mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


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Journées du Patrimoine

Le Jardin de Cuy

An oasis of charm in the wild Morvan

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It was cold and wet for this year’s Open House weekend so I decided to stay close to home and explore a garden that I had never visited before.

Le Jardin de Cuy is a Jardin Remarquable designed around a maison forte. The origins of the fortified house date from the 14th century and until the French Revolution it was the home of the Seigneurs de Cuy.  In 2001 the present owners began to transform one of the meadows into a garden full of romance and charm.

The paths through the two hectare sized, contemporary garden lead along fruit trees, a terraced garden with dark leafed plants,  potager or kitchen garden,  and a cut flower enclosure, an oval with tall grasses; and there are herbaceous mixed borders around the ancient courtyard.

There is an ancient cypress tree standing sentinel-like alongside the house, an avenue of 25 swamp oaks and lots of interesting plants – even a pistachio tree.

Water adds to the sense of calm with four small lakes in a row, hedge homes for wildlife and a gently sloping valley with Charolais cows.

Until the end of September the garden is acting as the perfect backdrop for sculptures made using local clay created by sculptor Andrew McGarva.

http://www.acmcgarva.com/sculptures/

To find out more http://www.journees-du-patrimoine.com/DEPARTEMENT/journees-patrimoine-58-nievre.htm

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A Gorgeous Glut

It’s harvest time and everyone has a huge amount of courgettes. Last year we hardly had any!  This year if you mention the word courgette, friends and neighbours widen their eyes and step back in horror with a shake of the head and a quick “Non!” Friends have even taken to arriving for aperos clutching a selection of courgettes or courgette apero cakes – even better!

One lovely friend had too many tomatoes and bought a big bag along to a party.  I love tomatoes so it was a great present for me.

The freezer is full of courgettes and runner beans, haricots espagnole and a variety of different soups.

Our vine hasn’t given us so many grapes as usual but they are sweet and juicy.  We have turned them into juice and are eating the rest.

We will just have to get inventive with the courgette recipes.  There’s ratatouille, chutney, soup, braised, grilled, roast, stuffed, pureed, shredded, salad, cakes and bread.

Any other ideas?

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Back to Routine

September brings a change in energy as the days are cooler and shorter, summer is coming to an end.  It is time to get back into routine again.

It’s la rentrée today, back to school and college but here in France, la rentrée is far more than that.  In August it’s not just school that is out but the government, offices, restaurants and businesses are also AWOL. Many French families take a long holiday for much of August too.

For weeks shops and the media have been talking about la rentrée.  The supermarkets have been piled high with exercise books, pens and folders. Harrassed mamans scan the aisles clutching long lists because French pupils are expected to provide all their own stationery and equipment.

This weekend our friends and neighbours have been wishing us and each other bonne rentrée à tous.

For me, la rentrée has a special significance this year as I am returning to normal routine (I hope!) after an operation and long convalescence. Chez moi, je suis le chef du bureau and my desk had ended up being a dumping ground.

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I have been preparing for la rentrée by tidying up, putting my papers in order and organising…ranger mes affaires,  trizer les papiers and organiser.

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I wish you a bonne rentrée.  Je souhaite une bonne rentrée.