Floral dispays in France

by Pippa Greenwood

The weather was fantastic. But it was the gardens and floral displays that put a smile on my family's faces.

Pippa GreenwoodI'm just back from holiday. It was amazing - all the things you might hope for. We stayed in a lovely, peaceful spot in the Loire Valley in France, where we had the chance to switch off and do plenty of cycling.

The weather was fantastic. But it was the gardens and floral displays that put a smile on my family's faces. I always thought that gardening and floral displays were pretty well an English obsession, but comparing what we saw along the roads and lanes, and indeed in people's front gardens, I've got to admit that the French have it too.

We saw so many small to medium plots of immaculately maintained vegetables, often in full view of the road, and looking lovely. And then the most extraordinarily bright and yet beautiful flower displays in tiny strip front gardens, off lamp posts, on the corner of the roads - just about everywhere.

We were truly amazed, and I hate to admit it, but the overall effect was totally gorgeous and put us on the other side of the Channel to shame. Now before I'm met with a flurry of "aaah, but they've got the climate", let me assure you that while we were in the lovely place we rented, we tried to keep the plants in the garden going. It was an uphill struggle, as the soil was extremely dry and the sun was often excessively hot. The plants that looked as if they'd been put in fairly recently were certainly a lot harder to get going than those I might have tried to establish in my own garden. I just hope we're not about to lose our gardening crown!

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Gardeners' World Web User 29/08/2009 at 09:17

We agree, the flowers and attention to detail in individual houses and corporate displays in France put our town in UK to shame. Civic pride in UK seems to be slipping.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/08/2009 at 11:35

I have just come back from a week at my mobile home in France while there I planted a lemmon tree in a pot will it survive

Gardeners' World Web User 31/08/2009 at 08:33

I've never thought of gardening as being an "English" obsession! I'm a very obsessed gardener on the West Coast of Scotland where the climate is difficult, especially the last few years of torrential rain and high winds almost all year round. I'm not alone and we produce some pretty wonderful flowers fruits and vegetables, due to the right plants in the right place and some very hard work in difficult conditions. Gardening isn't something to be nationalistic about!

Gardeners' World Web User 01/09/2009 at 08:20

I am English living in lovely East Lothian. We have strong winds and a very drying climate. We have a lovely garden with hard work and persistance. Just like gardening anywhere in the worlk it has its problems. It would be very boring if we all could and would grow the same plants all over the country. I am a British national by the way.Mary

Gardeners' World Web User 02/09/2009 at 15:35

I have a 30ft apple tree in my garden which produces cooking apple size fruits. The skins are deep red, and the flesh is red also. The blossoms are pink and the leaves red. I use these apples for cooking, chutney, and if you like a slightly sharp flavour they are also good to eat raw. Does anyone know what the name of these apples could be please? It was already in my garden 30 years ago.

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