samedi 23 mars 2013

2013 garden furniture at IKEA

Well they keep promising that spring is round the corner but thén it snows again and we're back to winter, however the air seems softer somehow, the light more luminous, the sky less grey.  I popped my head out of the window to dead-head the primroses in the window boxes and I swear I could smell spring in the air, although it may have been the big viburnum bush coming into flower next to the window, whatever it was, it sure smelled good!

IKEA are well ahead of the game.  My local store has erected a substantial marquee just to house their garden furniture range, which is pretty wide this year with some old favourites and some new, interesting additions, and all it those IKEA prices.  I know some people who are really snobby about their garden furniture and would never consider it for their terrace.  I think they are wrong not to,at least, consider IKEA .  The pieces I have are still robust and attractive after 10 years and I like their design and innovation.  And by the way, some other makes of garden furniture are really overpriced for what they are.

Anyway I'll get off my soapbox and show you my photos of the new collection:-

These are a bit of a Fermob Luxembourg chair-like but at this price, nowhere near the expenditure..  Love the turquoise, very vivid in a green space.

 Firery orange
Modern black with matching table

Deckchairs, sun chairs and sun loungers at reasonable prices

Solar powered llights

Like this lacy, retro shaped chair

Handy trunk for  poolside

Elegant white and wood table

Paper lanterns that are also solar powered, very clever

A stylish hammock for lazy days,if you have the space

Loved this insprired display, very bohemian

Vegetable swop!

A surplus of tomatoes, too much mint, eggs up to your ears?  You need the new site, established in November last year,  Troc Légumes was started because the founder moved to live in à flat.  Hé had been used to eating fresh vegetables from the garden and he missed them.

On the site one can find individual producers who have a surplus of produce or plants and who would like to either swop or sell them at a really low price.  For example I searched in the Paris area and found someone who was willing to swop work in the garden or building work in exchange for vegetables or eggs.  Also organic eggs for sale at  20 centimes per egg.

Not only is this kind of trade economical and great for the environment (less purchases in the supermarket, less packaging) but à great way to meet other like-minded people.

Get clicking!

jeudi 14 février 2013

I'm coming back!

I've let this blog go for a little while because I've been too busy.

However, I'll be back soon, especially now the weather is less winter-like and thoughts turn to those green shoots bravely pushing their heads above the ground - look carefully and you'll see them everywhere.

Thanks for visiting anyhow, we've been getting a few hundred hits without posting, nontheless.

See you soon!

mercredi 7 novembre 2012

Pumpkin arrangement

Here's a nice arrangement outside Truffaut.  I liked the pots and the height of the arrangement in the pot behind.

Plants for a Green Winter 2012 at IKEA

From time to time the gardening department in IKEA has some really interesting and cheap pots.  Their actual plant stocks tend to be limited to indoor plants, which are also extremely reasonably priced and usually very healthy too, however, their stock of outdoor plants is sporadic.  They always seem to have new ideas in terms of containers and plants to go with them, so I think it's great that this might inspire people who aren't so confident with their gardening skills to put some green into their lives!

It was with great pleasure, though, during a recent visit,  that I discovered some excellent winter plants in stock at great prices (I guess IKEA are so large they can buy in humungous quantities and thus keep the prices down).

Cute little conifers at less than 5 Euros for 3 plants.  I'm using mine in winter windowboxes

Jolly curvy colourful metal containers in all shapes and sizes with serrated edges like pie crusts (or tartelettes au fraises here in France) to cheer up the house or the white for a touch of elegance.  Good for inside or outside

Christman Cactii in pretty colours

I thought these inside heart shaped cactii were really cute and would make a welcom present

A fantastic collection of small cyclamen in jewel colours.  Perfect to cheer up winter pots or winter windowboxes.  Make sure they don't dry out though otherwise they will shrivel up and die.  You might think because it's not hot, that plants don't need watering but in fact, the wind is a drying factor too, so keep an eye out.  There's less rain than we think!  Cyclamens look great if they are numerous and planted together or to fill in little gaps in an arrnagement or pot or corner of the garden.

Here's a new thing from IKEA that allows you to display your plants.  The pots can be inclined or up straight making a more interesting display.  I like this but I think there is perhaps something slightly wrong with the proportion of the pots and the structure, I wanted the pots to be larger but maybe with hanging or bushy plants it will look very effective.  Sorry didn't manage to remember the price, around 30 Euros I think...

samedi 27 octobre 2012

Foire d'automne 26 october - 4 november 2012

I took a trip to the Foire d'Automne at the Porte de Versailles in Paris today.  The event is open from 10h - 19h every day.  The theme of the show is 'Le Potager à Croquer' or the vegetable garden.  There are numerous seminars and free activities for all the family around the theme such as 'Coaching for Gardeners', 'Cooking seminars', 'Creating a vegetable garden' and many other interesting activities.  There was also a very interesting photographic exhibition entitled 'Des legumes et des hommes', featuring various personalities alongside the gardeners from the Potager du Roi at Versailles with their favourite vegetables.  The images were really fun and creative.

of which I will post another time when I have more images.  The exhibition will also be installed in Bercy Village in the restaurant Chai. until 31 December.;;;;

I was pleased to visit the stand of the Association des Jardiniers de France, an association that has existed since 1876, is approved by the Ministeries of Education, Agriculture and Ecology.  For 44 Euros a year, one can become a member, receive newsletters and access to the line The aims of the Association are to offer  free lessons,  seminars, visits and plant sales.  You can contact the Association at

There were a fewstands which I particularly liked the look of:-

Shooky hammocks look fabulously comfortable and perfect for a quiet corner in the garden in the summer or in the home if you have the space..
Hammocks from

These charming playhouses are easily constructed from solid wood pieces and can be constructed by the children themselves with a little help from their parents.  Better than those garishly coloured plastic houses that we see so often like a blot on the landscape beaming out like a beacon in the garden methinks.

There were also plants and unusual bulbs for sale at very reasonable prices.

And some impressive displays of vegetables

On floor One there were various stands with disparate wares ranging from scarves, leather jackets, useful items for the kitchen, jewellery, make up, kitchen ware, useful inventions, bamboo filled pillows, quilts, nutcrackers, cosmetics, creams, perfumes, herbal teas, lights, decorations, Christmas cards, African masks, coathangers - anything you care to find.  To be honest, I did find some of the wares were a bit tacky but I came home with a candle sold by Marie Claire magazine in aid of education projects in developing countries and a gorgeous deep blue lacquered bowl made from a coconut shell.  Look carefully, there is unusual treasure to find.

I also really enjoyed visiting the 'degustation' area where all manner of food and drink products were on sale.  I particularly liked the free wine tastings and I munched on an excellent sandwich with Spanish cheese and Jambon serrano which was delicious!  A nice little day out;  Nothing as grand as the main Foire de Paris but a pleasant diversion for a few hours.

mardi 23 octobre 2012

Museum of Hunting and Nature, Musée de la Chasse et Nature, hidden treasure!

I adore adore adore this not so well known Museum.  It's all in the name isn't it?  Museum of huntin' and nature.  Hmmm, doesn't exactly inspire does it?  However, if  I was to invite you to a Museum in a beautifully and sensitively restored former private historic home in the heart of the Marais which is filled with beautiful objects and exquisitely presented artefacts and natural objects, well, how does THAT sound?  Better?  Well, expect the second description because this Museum is simply top all round.

The entrance is a discreet doorway in the rue des Archives in the heart of the Marais in 3rd arr.  The small lobby is discreet with a tiny cloakroom but the fun begins here.  Look at the animated notice telling you what to do and what not to do in the Museum, with captions in French, Latin and English and amusing characters.  It's here you begin to realise how much thought and humour has gone into making this Museum a little bit different.

The Museum is housed in the Hotel de Guénegaud which is the only private mansion still existing in Paris.  The gorgeous building was fully renovated in 2007.  The balustrades, chandeliers, door handles and screens were designed by Brazilian artist Saint Clair Cemin and are made to look like organic shapes such as vines, antlers and tree branches.  The walls and doors are painted in discreet colours and the furniture that houses the collection has been exquisitely crafted especially to display the artefacts and engravings in a really unusual way.One room has a ceiling completely covered in owl feathers, which is an installation work by Belgian artist, Jan Fabre.

The collection displayed is that of François and Jacqueline Sommer who were avid hunters and conservationists.  The Museum's introduction states that hunting and nature have always been intimately linked and that the Museum aims to help visitors discover or rediscover this harmony.

The Museum has been described as one of the most inventive and rewarding in Paris and has been described as quirky, astonishing and strange.  It is indeed all of those things.  There may be parts that shock like the grand hall of hunting trophies (that is not without its own touch of humour) but all in all, it is a tasteful and very interesting place that challenges and amazes and entertains.

The reason I mention it here (at last she gets to the point you might say) is that I had heard that the Museum had a fabulous garden but it is not accesible nor visible to the visitor.  I chanced my arm and mentioned this to the very friendly and knowledgeable guard (in fact all the personnel were very welcoming, another change from the run of the mill Musuems in Paris).  I asked if I might be permitted to catch a glimpse of the famous garden.  Well, no problem.  I was ushered upstairs back into the Museum and one of the gauze blackout blinds protecting the artefacts from the light was very temporarily lifted just for me.  What a treat!

The garden is fairly small but perfectly formed, just tlike the Museum in fact.  It has two characters - the formal French side and the wilder English country garden side.  The guard explained that the garden reflected the two personalities of the owners - one French and one English aristocrat - one very controlled but containing a sense of abandon and wildness, like nature - he preferred the English country garden btw.  I was permitted to take a few photos quickly not using flash so that not too much light entered the exhibition room.  And here are my photos (taken on a rainy day)/-

This place is a real treasure with this hidden treasure behind the blinds.  Thanks so much to the guard for his generosity in indulging me.  There was soon a little crowd around me taking pictures of the perfectly formed garden and after a few minutes the blinds went down again.