Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Chaumont Chateau Garden Festival 2015

Les Deux Platanes is surrounded by some amazing chateaux and invariably our guests make some time during a stay to visit some of them. Recently we spent a good half day visiting the annual international garden festival at the Chateau Chaumont which runs from April to November (exact dates on website - link below). This is an annual event, every year they have a different theme for the garden creations. Universities, schools, colleges of agriculture, art schools and specialists from all over the world create a stunning variety of small gardens for this event.

Fortunately we had made a visit to the actual chateau and grounds earlier in the year and that was also a good visit and even before the garden festival opens the chateau gardens were a magnificent carpet of white flowers.
A small part of the grounds with an array of white flowers
See BLOG posting in May for more photo's of the earlier visit.

 Our return to the 2015 International Garden Festival proved to be worth while once again with an amazing display of gardens all set around a theme - extraordinary collections. I suppose its a little bit like the Chelsea garden festival but on a smaller scale.

My photos fail to do justice to the amazing and varied garden displays.

Our friend Peter admires the mists in the valley garden
Exotic plants in transit

Of course we all know they will be doing very well to match the cottage garden at les Deux Platanes!!

 So if you are here before the festival closes in November and you have an interest in gardens you could do worse than spending a half day wandering the gardens of Chaumont.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

July flowers in the garden of les Deux Platanes

I promised some photo's of the flowers in the gite/cottage garden in July so here they are taken today, Tuesday 21st July. As you can see we have managed to conserve the flowers through the hot weather and the current temperatures at around 23c are perfect.

Last year the garden was in the finals of the best flower garden (gite / holiday cottage) category in the area and this year we think its even better so you never know what might happen ! 

REMINDER: If you click on any picture with your mouse arrow the photo in the BLOG should enlarge so you can see it in better resolution.

Wallace & Grommet have a good route on the motorcycle!
The cottage garden has two terraces, this one catches the evening sun.

Hope you enjoyed the photo's.


Summer 2015

A gentle reminder arrived yesterday to say our BLOG was far from up to date so here I am up bright and early producing an update - thanks for the reminder.

This summer here in central France has been very hot and dry so far, late May, June and the first two weeks of July have been very hot, up to 40c,  so much so it has been a struggle to keep some of our flowers alive. However some careful nurturing and removing some plants into the shade of the Platanes has done the trick and the cottage garden is looking magnificent once again for our many guests to enjoy during their stay.

These photos taken early June show the flowers developing

Pictures in July will follow in the next BLOG.

Epine production 2015

The local aperitif of the area is a drink called epine. This is made at home by the majority of our French neighbors so naturally over the years we have been taught the secrets of manufacture. The basis of epine is home made 'alcohol' (eau de vie) and ours is produced from our plums and distilled by the official visiting distiller who arrives in May every year . An absolutely vital ingredient is the 'epine' tips picked fresh from the blackthorn hedgerows, wine of your choice and other 'secret' items plus some sugar.  This year we are very pleased with our 2015 vintage, even our French neighbours gave it the thumbs up.
The blackthorn tips collected in a three week window during the spring
The mixture soaking for two weeks
Filtering then into the bottles
We very much hope we have the opportunity to introduce you to 'epine' during your stay at les Deux Platanes.

40 years celebration

2015 marks our 40 years coming to Chatillon and Le Breuil so we decided to hold a celebration lunch for the hamlet's inhabitants, many of whom we have seen grow up and have families of their own.

Our marquee set up for the event
32 of the 35 inhabitants arrived for lunch and we were very happy to see them all.

 We tried to dream up a good 'English' themed barbecue for the occasion, Maureen did a great job and the meat / sausage brought from our butcher in the UK was very well received by everyone.

Célébration barbecue de 40 années

Entree / Apéritifs -

* Pimms Number 1, apéro traditionnel d’Angleterre pour une journée d'été chaude!
* Les Deux Platanes 2015 Epine
Barbecue a volonte:

Anglais agneau de printemps de notre agriculteur local au Royaume-Uni
Anglais saucisse de porc et poireaux
Anglais piment et la coriandre saucisse de porc cercle
Anglais poulet mariné au miel, de citron, l'huile d'olive, l'ail et l'origan.
Des pommes de terre avec la crème sure et sauce à la ciboulette
Carottes (Offert par Monique Royaute) 

pain à l'ail
Sélection de fromages anglais avec un fromage français de bonne compagnie
Déserts anglais typiques:
Pudding anglais d'été
fou de groseille a maquereau

We really love the sense of community here in rural France, your neighbours are so important and unfortunately we find this very different from some parts of the UK where in many places everyone seems to choose to live in isolation.

Annual  hamlet concert

Every year the local brass band arrives to provide a concert in the farmer's barn just down the road from Les Deux Platanes and true to form they arrived in early June to perform once again.

Everyone waiting for the band to commence playing!

Work continues on the renovation.

Our renovations on the house continue with 2015 hopefully seeing the finish of almost 10 years of enjoyable toil. The rear terrace required tiles so with the assistance of my neighbor we set about laying 25 square metres of tiles which we completed in two days.
It was 28c so we used a parasol to provide some shade during the work.

More or less finished on day 2

So that's it for now but look out for more updates SOON - I promise!