Monday, 14 August 2017

The height of summer.....what can you grow that keeps on flowering

French Properties Direct is selling a gorgeous house and art gallery in Tarn-et-Garonne, South West France. We asked the owners how they keep their garden looking so beautiful. Here is how they do it:

La Barriere, an 17th century Quercy farmhouse, has been our home here for 25 years.  In choosing the property one of its irresistible attractions was a walled garden.  It had been neglected for 60 years so I had a blank, if very weedy, canvas to work on.  My gardening inexperience showed in the first few years as I was seduced into trying to grow totally unsuitable plants.  In attempting to keep them alive I landed us with colossal water bills.  Fortunately, there is a very supportive gardening fraternity in this area so I was able to find out what actually thrives here.  We regularly visit each other’s gardens, swap seeds, cuttings and growing tips.

Here in the S.W. the growing season is long but winter temperatures can dip briefly below minus 10 c., so tender plants need protection.

There are lots of annuals that self-seed prolifically and seem to survive our hot, dry summers.  I’ve had a lot of success with eschscholzia, tagetes, cosmos, nigella, larkspur, bidens   and amaranth.  I’ve picked out a couple of photographs of perennials though which are blissfully happy here.  The first is Campanula Poscharskyana.  It’s a low growing blue bellflower which spreads quickly and is good for sun or part shade.  When the flowers are over you are left with a neat clump of bright green foliage.  

The second favourite is Erigeron Karvinkianus ‘Profusion ‘.  It’s daisy like foliage turns from white to pink.

Now we have our house on the market and, for family reasons, intend to return to the U.K.  It will undoubtedly be sad to leave.  Gardens are never static and I’m sure new owners will make changes.  I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t evict all the very happy residents here in the form of plants, birds, bugs, butterflies and hedgehogs and even find room for more.

Catherine Smedley

Here is a photograph of Catherine's walled garden -

And you can read more about the property for sale here:  

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