A British expat tells us about her garden in Corrèze in Limousin and shares some tips for other gardeners in France
Katherine Forshaw, her husband Paul and their three cats, moved from Manchester to Corrèze in Limousin four years ago. She shares her new-found interest in gardening on her blog. Katherine tells us about her garden in France and shares some tips for other gardeners in Limousin.
What was the garden like when you first arrived?
When we bought the house the garden was just a large patch of weeds, with no flower beds and a ‘hedge’ of ridiculously tall conifers and Leylandii which totally blocked the views across the fields and hills – we soon had those chopped down! The front garden was nothing more than an overgrown mass of poppies and lupins.
How have you developed it?
The front garden has become our vegetable garden. I call it a garden as I see it as more than just a source of food and try to make it look as pretty and interesting as I can. Climbing beans and sweetcorn mix with sunflowers to give height, while Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ is dotted in with the courgettes, gourds and onions to give a splash of colour. It certainly doesn’t look like a regimented French potager! We’re fortunate to have a petite source which runs through the back garden. This we’ve made into the main focal point of the garden. It’s lined with different types of hosta, astilbe and iris ensata but taking pride of place is my ‘big baby’ my Gunnera manicata, a plant I always longed to have back in the UK. It’s only in its third year and it’s already taller than me!
What grows well in your area of France?
Most plants grow well in our area but it can be a struggle to get a balance between plants which can thrive in temperatures up to 40ºC in summer yet can withstand -20ºC in winter. I don’t let the extreme temperatures worry me too much though, I buy the plants that I like and worry about how to keep them alive later! A water butt for the summer and plenty of plant fleeces for the winter is a necessity here.
What tips would you give to someone with a garden in your area?
If you don’t know what plants to buy for your garden, walk around your local villages and see what shrubs and flowers your French neighbours are growing. These are sure to be ones which will thrive in your own garden.
What do you enjoy most about your garden?
The wildlife in France is amazing and I love seeing so many different types of butterflies and bees enjoying my flowers. I love to garden but equally I love to enjoy the garden and you can’t beat sitting back with a cold glass of wine on a summer’s evening and seeing the results of all your hard work, especially when accompanied by the heavy scent of Nicotiana sylvestris.
jardin-perdu.comA British expat tells us about his garden in DordogneDo you have a garden in France you’d like to tell us about? Email [email protected]