ever, each year is very dif­fer­ent, and some years some­thing grows well, and the next year it is a com­plete dis­as­ter.

What tips would you give to some­one with a gar­den in your area?

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, you should look to get a good bal­ance be­tween shrubs and plants. With­out shrubs, this year would have been a dis­as­ter as the heat has dam­aged al­most all the an­nu­als and peren­ni­als. And then aim at keep­ing the gar­den main­te­nance down.

What do you en­joy most about the gar­den?

We love to walk around and see the things that have grown from all our ef­forts of sow­ing, plant­ing, prun­ing, weed­ing, mow­ing etc. It is not only flow­ers but all the veg­eta­bles and the fruit as well. With­out a gar­den to fill the lovely sum­mer days, what would you spend your time on?

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