Case Study - An English Garden In France

A Bit About Us

In 2006 my husband Al and I moved to a beautiful old stone house with 2 acres of land in the small hamlet of La Brugue near Rouffilhac.

All the land was to the rear and side of the house - mostly field, a small copse with a water source and a few mature trees - most of them in the wrong place. There was a gentle slope away from the house and the garden faced northeast. It had never been a garden before and we had great ambitions.

La Brugue 014

What we started with in 2006


Spring 2013 - Just a few changes!

Where Do You Start?

We did our research during our first summer making notes on soil and weather conditions and discovering which plants grew happily here. We visited local garden centres and nurseries and spent a large amount of time measuring, marking out, making plans and organising the big rush for autumn.

This was the time to do the hard landscaping. It required some heavy machinery to create 3 terraces and dig out foundations for 70 metres of stone wall to give us a level areas instead of slopes. It was also the time to plant (now you could get a fork in the ground!). Specimen trees, shrubs and hedges went straight in, the potager was laid out and a large plastic tunnel ordered. It felt wonderful to be starting.

Over the years we have developed individual areas:
Perennial walk
Rose garden
Birch wood
Prairie garden
Willow dome
Dry slope
Bog garden and a blobbery!

We have built a pergola, arbour, summer house, conservatory, pavilion with green roof + many walls, fences and steps.

We also make time for leisure and have a very serious croquet lawn and a petangue court.

2010 namibia,home,pump house,conservatory and spri
2010 namibia,home,pump house,conservatory and spri

Planning Is The Key

We started with a 10 year plan and we are now approaching year 9, which means we should be nearly finished!! Well, actually we will have completed all of the major projects but there is always some tweaking to be done and the maintenance is nearly a full time job.

Some things have worked and others not, there have been one or two changes but the initial vision has almost become a reality Now things are maturing, beds filling out, trees are high pruned and rising above the shrubs giving a much more three dimensional effect. We have shadows and shade, form and movement and something of interest every month of the year.

It has been and still is a challenge, the bugs and beasties are foreign! It's either very very hot or very very cold, there is no 'normal' year - each one is different but it's gardening and that is all about suiting plant to place, wherever you are.

In order to pass on what we have learned over the past 9 years I will be writing a series of articles to include design, propagating, pruning, pests/diseases and their treatment, nurseries/shows/gardens to visit, etc.

If there are any other topics you would like covered please let me know. I am more than happy to discuss/answer questions (if I can) via email.