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Back in the Saddle

May 20th, 2019

Last week Mr Chiots and I were in Ohio visiting family (and Mr Chiots had a work meeting). I had grand plans of writing blog posts and scheduling them to post while I was gone, but there was too much to finish up in the garden before we left. I’m also trying to spend a little less time working and a little more time doing the things that I love. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I no longer write daily blog posts, taking vacation times away is also something I’ve been doing. When we were in Ohio, we took a day trip to Kelleys Island, a place I’ve visited several times in my life.

We made sure to stop at the glacier grooves, a place I distinctly remember visiting as a kid. Then we had a picnic lunch and drove the golf cart around the island looking at gardens and houses. We hiked out to Sheele Preserve and were awed by its beauty (despite the terrically muddy trail to get there).












It was a wonderful day, perfect weather for a day outside on the islands. This was our first day trip of this kind, in the future we are thinking of planning vacations to other destinations (if you have any recommendations let me know).

Farmers Market in Paris

May 8th, 2019

After spending a few days in the French countryside visiting gardens, we headed back to Paris for the rest of the week. Mr Chiots had a few meetings in the city, which was the reason we ended up in France. On Sunday morning, we decided to walk to the Eiffel tower and see the city as we walked. Our apartment was on the western side of the city, about a mile away. As we walked, we lucked out and ended up in a really great farmers market. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know how much I love farmers markets, fresh vegetables, and good food.














The Potager at Villandry

May 7th, 2019

When we visited Villandry, we saved the ornamental potager for last. Even though we had seen it from the top of the tower (which is admittedly the best viewing angle for this particular garden), it was overwhelming! There are nine beds, each with an intricate design that is different from the others.

Even though I’ve seen this garden on TV and in books, nothing prepared me for the size, scale, and detail of it. It’s truly something to behold!














The Sun Garden & Water Garden at Villandry

May 6th, 2019

After apprecaiting all the lettuce seedlings and the greenhouse, we made our way across the top of the property to the water garden and the new sun garden. The water garden is a large pond/lake, complete with a pair of swans. Compared to the rest of the garden, it’s very simple. Only lawn, water and a few box balls in containers. The walkways are gravel, which crunch nicely underfoot (a favorite sound for me). Then we made our way up a small hill to the new sun garden, which is a lot like American botanical gardens. Since this area is dominated by shrubs and perennials, it was fairly dormant when we were there.
















The pollarded lime trees are a dominate feature in this garde and are quite stunning. No doubt they look lovely when they are leafed out, in winter their skeletons create such drama, especially in their shadows.

The Greenhouse Area at Villandry

May 1st, 2019

The night before we actually toured the chateau and gardens of Villandry, we took an evening stroll around town. As we peeked over the walls at Villandry, we spotted their greenhouse and work area. After touring the inside of the chateau, we started across the top of the garden by the woodland and made our way along the wide, tree-lined walkway to the greenhouse/work area of the garden. The greenhouse is small, alongside it are quite a number of cold frames. The greenhouses were full of plants, mostly tender annuals and perennials. The cold frames were filled with lettuces in all colors and boxwood cuttings, both prominent features in the extensive ornamental potager.








Growing on one of the stone walls in the greenhouse area was this lovely clematis, which was blooming, in late March. It looks a lot like the Sweet Autumn Clematis we have in the US, but there wasn’t a tag so I’m not sure what it is exactly.


I don’t have photos of the overall cold frame area or the greenhouse area. While I’m still taking photos when I travel, I’m really trying to be selective, taking fewer photos and soaking in the garden more. It can be difficult to do both at the same time. Ideally, it would nice to visit the garden one day then return the following day for photos.

Seeds and Sundries
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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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