Category Archives: Gardening

All posts on gardening, perennials, and fruit

Perennials Rule

It’s been four years now that we’ve been working in this garden. The first year it was a war zone destroying the nettles and getting some shape in the garden. The second year we enjoyed the sowing and found out the hard way that the power of weeds are much stronger than that of delicate seeds. In the third year we started to reconsider our approach with planting in open soil. With the amount of unwanted seeds and roots in the soil, we needed to do something dramatic.

Now it’s year four and we start to see some final shapes. Perennials rule. We’ve created 9 unique flower beds with each it’s own theme. From Brunnera to Bingerden, from white to red and from Spring to Autumn. Only 2 to go and we’re ready for the seasons.


The view on the flower garden from the orchard

The yellow bed

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Pinterest (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

Supergites’ Garden Inspiration on Pinterest

This month I’ll be planting the white border. I finally discovered a benefit of the new thing on the web; Pinterest.

On Pinterest I’m gathering all sorts of images to describe what the border will look like and mention all flowers that I’ve already been preparing in a seeding tray like garden Cosmos and Leucanthemum.

In one glance you’ll get the picture of how the Supergites garden might look like this Summer. Soon I’ll be searching for the Yellow border, the Hollyhock section and the Vineyard 🙂

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16/03/2012 · 8:54 am

Learn how to apply polypropylene fabric the hard way…

Side garden Probably you do know people who don’t like gardening. I guess everybody does. So, so do we… the previous owners of our water mill. They neglected 90% of the garden because of this. They mowed a tiny lawn and planted fast growing perennials around it in the specific French manner.  This means; all as solitaires with no recognisable pattern. This also led to a ‘certain’ disregard of the rest of the garden and a prosperous growing nettle field.

When we bought the mill in 2009 over 4/5 of the garden was one big impenetrable bush of nettles and thorns. We seriously had some work to be done. (Read: Back to Basics) Still it was not till last year when we decided to move to some heavier methods. The nettles just kept coming back. We needed Weed Control! Polypropylene fabric was the answer. (Read: We Didn’t Start this War.) We placed it where we replanted the beds and covered it with woodchips. #fail. We learned how to apply polypropylene fabric the hard way… these are the 7 rules: Continue reading


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“We didn’t start this war.”

It has been tough. We worked so hard to get the weeds under control but we didn’t succeed in most part of the garden. Every weekend that we spend in France we only had to work to get the flower garden ‘clean’. But as soon as we missed a weekend it all came back. Let’s call it green hell. It was very demotivating.

Only 6 weeks ago, when i was in Shanghai for a conference my partner and Hendrik Dekker (our friend & landscape architect) decided to take a dramatic step. They used the foil that was supposed to cover the paths and covered the squares of perennials and immediately topped it with chopped bark. I was in shock. “It’s so ugly.”

But looking at the first bed with groundcover last weekend i noticed one tiny needle trying to peek out. I killed it. “Hey, we didn’t start the war.” I drove by the garden centre in Reims to buy enough for two more squares. I truely want to enjoy the garden.

If you buy an old neglected garden do not hesitate to cover it all in March when everything is still ‘sleeping’. It saves you a lot of work in the years to come.

Fight against Weeds

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The French Tawny Owl

A tawny owl (Strix aluco).

Image via Wikipedia

Sleeping at the French country side especially in an area with small woodlands, the night sounds are exciting. Some say it’s scary and it gives this person the creeps. You can hear the Midwife Toad bleep and the moth hit the lights. But there’s even a bigger joy: the spooky cry of the Strix aluco or the Tawny Owl.

It starts just after sunset and around dawn when these birds are less afraid to be heard or ‘seen’ as you like. It’s when they make sure the rest of the night birds know their territory for the hunt. “IBU, I’m on this side of the valley.”UHU, I know.” They continue their cries for an hour or so before they chose the night for their soundless hunt. You can’t hear them fly at all. This is amazing since they can hold up to a meter in wingspan.

You can read all about these owls at Wikipedia. And you can hear them here and of course at our Supergite at Tourteron.

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Goat for Rent

Do you recognize this problem? You got a beautiful garden but there’s this one corner that is always a bit of a mess. It’s just too rocky, too weedy or too damp. As a good gardener you’re just about able to hide it behind the roses or some bush. But it’s there to irritate you every time you take that better look in your green paradise.

We have this problem too. It’s 4,000 m2 🙂

We own this enormous field. Walk out of the kitchen, through the orchard and pass through the flower garden, climb the dyke and there it is… one acre of weed. *Gosh* what to do with it? We cut it the first summer, tried to poison it the second but this year we lost the energy to even look at it until now. We have the perfect solution: Let’s Rent a Goat. This is the official call to our fellow denizen:

Chers amis de Tourteron,

Nous avons 4,000 mètre carré qui est inutilisé. Il est plein de mauvaises herbes.Connaissez-vous quelqu’un qui a une chèvre qui a besoin de plus d’espace?Nous aimerions apporter notre territoire de placer la chèvre. Elle peut mangertoutes les mauvaises herbes gratuitement.

Marco et Hugo

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Homemade Cider (part 2)

After pressing all the juices out of the must, you fill the canister, add the yeast and close the lit with a water lock. I didn’t know that the temperature is supposed to be around 20º Celsius. This is never the case in our house so we had to stoke it big time. Placing the canister closer to the heater did help as well. 🙂

The water lock will prevent fresh air coming in the canister meanwhile it helps to escape the produced CO2. The Carbon-dioxide in the canister also prevents the start of any other bacteria and fungi ‘poisoning’ the cider.

The Production of alcohol takes place in the first days. The yeast seperates the sugars in Alcohol and CO2. The produced gasses will burst out through the water lock. It’s just Continue reading

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