October calendar 2016

The garden is now being shut down for the winter, with only leeks and our tuscan kale left for picking. Last year the kale lasted us all through the winter into spring.

The blueberry bushes and our pear tree are putting on a fine display of autumn colours at the moment and in the flower garden we still have a few roses blooming and the cosmos never seems to give in, even after a couple of frosts.


September Calendar

It was a very dry September this year, with some record breaking temperatures. Combined with the dry summer it meant we had a very meagre potato crop this year. The earlies got blight and the main crop were very small. The courgettes and squash have been excellent again this month and we have apples on two of our trees.


The star flowers at the moment are the asters and the never ending morning glory.


auvergne landscapes: first autumn walk

Bilberry and Birch

I have been out walking since the beginning of September, but today was the first time that it felt properly autumnal. A little too autumnal, actually. I could have done with a slightly less of the mist, and more of the mellow fruitfulness and maturing sun. The wonderful colours made up for the weather though. The bracken is looking at its very best at the moment, and the first of the leaves are just starting to turn.

It’s been a long, hot summer, but we have had some cooler spells, with regular rain, which seems to have been ideal for berries. The hawthorns are all laden with fruit, and there are some very plump sloes in the hedgerows.

The brambles are also doing well – possibly too well in some cases. Lets hope this car won’t be needed in the near future.


I spotted this robin’s pin cushion on the stem…

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August calendar 2016

We are just emerging from another minor canicule with temperatures in the mid 30’s centigrade. So not much work has been done in the garden except for early mornings before it gets too hot. But the weather has definitely suited the Morning Glory flowers and the pattypan squash!

And its good weather for drying off the onion crop.



coping with august

Bilberry and Birch

sunflowers in the Allier Valley sunflowers in the Allier Valley

Although it has not been as consistently hot and dry as last summer, we have had several spells of very high temperatures this year. We’re just coming to the end of what will hopefully be the final week of temperatures in the mid to high 30s centigrade. I know I shouldn’t complain about fine weather, but that sort of heat really does make it very difficult to do anything, especially if it involves working with a hot blow torch!

We have developed a number of strategies to deal with the hot weather, the first of which is to visit a church, cathedral or abbey. They are always cool and dark inside, and many contain interesting and/or creepy artefacts. As a bonus, some also have shady cloisters. Bliss.

We’ve been confining our walks to early morning and evening, when it’s cooler, although we sometimes have to wait…

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three churches of the haute allier

A tour around some of the many local churches.

a lens in the landscape

We recently visited three of the small, usually 12th century churches in the scattered villages that lie in the side valleys of the Allier. These were the L’église Saint-Roch at Aubazat, Église Saint-Cirgues at Saint-Cirgues, and L’église Saint-Austremoine.

L’église Saint-Roch (Aubazat)

A feature of this church was the 15th century polychrome tableau.

Église Saint-Cirgues

This church has some parts dating back to the 11th century. However the highlights are the 15th century frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling.


L’église Saint-Austremoine

Unfortunately this church was locked so we couldn’t visit the interior. It’s setting though is superb, high in a valley, overlooking the surrounding countryside.

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developing your eye ii: triumph

a lens in the landscape

Todays prompt for the “Developing Your Eye” WordPress photo course was “Triumph”.

The apple is the sole fruit on the tree that has developed from very little blossom. However this was the first blossom we have had in three years and the first fruit from this ancient variety “Court Pendu”.

Our garden is in the Auvergne in France at 750 metres (2460′) of altitude, which gives us very cold winters and hot summers. The fruit trees were bought from a specialist local supplier at 1000 metres (3280′) so as to be accustomed to the harsh conditions!

20160803-160850Auvergne garden, August 2016

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