La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Garden That Never Sleeps

We live in a part of Ireland where it hardly ever freezes. The temperatures are mild in winter. And summer.
From autumn through to spring storms batter us from the west, treating us to horizontal rain.  The sun doesn't come out as much as we'd like it to and skies are often overcast.
All this doesn't mean there isn't something to look at in the garden during this time of year. Some plants keep on flowering all through winter, like the calendula (marigold). However, I've never known hydrangeas to keep on giving.

Like this one. It sprang  a flower bud in  late autumn and came to full bloom. A bright blue splash of colour that I look at often through the window. It has started to get a bit rusty here and there from the wind though.

Another one,still in the pot, has now produced a bud.

This vinca (or periwinkle) was planted last spring/summer and has come on in leaps and bounds. Also producing its first flowers.

My white rose that just kept going from summer onward, but now seems to contemplate hibernating. Only 2 flowers at the moment.

A wild rose. Is it a dog-rose ? It was dormant for a while, but look at it now.

The wallflowers.

A lonesome feverfew flower.


Some of the daffies are well and truly about to pop.  I can't boast about mine, because my neighbouring friends down the road, Maggie and Richard, had some flowering two weeks ago already.

Nature might freak out if the weather does decide to give us a spell of frost. And it could happen of course. It's not because we live in a mild climate zone that we can't get the surprise of a cold snap.
We'll have to take it as it comes.

Patricia xxx...x


  1. It has been a very strange winter. Surprised that your hydrangea is still flowering. Great to see signs of spring, though.

  2. What always amazes me that in a dry spell flowers will die back but the damn weeds go on flourishing !

  3. You do know that it is an Official drought in Ireland when no rain has fallen for three weeks. We came fairly close to that last year between April and May, up here in the midlands :) :)

    1. I'm afraid I can't remember that far back. ;)
      All joking aside, the 'micro'climate in your area is slightly (lots) dryer than here in the southwest.
      In fairness it doesn't even take three weeks for the bogland here to dry up completely.
      All of a sudden I remember last year April and May. I wrote about 25 letters to politicians and 'important' people concerning all the gorse fires in the surrounding area. I got 3 replies back. But that's beside the point. It was indeed dry then. :)

  4. There is a lot going on in the garden in this milder weather isn't there x

  5. I haven't ventured into my garden of late other than to empty the compost bin perhaps a should...........

    I am unsure whether to be amazed or concerned about the very early arrival or spring or perhaps we should be calling it the cancellation of Winter!


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