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Gaelle Monin
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With the recent indian summer upon us, my tomato plants have been hugely confused. I completely empathise as I wore opaque tights and my new pair of ankle lace-ups on the hottest day last week... So the tomato plants were covered in lovely yellow flowers only 3 weeks ago and I had fully prepared myself to seeing no fruits this year. Just pretty flowers. But this week's unexpected development taught me I've got so much to learn in the garden: So this may not quite be the bright and juicy tomato and basil salad of my dreams, but it could... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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I may have inadvertently killed the lavender. Or maybe it's just the natural end of its life as we're slowly getting ready for autumn. Either way, it was time to cut it right back and put the casualties to good use. I lined up scraps of old material and opened my craft box. On the reverse side of the material, I separated the petals from the stalks and got rid of the latter. I was also very careful to pick out all the little seeds I could spot and save them for next spring, ready to plant. Some awkward cutting... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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I'm refusing to accept summer days are behind us. The noticeable chill in the air at dawn and dusk may be proving me wrong. But then, how do you explain this: My neighbour kindly gave me 2 tomato plants a couple of weeks ago. With no buds in sight on either of them at the time, I just accepted that they would simply make pretty plants in the corner of our garden staircase. 2 weeks went by with lots of rain and very little sunshine. And here we are now, against all odds! Isn't it well-known the tomato plant never... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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The urban herb 'staircase' is coming along nicely. It all started with tiny little seeds and a bit of compost and water. It then turned into a love, care and patience affair. If you remember well, this is how my shy young ones looked a few weeks ago: Watching the chives, parsley and basil grow has been fascinating. It was soon time to upsize to bigger pots as the seedling ones quickly became a little too tight (I realised I also put a few too many seeds in each pot... but I'll live and learn). My mother in law kindly... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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I'm back from sunny Provence and I've used my time away wisely, seeing it as an opportunity to extend my knowledge in botanics. I'll admit that being surrounded by gorgeous lavender all week has made me rather envious. I'm doing my bit to save the bees at the top of my garden stairs, but there's no denying the French kind has a slightly more impressive allure... Spot the difference: Although brighter in colour, mine doesn't have that little je ne sais quoi... But as a result of my initial jealousy, my competitive streak grew stronger. After all, English gardens are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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As you’re reading this, I’m most certainly under a straw hat in my Nan’s tiny idyllic village in Provence, enjoying a week of sun, books, family and never-ending meals (and naps, to digest said meals). I have left my young plant pots in safe hands, don’t you worry: a friend of ours has kindly accepted to keep an eye on the (newly trailing) lobelia, lavender, asta and my very very young herbs: from left to right, meet Mini Chive, Shy Parsley and Sheepish Basil Pistou who have all grown from tiny little seeds! So since I'm being a total slob... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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I live in a raised ground-floor flat, with views over the park at the front (or ‘my estate’ as I like to call it) and big windows looking out onto the shared garden at the back. The access to the garden is permitted by a metal staircase that I like to sit on, just like they do in the New-York movies... An estate agent would describe the small landing area on top of these stairs as a 'charming balcony'. In London terms, it could even qualify as a 'petite terrace'. In reality, it's nothing more than a small landing area.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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I love a list. Neatly handwritten, with clear bullet points and preferably in a pretty notebook or a sticky note I can put on my computer screen. Any excuse is good to write a list. So when I was flat hunting last summer for what would be our first step onto the property ladder, I had a list on the 'notes' page of my Moleskin pocket diary. My criteria were: • enough space in either kitchen or living room for a dining table. (I didn't mean the small foldable type tucked in a corner of the room. I meant the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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Jun 20, 2011