Getting Started with a New Garden

(Roger Waldram) #1


We bought our old house in 33540 near Sauveterre-de-Guyenne in May 2015. We have replaced the house & barn roof & are now turning our attention to the garden.

We have 2500m & because the trees had been neglected for years we paid a good tree surgeon to do some felling & pruning. A good job because in the large pine, now felled, there were those processional caterpillar nests & we have a 'nosy' miniature schnauzer.

The garden is grassy & slightly sloping & now full of light.

I have several questions:

I guess soil preparation would be similar to UK-rotovate & add lots of manure-horse or cow muck? Can anyone recommend a good book for gardening in France-particularly what to do when? Do you have recommendations for sourcing seeds, plants, trees, rotavator etc.?



(Roger Waldram) #2


I found these in the Garden section of The Times-we subscribe online & thought they might be of interest,


I've shared this article from The Times for you to read:

Fragrant and eye-catching evergreens to plant now

Alice Bowe

Times Newspapers Limited, publisher of The Times and The Sunday Times websites, is not responsible for the content of this email. Use of the article and the website is subject to the website terms of use.


(Roger Waldram) #3


Making progress with our garden. The builders have used their diggers to do some levelling so there is now a more gentle slope that is good. Bought a big bag of grass seed from LeClerc Brico at Langon. We have a nice patch of garden next to the fossage and the new drive at the front.

Our quest is now for a decent rotavator with rear tines. My left ankle is still a bit weak after breaking my leg and the Honda F560 looks just the job-tho' at a price! Also wondering about a Husqvarna or an Eden Parc with a Honda engine. Can't wait to get started tho' after 20C during the week it's now overcast with a very cold wind-Gironde.

Any rotavator advice would be welcome.

All the best,


(Roger Waldram) #4

Ours, is Richie Poole - he also has a fishing lake - (warning the fish pics may put you off your croissants!)

(Barbara Deane) #5

morning Roger.

I Wonder if we are using the same tree surgeon.

(Roger Waldram) #6

A Mag Box is a TV box that uses the internet to connect to service providers-here's a link .

(Peter Bird) #7

Sounds an adventure ! Bon chance.

Surrounded by vines sounds like you will be alkaline around the 6.5 ish in which case the manure will help you acidify the soil a bit. It's said (and this is subjective among people who work in the trade) that the ideal ph for a lawn is 5.8 so you may not be far off.

Maclaren is a menace to decent football teams. Newcastle are in one heck of a state, his days are numbered...

What's the 'Mag' box ?

(Roger Waldram) #8

Thanks Peter. I've bought a soil tester but not used it yet. An old compost heap came with the house together with a barn full of scrap wood unfortunately. Our local area is Entre Deux Mers & we are surrounded by vines. Neighbours are French so conversation is quite limited due to our rust French, although we are having weekly lessons.

Our asked our maire about bois de chauffage for our wood-burner & I could ask him about a pepininériste (sorry about the acute rather than grave accent!) as well. Part of our difficulty is lack of local knowledge. We knew Lot et Garonne quite well & stayed in the Hymer at Le Cabri at Duras that we also knew. We loved & love this house despite not knowing the Gironde too well. Also we didn't explore much in the Hymer-a little hazardous on narrow roads. It's very much living & learning at the moment-never boring & regularly great fun.

Derby are going great at the moment-thank God we sacked McClaren! In fact, I've watched 'em live on Sky (£6.95 for a 1 day Sport pass) twice thanks to StrongVPN & Orange Livebox. Waiting delivery today of a Mag set top box so we can get all the Sky channels for €26 a month. We used to have BT Infinity 2 fibre optic broadband & Orange was better for football streaming! No idea how or why.

Sorry off topic & time to shift wood from the barn into the house for the wood-burner fire & more from the courtyard to the barn so the builders can start concreting in January 2016. I's all go!

(Peter Bird) #9

Hi Roger, any idea what kind of soil you have ie acid, alkali or neutral (ph) etc ? If the soil quality is ok then I wouldn't overdose on manure etc Ok, the grass will be rampant but so will those darned weeds ! The best fertilizer for a lawn is often 'homemade' that is to say from your grass clippings. Each mow, if allowed to stay on the grass cuttings will permeate in the earth and give you an NPK value of 4 2 1 approximately. This is a natural fertilizer so you would be keeping Prince Charles happy too !!

I would look for a local 'pepinièriste' to support the local economy but Jardiland and the like are pretty good.

Rams are doing ok.

(Terry Williams) #10

I would use a local garden centre/nursery for trees, or other large plants because they will know best what will grow well in your area and will be able to advise what to avoid. The big chain stores like Jardiland, Baobab, Delbard etc are a good starting point for things like bulbs. If you have one near you they should also have the local knowledge.

For seeds we have used Graines Baumaux but there are any number of mail order/on line suppliers, starting with the ubiquitous Bakker.

If you have an Espace Emeraude outlet nearby that can be a good source for all kinds of machinery.

And France is no different from the UK when it comes to soil preparation.