French holiday rental: getting to grips with the garden

They say that when you inherit a new garden you should watch it for a year before you make any decisions about what you want to change, and this gem of advise is even more important when you move to another country with a completely different climate.


I must admit the garden at Bijou has been an absolute joy to watch unfold as the seasons progress.  Some of the plants look familiar with the only difference being that they grow more quickly over here due to the warmer climate.  However, there are other plants that are completely new such as the massive fig tree in the garden.  I love figs so can’t wait until they are ripe.


I do like flowers like the jasmin hedge beside the pool where the beautiful buds give off the most wonderful perfume filling the air on a warm summers evening.



However, for me, there is nothing more satisfying than growing things you can eat.  Just walking out of the kitchen and into the garden to pick that key ingredient and add it to your recipe is a very satisfying feeling.  As I walk around the garden each separate area has a culinary secret waiting to be picked and utilised.


The vine covered terrace with its grapes already forming – we have a wonderful recipe for pickled grapes which are a lovely alternative accompaniment to serve with cheese.

Nestled amongst a flower filled boarder is a clump of sage which, is a fragrant addition to a mushroom and pine nut mixture to stuff pork filet wrapped in Serrano ham.


Then moving along there is a mountain of mint – Lamb? I hear you say – not at all – Mojitos is what we say.  Cheers!

Learn more about Bijou Barn our french holiday rental for your summer holiday this year.

Our Very First Night at Bijou Barn

As I sit on the sofa and look around the room it feels like we have lived here forever – its such a comfortable place and relaxing space.  It’s hard to imagine not having the tv, sofas, cd player, books, etc etc but that’s exactly what it was like when we spent our first night at Bijou.

We had just driven 1000 miles with a car full of things, signed for the house and then it was the exciting and magical time when you open the front door and walk in to your new home.  We unpacked the car including blow up mattresses, sleeping bags, clothes and the all important bottle of champagne to toast the new place.

Graham quickly lit the wood burning stove and the warmth soon spread throughout the cavernous room and into the bedrooms beyond.  As none of our furniture was arriving until the following day, the house was certainly looking a bit on the minimalist side but we didn’t care as we sat beside the fire drinking champagne whilst seated on two plastic chairs rescued from the garden.

We were so happy to be the proud owners of our new home in France – we had waited for what had felt like an eternity to achieve this new start in a completely new place and it felt great!

The following day the removal lorry arrived – well it arrived eventually due to the fact that it had to reverse the last half kilometre as the driver was worried about getting stuck. Then we ended up helping the removal men to  carry all our possessions the last 100 metres uphill to the house with wheelbarrows.  It was like a never ending wheelbarrow race but we managed and slept very well that night, I might add.

Its very strange when you receive your worldly possessions which have been in storage for eight months all at the same time!  The number of boxes was quite overwhelming and I remember thinking that I would never get them all open and find homes for all the contents.

As I sit on the sofa this evening and look around at all our things, the books filed away into the newly painted bookcase, the neatly stacked CDs, our favourite pictures adorning the walls, new light fittings, cushions and all the kitchen utensils arranged in the cupboards, I realise how far we have come and that this barn has transformed into our home – it is our jewel – our Bijou Barn.