Paypal, bees and the classroom is halfway built

What do gardeners know about the internet?

I decided to take a look at a “free” trial of a well-known download service based in Germany and allowed the company to take 1 Euro from my Paypal account as proof of my identity. It took me all of five minutes to realise this service was not for me and I cancelled my trial shortly after.

Before I knew what was happening they had extracted ninty Euros from my account as a subscription (for a month, a year, who knows) and told me that a refund was out of the question.

I appealed to Paypal, who we use as our internet banking system for all our Garden Design Academy courses and a week or so later the cash was back in our account: marvelous! There seems to be no way to thank them on their web site but I can do what I like here so: “thanks Paypal”. It seems the web is a safer place to do business than most folks realise…..provided you deal with serious companies like Paypal (authors note: no, I am not being paid for this!)


Alsas my camera was not to hand to take this picture of a Hoopoe

Wildlife in our garden continues to give us much pleasure; while we were eating our lunch on the Flower Island today a Hoopoe (Upupa epops) was wandering around on the lawn digging for dinner – such a pretty bird – I do wish I had had my camera to hand. He gave us a quick flash of his crown of feathers before he flew off to continue his hunt for food next door.

Along with the pleasure comes great responsibility: the honey bees rely on me filling the bird bath with water every day. We have no idea where their hive is but at this time of the day ten to twenty of the little fellows will be fighting for position around the edges. The bats, on the other hand, just give without demanding anything in return. Their insect eating activities in the evening are most welcome and we generally have a dozen performing aerial acrobatics for us as dusk approaches. We recognise three species, called technically: little ones, medium ones and the occational big one!


Verbena bonariensis in flower in our garden at Chabris

Plants. We have had such mixed weather – hot days like today eventually and inevitably producing rainy days to follow and this has been great for the plants in the garden. Largestroemia are just starting to flower here (elsewhere in the village they have been doing so for some time) and the first Asters are also just showing. The garden, less than 18 months old, is a joy, with flowers, fruit and growth everywhere. This is such a generous country.

Talking of which, a neighbour who used to run a building firm in Paris has decided we are so useless he would take over the construction of our log cabin – the new classroom for the Garden Design Academy. As a result, the building is on its way up after two years of sitting in pieces under black plastic in the front garden. What a relief it is to see the progress and I am told it could be more or less finished by the end of next week.

Log cabin

Soon to be the Garden Design Academy classroom