WARNING: Photo Heavy and mainly of dogs, cats and plantlife – look away now if you are here for knitting/crochet/sewing/baking.

When Alys at ‘Gardening Nirvana‘ recently compiled a video of the lovely plants in her Californian garden, I commented that we didn’t grow cultivated sweet peas (she has lots and lots) but we do have wild ones up on the hillside and she said she’d be interested in seeing some of my garden so I took my camera with me on the morning dog walk and, even though the wild sweet peas aren’t in bloom yet and we are desperate for rain, here it is now in mid-April in S.W. France in the midi-Pyrenees.  Our garden is very large and very steep and terraced.  We only plant up the first couple of terraces – the rest we keep brushcut but only lightly so that it is a haven for insects and birds. ((Note, the use of the word ‘we’.  It should really be ‘he’)

Sometimes one of the cats accompanies us …….

….and sometimes one of the dogs spots it

He should have paid attention to the notice!  I put this here at the top of the garden to prevent people thinking it’s a public footpath although it doesn’t always work.

This Judas Tree has been quite spectacular in previous years but seems to be getting a bit old now and the purple flowers are a bit more sparse.  You can see it from Montségur which is on the green mound just underneath the highest snowy peak opposite.  The Château de Montségur is famous as the last Cathar stronghold, which fell after a 10 month siege in 1244.   A field below the hilltop castle is reputed to be the site where over 200 Cathars were burned alive, having refused to renounce their faith.  It’s quite a climb up to the ruins but the views are amazing and it gives me the opportunity, when my heartbeat has returned to normal and I can speak again, to say                                 ‘you can see our house from here’.

Back on our walk – Flo usually leads the way.

I keep Stan on the lead on the way up, and Flo on the way down, otherwise they tend to run off together and make mischief – which usually involves fox poo and a wash down afterward.

Taz is our old boy who usually brings up the rear.

Somebody has made a little monument.  I don’t know who as we don’t walk on the public footpath and it is rare to see anybody else up here.   The hunters come through in the season but I can’t imagine them faffing about with something like this.   I like to think it’s a secret admirer who has found an ‘L’ shaped rock and placed it as a little message to me.  Actually, I hope not as that would be beyond creepy.

Although the wild sweet peas aren’t out yet, the wild orchids are.

Back down through the garden gate now and the ball game can begin.

Though somebody is only interested in the newly turned out compost bin contents.

I love this viburnum which, soon, will turn white and look like lots of little snowballs.

Phlox does very well here and this is growing over one of our many dry stone walls.

A beautiful tree peony being photobombed by Flo.

The chooks in their lilac bower.  This is just one of many lilacs we have and the scent in the late evenings and early mornings is lovely.

A tiny yellow rose growing up another stone wall on our terrace.  It blooms its little heart out for ages and, if we’re lucky, we get a second flush of flowers a bit later on.

Just in case you were worried about Leon.

He made it down the tree and back down the garden safely.

He’s not a year old yet and not a large framed cat and I couldn’t understand why he has such a saggy tum.

After a bit of research I discovered that some cats are genetically prone to something called a ‘primordial pouch’.  This is meant to protect their internal organs from damage in a cat fight and also provides extra space to stuff with food in times of shortage.  It also gives them more leeway to bend and stretch .  That’s something new I’ve learnt and also saved money by not buying special diet food from the vet.  So, if you have a cat that looks a bit saggy underneath, this may well be the reason.  I wonder if the same principle can be applied to muffin tops.

I’m not fat – it’s my primordial pouch.


Last but not least – the first poppies are opening.

How’s your garden doing at the moment – is it too dry like ours or are you having too much rain?  Are there plants you would really like to grow but aren’t suited to your soil or climate?  I would love some foxgloves but they wouldn’t grow well here





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  1. #1 by craftycreeky on April 24, 2017 - 13:08

    Your garden looks beautiful, you are way ahead of us for flowering!

    • #2 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:07

      Thank you but, as you have said on your own blog, I’m quite selective with what I feature 😉

  2. #3 by katechiconi on April 24, 2017 - 13:12

    Oooh, I’m stealing that Primordial Pouch excuse. Mine is decreasing slowly, but there’s still plenty of leeway for stuffing in times of famine… or any time at all, really!

    • #4 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:08

      So, you’d be alright in a cat fight then? 🙂

      • #5 by katechiconi on April 25, 2017 - 11:46

        Depends what we’re fighting for… A place by the fire and strokies, you bet. Cat food… not so much.

  3. #6 by poshbirdy on April 24, 2017 - 13:48

    Oh lovely. Pets and plants look fantastic. And what a wonderful situation x

    • #7 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:09

      It is a lovely situation – I take it for granted sometimes so it’s good to really stop and look now and again.

  4. #8 by nanacathy2 on April 24, 2017 - 13:54

    What a truly wonderful garden. I love the Kate Mosse novels with the Cathars so found this interesting.

    • #9 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:10

      It’s quite atmospheric up in those ruins which isn’t surprising, given their history.

  5. #10 by KerryCan on April 24, 2017 - 14:08

    Fabulous photos! I love seeing the dogs along for the walk and meeting Leon–he’s a good looker! I’m interested in the primordial pouch. We had a cat like that and a friends always said she had a “hunter’s pouch” . . . but I never asked what he meant by that. Thanks for doing the research!

    • #11 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:11

      Thank you. Out of the six cats we have – two have this pouch. I did mention it to the vet, before I realised what it was, but she didn’t seem bothered so it’s obviously a common thing.

  6. #12 by lovelucie1 on April 24, 2017 - 14:11

    Foxgloves are my favourite. I have to plant them from the garden centre every year though as they don’t seem to self seed in my garden.
    Loved your walk around your garden. I’ve always wondered if it was as idyllic as we all imagine life in the south of France. You’ve not shattered my dream!
    Those stone monuments appear all over the place now. I used to just see them on holiday, 100’s of them all down the beach, but now pop up in Yorkshire.
    Interesting about the saggy cat tum. My fairly old rescue cat has the same. I always thought it was due to some enormous pregnancy in her past life. Mind you she is rather plump as well! Lovely post.

    • #13 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:17

      What a shame your foxgloves don’t self seed, have you looked into why that might be?
      If you could see how ‘out of the way’ that path is you would know how surprised I was to see the stones. I’ve been walking it for ten years and in all that time I’ve only ever seen two other people there apart from my husband and my neighbour. So it’s sightly unnerving.

  7. #14 by Chas Spain on April 24, 2017 - 14:18

    What a lovely trip around your garden with your gorgeous little furry family

    • #15 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:18

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  8. #16 by Lynda on April 24, 2017 - 14:54

    What a lovely post and thank you for the interesting information on the primordial pouch. I had no idea and will now stop admonishing Neville about his ‘weight’.

    • #17 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:19

      I’m glad I was able to help Neville 🙂

  9. #18 by M. L. Kappa on April 24, 2017 - 15:25

    Those peonies are to die for 💕💕💕

    • #19 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:20

      I thought we’d lost the plant last year but it came back again and with a new offshoot too 🙂

  10. #20 by Rosemary on April 24, 2017 - 15:26

    Love your post and all the photos. I instantly homed in on your beautiful yellow rose having seen it for the first time this weekend at Standen House National Trust. I even made a note of the name Rosa Branksiae ‘Lutea’ in the hope of acquiring one for my own garden. It was bursting with flowers and looked spectacular, just like yours. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_banksiae

    • #21 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:20

      Thanks Rosemary – it’s a beauty isn’t it? I hope you manage to find one for your own garden soon.

  11. #22 by jendavismiller on April 24, 2017 - 17:29

    Oh my, your photos are just breathtaking! We’ve have lots of rain, so our gardens are popping out all over finally. I’m envious of your beautiful peonies; mine are just coming up, and last year they weren’t very healthy. We have a plant lady coming to assess the situation, fingers crossed.
    So interested to learn of the primordial pouch. It seems several of us have similarly afflicted kitties!
    I’m going to meander back through your pics, spend some time with your lovely doggies and enjoy the bursting flower displays. Thank you for sharing!

    • #23 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:23

      I hope your peonies pick up Jen. Here, we have these beetles that are an iridescent green colour and they nestle inside the petals of these peonies – they look as if you could wear them as a brooch.

      • #24 by jendavismiller on April 25, 2017 - 13:56

        Ooooh, iridescent green brooch beetles! I believe what we are plagued is spider mites….not nearly so intriguing. But I’m on top of it this year! 🙂

  12. #25 by claire93 on April 24, 2017 - 18:05

    what a lovely place for all your animals to live! They don’t know how lucky they are. I am very impressed with your plant life and botanical knowledge. I can recognise edible plants, but am not so good on the ornamental ones.
    And many thanks for that bit of info on primordial pouches. Two of our cats have flabby tummies (on Le Bleu it really hangs low) but since the vet has never commented on them being fat or flabby, I guessed it was “normal” in certain cats.

    • #26 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:26

      Out of our six cats, two have this ‘pouch’ and one of the others is a little overweight (he steals the food I put outside for the local semi-wild ones) so he might well be harbouring one also.

  13. #27 by Dartmoor Yarns on April 24, 2017 - 19:00

    Lovely to see so much of your beautiful garden and, of course, to see the dogs. Give them all a hug from me and an extra one to Taz.

    • #28 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:27

      I have done so and they send hugs back.

  14. #30 by Frivolous Monsters on April 24, 2017 - 22:17

    You do have a big garden. As far as they eye can see! Not sure I’d be too impressed about having lurking strangers building monuments though.

    • #31 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:31

      I know piling up stones is ‘a thing’ now but that path is mainly used by me, my husband, our neighbour when their dog was still alive and the hunters during the hunting season – in ten years of walking it I’ve only ever seen two other people there and they were lost. A bit spooky but at least I have three fairly large dogs with me in case of stranger danger.

  15. #32 by anne54 on April 25, 2017 - 02:40

    How delightful, I loved coming with you on your walk, and meeting your dogs. Your garden must be a riot of colours and smells. It is a pity about the foxgloves, but don’t we always want something that won’t grow successfully in our gardens?! The Autumn rains have come here at just the right time for my veggies and plants newly planted in the back yard. I hope yours come soon.

    • #33 by tialys on April 25, 2017 - 09:33

      Thanks Anne – we were forecast some for today and it looked promising earlier but now the sun is out – shouldn’t complain really I suppose.

  16. #34 by CurlsnSkirls on April 26, 2017 - 14:27

    Snow! You can see snowy mountaintops from your house! Just thinking about it makes me cooler. 😄 So lovely to be in such a beautiful place for walkies – am quite envious!
    (Here people get in their car & drive from one side of a parking lot to the other and hire dog walkers for their pets. Granted, the car parks are black, treeless, and start melting in spring/summer heat but still… I expect in several generations legs will atrophy amongst much of the population.)

    • #35 by tialys on April 26, 2017 - 14:41

      The snow does mostly melt in the Summer months but it does look lovely in the Spring when we can have high temperatures down here and look across at the snowy peaks.
      Your vision of the future made me smile 🙂

  17. #36 by sew2pro on April 27, 2017 - 00:12

    What a wonderful post; good idea to step outside and show us more of your home at this unique time of year with its special colours. (Laughed at the creepy comment) And I learnt so much too having never heard of the Cathars. Not surprised to hear of yet another sect perishing for their beliefs.
    Leon is extremely good looking and his pouch gives him dignity and gravitas. My Lemmy had one too and after I gave birth we started calling it his empathy belly.

    • #37 by tialys on April 27, 2017 - 12:21

      Did the novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’ pass you by then – you must be the only one. I wish it had passed me by – I think I was the only one who didn’t like it (apart from my DH who had read a more academic account of the goings on and was airily dismissive of it – I just didn’t like the writing. And don’t get me started on the film.)
      Leon is very proud of his belly and displays it, spread out on the floor in front of him, whenever he can.

  18. #38 by Evie Jones on April 28, 2017 - 10:05

    You really are living the dream. Your garden is perfection. I’m terribly envious of your beautiful plants. We’re about to have our garden levelled. At least I’ll then have free rein to plant to my hearts content. The only things we’re keeping are the seven apple trees and a plum. I plan to add damsons too.

    • #39 by tialys on April 29, 2017 - 09:34

      I see lots of apple pies and jam in your future!

  19. #40 by Born To Organize on April 29, 2017 - 08:29

    Oh my goodness, there is so much to love about this post! Your garden is magnificent. I love the vibrant poppies and the cheerful yellow rose. And lilacs! Oh my, aren’t they intoxicating? I wish I had the space to grow one here, though I don’t they they would like our heat. Your tree peony looks so soft and delicate. Does it have a nice scent as well? I’m so happy to virtually meet your three pooches. I think Leon ijust stoe my heart. What a gorgeous cat. Thanks for the scoop on the primordial pooch. What a handy mechanism to keep the cat’s safe. Thanks for the shout out, Lynn. I’m so glad you shared all these pics.

    • #41 by tialys on April 29, 2017 - 09:41

      Thank you Alys – of course there is a lot of the garden that isn’t perfect. It’s far too large and steep to keep all of it in order and the resident gardener is away during the week while having 3 dogs and 6 cats rampaging around it doesn’t help either. I have told Mr. T. that we ought to get a jobbing gardener round once a week or so during the growing season to keep the weeds down, cut the grass (takes hours and the terrain is too steep for a ride-on) and generally keep it tidy but he won’t have it – a bit like the cats and dogs, he is too territorial to have somebody else messing with his plants and land 😉

      • #42 by Born To Organize on April 30, 2017 - 01:19

        The way I see it, “garden” and “perfect” do not belong in the same sentence. Having some wild, untamed garden along with a well groomed one sounds lovely to me. I’m envious of all that open space. Mr. T must spend a better part of his weekend in the garden then, but if he loves it (and I do understand) then there are worse places to be. Wow…six cats and three dogs. What a wonderful life.

  20. #43 by magpiesue on May 18, 2017 - 23:27

    So wonderful to see some of the very flowers I’m trying to install in my own “garden.” I’ll have to take a walk around our little plot and share what I can in pictures. I have a rosemary that blooming more than I’ve ever seen it do in the past, and my white peony has more buds than ever before too. Yippee!

    • #44 by tialys on May 19, 2017 - 10:18

      Rosemary does very well here and, of course, the bees and butterflies love it.
      Just mentioned this to my husband who is working from home today and he said there was a report from ‘Holland & Barratt’ a big health store in the U.K. that sales of Rosemary oil have soared as it’s been found to increase concentration and the ability to retain information – it must be exam time!

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