Winter 2024 – A letter from the garden shed

Our theme this year is Flowers in your Garden, so I am going to try and make sure each quarter there are ideas, hints etc related to this. Flowers add to the biodiversity in our gardens by bringing in pollinators and birds all essential to a well- balanced garden.

However, growing them can be a challenge with so many insects and critters who want to eat them. Also, our weather and soil can be an additional challenge so we will try to pass on as much knowledge as we can.

10th birthday celebrations

The first meeting of the CJL was in January 2014. It was a breakaway from another gardening club and was created to meet the needs of the members and to serve the Lauzerte area. Since then, we have grown and grown and now have 101 members. Some live here permanently, others are summertime visitors – but all are welcome. All of us face the same challenges, the weather either very wet (like this winter so far) or bone dry for months on end. The soil can be stoney, clay or both. Rarely is it a rich loam, but despite this we create some stunning gardens to enjoy.

Hats off to you all for achieving some beautiful gardens despite these challenges.

A little note from Luci in Marketing, P.R. & Events!
This year we have some great events planned. We hope that you come to as many as possible.
We have put a lot of effort into making a varied calendar for all our members for this year. If there is something you think would be a great event or topic for a meeting in 2025, please email us.
We love planning. Please do email and ask if you would like to sign up for anything. The earlier we know how many for each event the smoother they run. Luci xxx


  • January 9th – 10th Birthday Celebrations – with a Gardening Quiz, Full afternoon tea including sandwiches, scones, and cake!! and we are drawing the winner of our Raffle.
  • February 6th – Felting workshop. Here is your chance to make a pretty flower pin cushion in a flowerpot to use yourself or give as a gift. €25 pp All materials provided. Booking essential.
  • February 13th – AGM – Our annual AGM is to give you the members, an overview of how the club is doing, what we have planned and the way forward. We will also have a talk from Betty Lilly on How to Create and Maintain a Mediterranean Garden.
  • 12th March – Making Paper Flowers Workshop, learn how to make stunning paper flowers that look so real. All materials provided; cost is €25.00. Booking essential.
  • 28th March – Easter Lunch at the Auberge de Brelan – a beautiful spring lunch and our Easter Bonnet Competition – booking essential.

Winners of the Autumn Photo Competition

We had 84 entries which the Admin team whittled down to our top 10, from there, we voted on the top 4. The winner is Liz Mitchell’s picture of a stunning cobweb caught with dew in the early morning. The runner up is Lucinda Wilson’s Mushrooms.


  • Feed the birds, – with bad weather here they need every bit of help
  • Buy seed Potatoes – start them chitting
  • Sow perennial seeds – get off to an early start
  • Clean tools -and get the lawn mower ready for spring
  • Sow pelargoniums
  • Force rhubarb – for an early crop
  • Remove leaves of hellebores – so you can see the flowers
  • Vegetable bed – Plan your new veg bed
  • Sow broad beans
  • Plant garlic sets
  • Sow carrots under fleece
  • Weed paths, – start now, save time later
  • Plant bare root roses
  • Plant bare root trees
  • Peas – Start early peas such as Feltham First in pots


  • Grasses – Cut back/down the grasses to make way for new growth
  • Onions – Start onions in pots in the greenhouse for an early crop
  • Lilies – Plant Lily bulbs
  • Heather – Prune winter heather
  • Herbaceous perennials – Cut back if not already done
  • Containers – Check your containers, top dress if required
  • Seedlings – Prick out seedlings
  • Cauliflowers – Sow cauliflower seeds for early crop
  • Cannas – Start your cannas
  • Broad beans – Sow broad beans
  • Sweet peas – Sow sweet peas
  • Chillies – Sow chillies
  • Protect – brassicas from pigeon damage by netting
  • Tomato – Sow tomato seeds
  • Prune – hardy trees and fruit trees


  • Salad leaves – Plant out hardy salads to ensure a good supply this summer
  • Clematis – Prune late flowering clematis
  • Annuals – Plant annuals for an early display
  • Begonia – Start off begonia tubers in trays
  • Lily Bulbs – Pots up newly bought lily bulbs
  • Perennials – Lift and divide perennials – best way to double your plants for free!
  • Seedlings – Pot up self sown seedlings ready to move them where you want them
  • Snail alert – Watch out for snails and slugs
  • Seedlings – Prick out seedlings
  • Greenfly etc – Watch out for early signs of greenfly and other aphid.
  • Dahlias – Start your Dahlias. If overwintered take them out, check for rot, remove damaged parts of the tuber and pot up. If buying new, get them into compost asap
  • Compost – Turn your compost to start heating it up
  • Weather – watch the temperatures very carefully, we can still have cold nights or a late frost
  • Wisteria – cut back to 6 buds to ensure a great flowering season

Planning a Cut Flower Garden:

We had a fabulous talk from Rachel Cave last year about planning and planting cut Flower Garden. Rachel has provided us with a list of her favourite plants, that do well for her in our soil and our climate. Use this list to start your own. Be aware that those marked with ** need a lot of watering.

Statice, Snapdragons**,  Sunflowers, Celosia**,  Dahlias**,  Larkspur, Gomphrena, Cosmos, Scabious, Nigella, Echinops, Gypsophlia Paniculata.

Planning a Vegetable Patch?


Happy Winter Gardening to you all from Luci and Edwina

Our new Bureau has been elected

Hi Everyone,

Following the elections to the Admin Group at the AGM, the team met recently to elect the members of the Bureau. 

I am delighted to announce that these members were duly elected unopposed and by unanimous votes of those present :-

Edwina Silver – President

Lucinda Wilson – Vice President

Julie Bennett – Treasurer

Karen D’Alcorn – Secretary

The other members of the Admin team are :- Belinda Berry, Tina Fanzo, Françoise Lemay, Betty Lilly, Liz Mitchell

Email addresses have been transferred, and the team are getting to grips with their new roles and responsibilities. 

Please join me in wishing the new team every success and supporting them in the coming months, as they realise a programme that will inform, inspire and entertain those who love gardens and gardening.

Thank you all for your kind words and support during my 6 enjoyable years as president. I am looking forward to having more time to spend on my own garden and other projects, though I will still be involved in the club’s activities and supporting Edwina and her team.

I look forward to seeing the club continuing to flourish under their leadership, and to seeing you all at our meetings and other activities.

Please find a copy of the Minutes of the 2023 AGM attached. If you were not able to be at the meeting, you will find a copy of the president and treasurer’s reports on our website at



January 2023

A happy new gardening year to you all!

It is bitterly cold right now, so I hope you have protected any precious tender plants.

Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ looking decidedly chilly…

We have already had our first meeting of the year, with wildlife expert Paul Knapp, who showed us many of the birds, butterflies, orchids and other wildlife that we might find in and around our gardens. This was well attended, it was lovely to see so many of our members again. If you would be interested in joining Paul on wildlife walks, you can find him on the Facebook group “Lot Wildlife”.

Celebratory meal at the Café de France

We also had a super celebratory meal at the Café de France in Montcuq. We missed some who had planned to come due to the road conditions, but we would definitely be happy to go back and have another meal there, so perhaps there will be another opportunity.

Coming up in February (Tuesday 14th) will be our all-important AGM, when you get to elect the members of the Admin Group. A number of us are stepping down from our roles, after many years of service, and some will be leaving the team, so we would welcome anyone who would like to get more involved. Our secretary Edwina will be sending out a invite, but you can also find all the information and forms here on the website, just visit the page

Our guest speaker will be our member Tricia Geary, who will be talking to us about “Planting for Pollinators” another important topic in line with our theme of “Encouraging Biodiversity”.

From Actu Lot

Don’t forget to get your bird boxes ready for new occupants, also it’s a great time to think about creating a bug hotel .

Mésange bleue (Cyanistes caeruleu) – Crédit photo : Ben Hall (

We are certainly receiving lots of visits to our bird feeders right now, so am looking forward to participating in the annual bird count. – you can join in by visiting the LPO website

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM – if you can bring a home made cake, that would be fab!

Belinda xx

March 2022

Throughout the difficult times of Covid restrictions, our gardens have been a great source of solace and balance. Now, with the darkness of war entering Europe, we can keep grounded by caring for our plants, growing our crops and appreciating the beauty of nature. The days are getting longer and bulbs are starting to bring colour to our gardens – Spring is on it’s way! 


Our theme for this year is Gardening in a Changing Climate – global warming is not just about getting hotter and drier it seems, as last year was certainly challenging with a hard frost in late April and an overall much damper summer than we are used to. What can we as gardeners do to reduce our carbon footprint, help our gardens be more resilient, reduce our use of finite resources, and encourage bio-diversity? Over the course of this year, we aim to answer those questions. We have already started with our talks on “Composting” and “Low Maintenance Gardening”. 

There is a lot more in the programme than we were able to fit into the printed edition, but you will find our website* has the latest information, and we will keep you updated with what we are proposing through this newsletter and at our meetings.

We all enjoy getting inspired by going on visits to gardens and nurseries, so there are going to be a number of outings over the coming months, some repeat visits and some to gardens that are new to us. Where possible we will include lunch or afternoon tea at a nearby restaurant.

We are also keen to continue expanding our practical skills with workshops and opportunities to share gardening activities together – see more below about our expanded Ground Force as well as our ongoing maintenance of the sensory garden at La Medièvale Argentée.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th March at 14h, Salle Amanda Mills in the Salle de l’Eveillé, Lauzerte. Caroline and Paul Wright (RHS trained) of Le Jardin Creatif will cover using sculpture and focal points to enhance your garden (in English).  Find out more about Le Jardin Creatif, and place plant orders on their website*. 

I will be reminding everyone about our Photography Competition and showing you how to upload photos to our Facebook albums. There will be a Sundries table (get your pots and labels), and Refreshments as usual. Health pass required and masks to be worn please.

The following day, 9th March, Caroline & Paul will hold a Metal Sculpture Workshop, creating 3 Alliums. Your place must be booked and paid for in advance (35€), so please contact immediately if you would like to take one of the last remaining places.

Previous Meeting

On February 8th, we held our AGM.

To start with, Tim Barton gave us an informative and inspiring talk on Low Maintenance Gardening. You can view the presentation in PDF format* (download from Dropbox), or watch the presentation* which was recorded over Zoom (on YouTube). Some important messages about the use of mulch, and choosing the right plants.  If you want to learn more, here are a couple of recommended links: 

More information about No Dig*

More information about Mulch*

We then had the Presidents Report and the Financial Report. 

You can view or download the AGM presentation* in PDF format (on Dropbox).

We achieved a lot in 2021, despite the restrictions, holding monthly meetings over Zoom, and then later, visiting a number of gardens, both private and public. We held workshops on seed sowing, taking cuttings and dividing perennials. We were present at several local events, and held our first Vide Jardin. Our final meeting of the year was a wonderful festive occasion, featuring all the winning photos from our Calendar Competition, and a workshop on creating a Christmas Wreath with Isabelle Durand. 

Recent events

We kicked off the year with a delicious meal at Le Caillau. We hope to go back for afternoon tea later this year – do you have any suggestions for nurseries or gardens to visit that are not too far from Vire sur Lot?

For our January meeting, Marjolaine from local association Les Rainettes des Prés talked about Composting (in French). Composting is an essential technique for recycling garden and kitchen waste and improving our soil, giving nutrients to plants and helping to retain moisture.

Then Susan Lambert introduced us to the Open Gardens scheme*. Click on the link to learn more, to join the association and to find gardens to visit.

We have already had 2 really popular workshops, the first with  Lorraine Turnbull on Fruit tree pruning, which took place in member’s gardens on a very cold and foggy January day. This was a great confidence booster. 

Then in February we had 2 sessions with Richard Marple on pruning roses

This has encouraged our members to deal with overgrown climbers and shrub roses with consideration of the principles of light, competition and sap. 

We are looking forward to seeing photos of the abundant blooms to come! 

Some of us put our skills into practice in the gardens of the Maison de Retraite last Friday, when we had our first gardening session of this year.

Coming Soon

A visit to Kate Bewick’s garden near Roquecor on Friday 18th March at 14:30.  See the email from Edwina with more information and please let her know if you are planning on going, we would like to encourage car sharing where possible.

If you would like to Improve your Photography, sign up for our full day workshop with Graham Berry. This will take place in Belinda’s garden (in Rouillac, to the south of Montcuq) when the weather is a bit warmer. Bring a picnic lunch to share.

Our meeting on Tuesday 12th April will be with our member Christine Jones, who will be demonstrating “Flower Arranging”.

Also in April, we will hold a cuttings workshop in Liz Mitchell’s garden (date to be arranged).

On Easter Sunday, April 17th, it is the Place aux Fleurs in Lauzerte, where we will have a stand, and we will be sharing ideas for recycling in the garden. Please put this date in your diary as not only is it a good opportunity for plant shopping, but we need volunteers to help spread the word about our club and our activities.  You can sign up to help out at our next meeting, or if you have ticked the box to help out at events, Ingrid (*) may be in touch to put you on the rota.


Our balance sheet is healthy, with an increase of €270 over 2020, mainly thanks to an influx of new members. The Vide Jardin in June helped to subsidise our coach trip in July to Jardin de Martels, and the sale of calendars covered the costs of our December 4th event. Thanks to Keith Macfarlane for auditing the accounts.


You can read our recent article in Le Petit Lauzertin, which is delivered to residents of Lauzerte, but is also available online*.

If you are a user of Intra Muros, you should now get reminders about our monthly meetings and other events. Download the IntraMuros app* here.


Our subscription fee remains at 10€ per annum. If you haven’t already renewed, you can complete your application online and either pay at our next meeting, send a cheque to our treasurer, or pay by virement. Anyone who has not renewed by the end of April will be removed from our mailing list and Facebook group, so if you can’t come to our meetings before then, please contact Tracy, our membership secretary at "> * to make sure you don’t miss out.

Over the past 2 years we have had over 35 new members, so that’s a lot of new faces to recognise, and we have started using name badges at meetings to help us get to know each other.

There are over 60 members on the Facebook group and we hope everyone will share what is  happening in your gardens and what your particular areas of interest are. 

Also, join in with our Photography competition – more on that below.

Ground Force

Our Ground Force initiative been relaunched with an expanded remit, to include mini-makeovers, advice, pre-visit tidy-ups and knowledge-sharing, as well as short term support. A session would take up to 6 volunteers about 2 hours to tackle. If you have a project or would like to join the volunteers please contact our co-ordinator on a new email address *.

Pick up a leaflet at our next meeting.

Maison de Retraite / La Medièvale Argentée

A new plan for the planting of the raised beds has been created, to help fill the gaps, balance out the growth and better meet our objective of having a sensory garden. 

This will require a number of herbs and other plants, and we would love to have donations of plants that do well in your gardens. 

So if you are going to lift and divide some of your star performers, please pot them up and grow them on for us. We are particularly looking for plants that will tumble over the sides, well behaved climbing plants for the pergola and low maintenance perennials or low growing shrubs and herbs that fit the colour schemes for the sun and moon gardens that are adjacent.  Please let Julia know if you think you may have suitable plants. Any that can’t be used here could be sold at our Vide Jardin in June – but they do need to be well rooted.

This photo of the garden last June, when it was looking really abundant and mature, will feature in our directory entry for the Petit Lauzertin guide this year.

Photography Competition 2022

We need your entries! Now is a fabulous time to capture images for some of our themes – Bulbs, Flowering Trees, Wildlife, Containers, for instance, and of course Garden Decorations – so when you have made your Alliums, we want to see them in situ! As for Colour, show your solidarity with Ukraine by sharing Blue and Yellow from your garden.

Here is a reminder of all the different categories, which can be added to at any time until the end of September :-

  • Bulbs
  • Flowering Trees
  • Garden Decorations
  • Flower Arrangement
  • Wildlife in the Garden
  • Climbing and Trailing plants
  • Garden Produce
  • Water in the Garden
  • Dry Garden / Plants
  • Leaves
  • Containers
  • Colour Themes

You can add photos directly to the Albums on our Facebook Group.  If you don’t use Facebook you can just send me an email* to let me know you have photos to share and I will send you a link so that you can easily add them to Google Photos or Dropbox.      

Some recent additions to our Photo Competition album ‘Bulbs’

To Do This Month

Lots to do in the garden this month! Now is a good time to lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials – please look at growing on plants for our Vide Jardin in June, or for the raised beds in the MdR garden. 

Tidy up perennials which should be showing new growth, cut back grasses to near ground level, prune shrubs once they have finished flowering, clear away dead growth, feed roses, apply mulch.  With spring-flowering bulbs, nip off any developing seedheads, but leave the foliage to die back naturally. Bulbs in pots that have finished flowering can be planted out in the garden. This is a good time to plant any shrubs and roses, if you didn’t get them planted in the autumn. 

In the veg garden, sowing commences in earnest now, both under cover and outdoors, so it is time to prepare beds for planting. Early potatoes can go in later this month (18th – 20th according to the lunar calendar) and also shallots and onion sets. The 25th and 26th will be good for sowing peas and broad beans direct in the soil, and 27th and 28th for carrots.

Share your news

Please continue to share all the news from your gardens, interesting information, places to visit and so on, with us on our Facebook group and check out our Instagram feed @cjl_82 or find us with the hashtag #cjl82fr. We are looking at expanding some areas of our website to share more information too, for those who don’t use social media.

We hope to see you on Tuesday 8th. Meanwhile, enjoy your garden!



Annual General Meeting 2022

This year we back to holding our AGM in our usual meeting room, the Salle de l’Eveillé. This will take place on Tuesday 8th February 2022 at 2pm. All members are invited to join us, and will receive an email from our club secretary, with the details, plus a membership renewal form, and proxy form..

The order of the day will be as follows:-

  • Welcome from the President
  • Guest speaker Tim Barton on “Low Maintenance Gardening”
  • President’s Report
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Subscriptions for 2022
  • Questions from Members
  • Refreshments

If you will not be attending the AGM and would like to be represented, please complete the Proxy Form, no later than Monday 7th February, 2022.

Our guest speaker will be presenting by using Zoom to our meeting room, and as it will be Tim’s lunch break in the UK, we need to start the meeting promptly at 14:00, so please aim to arrive by 13:45, to give time to have your health pass checked, to sign in that you have no covid symptoms, and to complete your membership membership renewal (if you haven’t already done so). We will also be collecting payment for the Rose Pruning Workshop with Richard Marple on 17th/18th February (15€).

To save time on the day, you can complete your membership renewal by using our Membership Form. Included in the form is space for you to tell us about your currents areas of gardening interest, and any skills you have that are relevant to our club, so please do take the time to complete it.

We have lots of activities planned for the coming year and a full programme of meetings and outings, which will be summarised in the President’s Report.

We look forward to seeing you.

December 2021 Newsletter

Happy Christmas and our very best wishes for the New Year
from all of us in the admin team
Belinda, Edwina, Julia, Ingrid, Luci, Marga, Shirley and Tracy xxx

Our creative wreath makers

It was so lovely to see so many of you enjoying yourselves at our December meeting. The wreaths looked wonderful. I have put an album with all the photos onto our gallery page – click on the thumbnails to see them full size.

Our photo competition winners

Huge congratulations to all our winners of the Photo Calendar Competition and a big thank you to our sponsors : Tasting the Lot, Vikki Stevens, British Bakery France, Les Delices du Duravel, Chats du Quercy and Smart Garden Products for their generous prizes. I hope you all enjoyed seeing the photos in print. We will keep the frames for next year, but if you would like to have the print of your photo to frame yourself, please let me know.  

Again, I have put the photos (taken by Graham) of the event on our gallery page, so if you weren’t able to come, you can enjoy a virtual tour. We have just a few calendars left, so please let me know if you would like one.

We have already started taking entries for our 2022 competition and are looking forward to a high standard, and a high volume of entries. Please make sure that you identify any plants in your photos, wherever possible. Start looking for ideas and opportunities to share your photos on these topics. Once again, we are looking for photos that are taken in your own garden, or in ones that we visit together. We are opening a new theme each month, and entries can be added right up until the end of September.

Photo Competition themes for our 2023 calendar

  1. Bulbs (Jan)
  2. Flowering Trees (Feb)
  3. Garden Decor (Mar)
  4. Flower Arrangement (Apr)
  5. Wildlife in the Garden (May)
  6. Climbing and Trailing plants (Jun)
  1. Garden Produce / Garden Tools (Jul)
  2. Water / Water Plants (Aug)
  3. Dry Garden / Plants (Sep)
  4. Leaves (October)
  5. Containers (Nov)
  6. Colour Themes (Dec)

Our 2022 programme

Many of you have already picked up a copy of our programme, which has the theme “Gardening in a Changing Climate”. Throughout the year, we will use our meetings, activities and visits, to learn about the steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint, help our gardens be more resilient, use less non-renewable resources, and encourage biodiversity. This is also the theme for the Rendezvous aux Jardins in June this year, when we will have a display about it, as well as holding our Vide Jardin – please make sure that you save any items that we can sell at that event, to help raise funds – like last year, we hope to be able to subsidise our July outing to a beautiful garden where we will have a shared picnic.

 There is far more in our planned programme than we can show on the printed version, so there are many other things to look forward to, such as workshop activities, and more gardens to visit.

First off, we will have our Celebratory Lunch at Le Caillau, on Friday, January 7th.

You should already have received an invitation from Edwina. Please make sure to let her know if you are coming and would like to bring a guest; make your meal choices, and don’t forget that you will need to make your payment by 30th December, to confirm your reservation.

Dates for your Diary

We need to get an idea of numbers for various activities we have planned, so please make sure to fill in our form after reading this newsletter, to let us know what you would like to join in with.

In mid January, Lorraine Turnbull, who has recently moved to our area, has offered to demonstrate pruning fruit trees. This will take place in a member’s garden.  Please make sure you let us know if you would like to come along, as we may need to arrange more than one session.

In mid February, we will have a Rose Pruning Workshop with Richard Marple, at Les Rosiers de Richard, at Poux, near La Française. This will take place on Thursday 17th or Friday 18th in the afternoon and will cost 15€ per person. Richard is a professional grower, who also teaches pruning at the Conservatoire Végétal Régional d’Aquitaine, so we will be learning from a real expert, with masses of experience at both doing and teaching. He will keep back some roses unpruned for us to practice on, so we need to let him know the numbers in good time.

In early March, we will have a Metal Sculpture workshop with Caroline and Paul from Le Jardin Creatif. We will create 3 alliums. Cost of the workshop is 35€ per person, to include all materials. Places will be limited, so please let us know if you would like to join us.

As soon as we have a nice warm spell in the Spring, we will run a Photography workshop with Graham Berry. If you would like to improve your photography, whether you use a digital SLR, a compact camera, a tablet, or a phone, this will be an enjoyable way to learn some useful tips and tricks, so please tick the box if you would like to join us for that.

Next Meeting 

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 11th January, at the Salle de l’Eveillé. We will be having two presentations. First of all, Marjolaine from the local association Rainettes des Prés, will talk to us about “Composting”. This is such a fundamental technique to make the most of garden and kitchen waste and help to rebalance the soil. A key step in helping our gardens be more resilient in the face of climate change. Then Sue Lambert from “Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts” will explain their scheme and hopefully encourage you to open your garden to visitors, or to become a member, which entitles you to visit open gardens anywhere in France throughout the year. 

We will be asking for your Passe Sanitaire please and everyone must sign in to confirm that they have no Covid-like symptoms.  Masks to be worn while moving around.

Maison de Retraite 

We have had a busy and successful year in the garden at La Médiévale Argentée and maintained a good level of colour and interest  throughout the year. We made a deliberate policy of not using annuals this year, but DID put some of Fiona’s Zinnias into the Sun Garden where they continued to bloom right up until the first frost. They were put in to fill a few gaps, but we will use them again next year as they will provide long-lasting colour for the residents to enjoy. In October we planted 90 narcissi bulbs in both the Sun and Moon gardens to provide some colour early next year. We have plans for the raised beds as they are too full of mature enormous shrubs and we would like to replace some of these with well-tempered Mediterranean shrubs which will thrive in the hot dry conditions. Our main aim is that the gardens do not need any additional watering throughout the season.

We received a lovely and appreciative thank you from the director, Laurent George, wishing us all a happy holiday season, and hoping that 2022 will be more conducive to social interaction.

Ground Force

We now have quite a few volunteers for this and haven’t needed to use them much this year. We have decided to offer the service to more members as it is great fun to share gardening with others and benefit the members at the same time. We will be discussing the idea with members but thought along the lines of if you have a problem area in your garden that could do with the intervention of six people for two or three hours, then we could ask Ground Force to volunteer. The service would not be available on a regular basis but rather as a one off for a particular project. 

To do in December and January

This is the ideal time to sit in a cosy place and look through seed catalogues, and plan your growing for next year. Here is a useful checklist of seeds to sow throughout the year, to help with your planning – Traditionally, garlic is planted on the shortest day of the year, and if you haven’t started already, you can sow sweet peas now.

On fine days you can continue clearing away finished crops and start with preparing the soil for planting, by digging over, or covering with layers of cardboard and mulching with compost.

 Make sure that tender plants are protected, and plants in pots may need to have bubble wrap or fleece around them to prevent them freezing and cracking. 

You can prune overgrown shrubs, hedges and fruit trees while they are dormant. You can also plant trees and shrubs. 

Don’t forget your garden visitors, put out fresh water for the birds as well as seeds and fat balls.

You might want to ask Santa to put a copy of Jardinez avec la Lune into your Christmas stocking, to help you plan what to do when and benefit from all the hints and tips for growing and managing your garden….

Looking forward to seeing you all again next year. Stay safe, and keep warm. Please don’t forget to fill in the form if you want to join in with any of our extra activities!



November 2021 Newsletter

Hi Everyone,

It has been such a treat to have mild days and blue skies, and the autumn colours are wonderful this year.

Just perfect for the first of our themes, “Leaves” for the next Calendar Competition. The second theme ‘Containers” is also open for your contributions. Each month we will introduce a new theme, and you can add to them at any time until the end of the competition in September.

We have some interesting activities coming up…..

Next Meeting

Tuesday 9th November at 14h will be our first monthly meeting at the Salle de l’Eveillé in Lauzerte since March 2020. We did so well keeping in touch via Zoom since then, and it has been great to see lots of you during recent outings, but we are really looking forward to this. We have 20 new members who have never been to one of our meetings, and I know that everyone will be warm and welcoming.

We will be holding a Plant and Seed Swap, so please bring along your labelled plants and packets of seeds.  You can find a template for our seed packets on the Website or Facebook Group. If you don’t know how to clean seeds, bring them along and we will demonstrate. If you don’t have anything to swap, you can still participate, but please make a donation instead. 

This is also an opportunity to talk about what has done well (and badly) in our gardens this year and our plans for next year, so we will have some round-table discussions. Do you have any gardening questions?

Eric Elipe is coming to tell you about the delightful Jardin des Sculptures, near Lauzerte, which Julia and I visited recently. 

Please bring something to taste or show for our Garden to Table feature.  Preserves, dried fruits or flowers, or something you have stored, turned into a tasty nibble? Maybe you are lucky enough to have some fresh fruits, vegetables or nuts. Let’s encourage each other to make the most of the productive parts of our gardens and share ideas and recipes.

We will also be serving refreshments and cake.

We will be asking for your Passe Sanitaire please and everyone must sign in to confirm that they have no Covid-like symptoms. 

Masks to be worn while moving around.

Recent events

Our visit to Arboretum de la Bergerette was a delight. Shaun Haddock was generous with his time and gave us an informative and entertaining tour. I especially loved the A-Z of edible shrubs and trees. Who knew there were so many different leaf shapes on oak trees, or that one variety managed to prevent the invasion of Afghanistan?

Shaun was so bowled over by our donations, (which will go towards permanent engraved labels) that he would like to offer 2022 membership of the Association to those contributors who wish.  He says “We are still finding our feet as to what benefits membership will bring(!), but certainly access to the Arboretum with prior notice, and if we have enough interest I’ll revive a monthly report (with photos), perhaps as an e-mail newsletter as well as being on the website.  If anyone wishes to send me photos of the visit they would be welcome!”.

Sue Sargeant has run several sessions on Splitting Sedums.  The group I was with also took some hardy geranium offshoots, and scales from a Royal Lily,  lilium regale.

We had an excellent time, learned a lot, had an enjoyable lunch, and came home with plants. What could be better?

Sue has produced a handy fact sheet on Dividing Perennials which you can find on our Website and Facebook Group.

Maison de Retraite 

The garden is still looking great, especially now the grasses are starting to mature. But Julia thought a few more bulbs for interest early in the year would be good, so a team got together to get them planted. Thanks to all our volunteers.

Our 2022 Calendar 

Our 2022 Calendar is now available.  It looks fantastic!

The choices have been made to represent your contributions and to show plants looking their best in each month in our region.

CONGRATULATIONS to all our winners. THANK YOU to everyone for participating.

In alphabetical order, our winners are:-

Susan Baker, Jennifer Barker, Julia Barton, Sarah Bellis-Jones, Julie Bennett, Belinda Berry, Chrissie Biddlecombe, Sally Ecclestone, Fiona Ellis, Fiona Forshaw, Tricia Geary, Marga Grondsma, Dawn Jackson, Betty Lilly, Jeanne McCaul, Liz Mitchell, Sue Sargeant, Iona Spencer, Edwina Silver, Pam Taylor, Joan Temple, Maz Todd, Luci Wilson

We hope that you will all be able to join us on Saturday 4th December at the main Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte, for the Prize Giving and Expo. All the photos will be printed up and on display.

If you have already pre-ordered, the calendars will be available at our meetings, visits and events for you to collect and pay for. But it’s not too late, so if you would like one (or more), please let us know. The calendars are 15€ each. Full A4 page of photos, with A4 grid with space for writing appointments.

To do in November

Get your bulbs planted. Mulch your borders, especially around any plants that may be susceptible to hard frosts. Sow leafy salads. Once the weather is truly cold and trees have become dormant you can start to think about pruning apples and pears. Plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs. Don’t forget to look after the wildlife, clean your bird feeders and inspect and clean your insect hotels. Create your winter displays in pots and containers. More suggestions on or

Dates for your Diary 

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday 21st November, at the Journée de l’Arbre, at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte, which attracts various nurseries and artisans and always makes for an interesting day.  The event is on from 9h to 18h.

We will have our Photo Calendar available. Please pre-order to avoid disappointment.

Thank you to those who have volunteered to help out on our stand, we hope to see lots of other members during the day.

December Meeting

Our final meeting of the year will be the Photo Exhibition and Prize Giving on Saturday 4th December at the main Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte from 14h.

At 15h Isabelle Durand will give us a demonstration of Making a Christmas Wreath and will bring materials for sale so you can make your own. Please reserve your place on this workshop. 

Please make every effort to come along to this festive event, bring your friends, enjoy all the photos, learn how to make a wreath, and celebrate our winners. 

Thank you to those who have offered to help on the day, or to make cakes or mince pies.  

Keep in touch

Don’t forget that between meetings, you can connect with other members on our Facebook group where you will also find photo albums from our visits and useful information in the files. You can ask for advice, share plants and seeds, tell us about local events, upload photos of  gardens you visit…. here are some recent highlights:   

For those not on Facebook, please visit our website and especially the Members Only area, where you can find photo galleries, information on our discount codes and presentations from our meetings – remember, the password for those pages is cjl82110.

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!  


September Newsletter

Hi Everyone,

There has been a bit of a chill in the air, but I am hopeful that we will continue to have some bright warm days into autumn, so that we can enjoy the tasks of preparing the garden for winter. 

Welcome to our new members

We are delighted to have had 12 new members join us this year and to have had a chance to meet most of them now. Please keep spreading the word and bring your friends along to visits  and meetings to see what we get up to.

Last call for photos

Each page is full A4 size, heavy weight, satin finish

September is the last month for submissions to our Photo Competition, so please get your entries in. Add them to our albums on Facebook, or send them directly to me.

Here is a draft of the wall calendar and if you haven’t already done so, please pre-order your copies now (fill in the form at the end of this post). The final price will be determined by the quantity we order.

For the next calendar competition we will be having some different themes for each month, so please keep on taking photos of things of interest in your garden.

Next Meeting

For our meeting on 12th October we are having a private visit to Arboretum de la Bergerette, 82660 Saint-Sardos. We have brought this forward from November, as it should be better for autumn colour. This arboretum, which houses the national collection of Oaks, is not usually open to the public. Shaun Haddock will give us a guided tour, starting at 14h30 (in English). If you would like to get there earlier, you are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds (there is space under cover if necessary).  As well as the oaks, there are many other species of ornamental and fruiting trees and many plants designed to attract and benefit wildlife. I am sure we will enjoy the Alphabet walk, with species from A to Z. An Association has been created to help safeguard the future of the arboretum, and we ask you to make a donation towards the ongoing upkeep of this wonderful resource.

So that we will be able to give Shaun an idea of numbers, please let us know if you can join us, and we will arrange car-sharing (form at the end of this post).

Recent events 

The Fête des Associations on 4th September was a good opportunity for us to introduce the mayor and his team to the club and to make connections with other associations, as well as to let the local residents know what we do. Julia shared tips on saving and cleaning seeds. 

Sue Sargeant, who recently raised 684€ for Cancer Support France by opening her garden, wants to redesign this bed of sedums, so will soon be digging them up, splitting them and potting on for planting out next Spring. Sue says “if there are any members who would like to observe this and learn how to divide them and take away their own Sedum they are welcome to come along.” Date to be confirmed late Oct/ early Nov. Register your interest by completing the form at the end.

Display of sedums in Sue’s garden

Our visit to Les Jardins de Coursiana on 14th September, was a wonderful outing, with a delicious lunch beforehand at L’Etape Angeline, organised by Shirley, and and an interesting and informative tour of the gardens. There was such a lot to see and enjoy. It really is worth a repeat visit. I’ll post a gallery of photos in the Members Area.

To do in late September and October 

Most of the phacelia is dug in, but I leave a few to flower, the bees love them

It’s time to be sowing Phacelia as a green manure, peas for an early crop (under cloches or in the polytunnel), mixed salad leaves in trays, broad beans to over-winter, summer cauliflowers, spinach, and other leafy veg, and maybe some fast-growing turnips to harvest around Christmas.  I also like to sow sweet peas before the end of October, to benefit from earlier flowers.

I will be mulching as I weed and clear spaces, with whatever I can get – horse manure, garden compost, cardboard covered with grass cuttings – the more we can cover the ground over winter, the less work there is to do in Spring.

On a dry day, you can collect seeds from hardy perennials, which can be sown straight away (or saved for our seed swap in November). It’s also a good time to move any deciduous shrubs that are in the wrong place, and to plant new evergreen ones. You can take cuttings now from ornamental trees and shrubs.

With all the leaves starting to fall, gather them up and store in bin bags, or make a big heap in a chicken-wire bin, to rot down into leafmould.

It’s not too late to order spring flowering bulbs – don’t forget that you can get a 15% discount from Farmer Gracy by using the code jardinagedelauzerte at the checkout. Their warehouse is in the Netherlands, so there is no problem with them delivering to France (unlike our suppliers for discounted seeds, who currently are not shipping outside of Britain). By the way, don’t be tempted to sow tulips too early, it is better to wait until we have had some cold weather, to minimise the risk of tulip fire.

Dates for your Diary

La Salicaire plant fair at Saint Nicolas de la Grave is on Sunday 17th October from 9h – 18h. You can see a list of exhibitors here. It is one of the best events in our area, with a wide range of plants from specialists.

On Saturday 6th November, we have been offered a private visit to the garden of Liz’s friend Nadia at Hautefage La Tour (47), with lovely grasses and other plants that look good in autumn. Liz has suggested that this could be combined with a morning visit to Chateau La Stelsia, at Saint-Sylvestre-sur-Lot, which is an unusual place, with a large parkland with interesting trees, metal and wooden art sculptures, a beautiful rose garden, lake with waterlilies and black swans. Although the roses won’t be at their best, the acer trees will hopefully have good Autumn colour. Enough to wander around for an hour or so, weather permitting. Le Bistrot there has a menu de jour which is always very good. If you would like to join us on this outing, please let us know on the form below, and we will see if we can negotiate a special price for lunch for our group.

Our plant and seed swap will now take place on Tuesday 9th November at the Salle de L’Eveillé in Lauzerte at 14h. If you have some garden produce such as jams, chutneys, dried fruits and vegetables, do bring them along (with a recipe) or make something tasty with your fresh produce, for our Garden to Table tasting. This will be a good opportunity to chat and share our experiences, of what has gone well, or been particularly challenging this year in the garden, and talk about our garden plans for next year. 

We still need a few volunteers please, for our stand at the Journée de l’Arbre, at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte, on Sunday 21st November. There will be lots of interesting exhibitors at this event, and we will be launching our calendar. So do come along to support us and the local pépinières and artisans.

If you can help, please tick the box on the form below.

Our final meeting of the year will be the Photo Exhibition and Prize Giving on Saturday 4th December at the main Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte from 14h. Isabelle Durand will give us a demonstration of making a Christmas Wreath. All the winning photos from the calendar competition will be printed up and on display. Please make every effort to come along, bring your friends, enjoy all the photos, learn how to make a wreath, and celebrate our winners. Can you make some mince pies or a cake for us? Please let us know, below.

Keep in touch

Don’t forget that between meetings, you can connect with other members on our Facebook group where you will also find photo albums from our visits and useful information in the files. You can ask for advice, share plants and seeds, tell us about local events, upload photos of gardens you visit…. 

I have recently updated our list of Pépinières, and the Google map that goes with it also includes all the public gardens that we know of in this area. If you know somewhere that is missing, please let me know. You can download the list here :

For those not on Facebook, please visit our website and especially the Members Only area, where you can find photo galleries, information on our discount codes and presentations from our meetings – remember, the password for those pages is cjl82110.

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon, please do complete our feedback form below, if you would like to come on any of our visits, or can help out.



September Newsletter Feedback Form

August Newsletter

Hi Everyone,

The weather seems quite unusual this year! Just when we think we need to learn about hot, dry gardens, along comes a cool, damp summer to confound us! But at last my tomatoes are starting to ripen, and as always, some plants are loving the conditions that others hate. Do let us know what is doing well in your garden, and don’t forget we need photos for our August calendar (and it’s not too late to add some for previous months).

We don’t have a meeting in August, but we have events and visits to look forward to in September, and we need to finalise arrangements for those, so please let us know if you will be able to join us.

Next meetings

Firstly, on Saturday 4th September, the mairie in Lauzerte is arranging a Fête des Associations at the Salles des Fêtes, from 14h to 18h. It is hoped that all the local associations will be present, to share news about what they do. As part of this, we are going to run a Seed Preparation workshop at 15h – this will cover when and how to collect seeds, how to clean and store them and key tips for sowing. We will also be showing you how to make your own seed packets. This should be a timely activity, as there should be plenty of seeds ripe and ready to be collected, and it will enable you to get ready for our October Plant and Seed Swap. I hope you can come and join us for this activity – places will be limited to allow for social distancing, so please reserve your place as soon as possible, using our reservation form at the end of the newsletter.

Les Jardins de Coursiana

Our meeting on Tuesday September 14th will be at Les Jardins de Coursiana, 32480 La Romieu. These beautiful gardens, on silty clay soil, in the Gers, to the south west of Agen, are about 1hr 15 minutes drive from Lauzerte. Another of the “Jardins remarquables”, the gardens were created in 1975, by an eminent botanist M. Cours Darne with the planting of about 300 trees and shrubs. The current owners took over in 1992, and under his guidance, continued the enrichment of the gardens, developing an English garden and then a garden of medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as a potager. We plan to have a guided tour, which including entry to the gardens, will be €8,50 per person.

L’etape Angeline

Knowing how our members enjoy going out for lunch, we have arranged a meal beforehand at l’Etape Angeline in nearby La Romieu. We have arranged a menu, for 20€ including wine and coffee.

  • Starter: Salade de jardin
  • Main course:
    • Pintade fermière sauce au poivre, or
    • Poisson grillé a la plancha et legumes
  • Dessert: Croustade aux pommes maison

Please let us know your choice of main course and if there are any foods you must avoid, or you are vegetarian.

You could make a full day of it with a morning walk around the historic town of La Romieu, and a visit to the church, Collégiale Saint-Pierre, which dates back to 14th century. A visit to the church is 5€.

For this visit, we will be car-sharing, so please let us know if you are willing to drive, and how many places you can offer. The round trip would cost around €16 to €20 for a typical car, so we suggest that each person gives their driver an appropriate contribution.

To summarise the overall possible cost for the day :-

  • transport about 5€
  • visit to church 5€
  • lunch €20
  • visit to garden with tour €8,50

We need to know numbers by 3rd September, so please complete our form, which you will find at the end of the newsletter:

Recent events

On July 13th, we had our wonderful coach trip and Summer Picnic at the Jardin de Martels. We were really lucky with the weather, in that it mainly stayed dry, until we were under the cover of the pergola during lunch! The gardens are stunning, what a treat that was.

On July 27th we held a Cuttings Workshop at our gardens at the Maison de Retraite. It was a really enjoyable morning, and the gardens are looking wonderful. We took cuttings from penstemon, salvia, rosemary, cistus, lavender, phygelius, and hebe.

At short notice, on July 30th, Edwina organised a Glass Fusion workshop for some of us at Reay Art in Tournon d’Agenais, which was an absorbing and challenging way to spend a few hours. I can’t wait to see how they turn out after firing!

Dates for your Diary

With social distancing requirements, we are very limited in how many we can accommodate at the Salle de l’Eveillé, and we don’t want to be turning people away at the door – so I hope you appreciate that we are concentrating on outside visits and those where we can use the grand hall at the Salle des Fêtes, for the rest of this year.

September is the last month for submitting photos for our Photo Competition, as then we will move on to judging and creating the calendar. Most of the entries are being added to our albums on Facebook, but you can send them directly to me if you don’t use that.

We are awaiting confirmation of a date for the Brocante in Chantal’s Garden, which we have had to defer a couple of times already, due to the pandemic. We are hopeful that this can go ahead in September and will let you know the date as soon as possible.

For our meeting on 12th October, we will get together in a member’s garden for a Plant and Seed Swap. We want to see packets of clean seed being shared please! So if you want to learn about how best to gather, clean and store seeds that you collect in your garden, please join us on Sat Sep 4th for the Seed Workshop mentioned above. If you are lifting and dividing congested plants, please pot up any spares to share with members and give them at least a couple of weeks to get settled before the meeting. If taking cuttings, get started as soon as possible, so that you will be able to pot on well-rooted cuttings. Don’t forget to label everything! For our refreshments, we will be asking you to bring something made from produce in your garden (or if you don’t have a potager, something made with seasonal produce) along with a recipe, so that we can have a Garden to Table tasting, and inspire each other with what to grow in future. If you would like to host this meeting, please let me know, otherwise I am happy to do so.

In November, we will be thinking mainly about TREES. Our meeting on Tuesday 9th November will be a visit to a specialist tree nursery, with we hope, some expert advice. Then Sunday 21st November is the Journée de l’Arbre, at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte, where we will have a stand. Volunteers needed please, so put this date in your diary. This will also be the launch of our 2022 Calendar with entries from our Photo Competition. We will be asking you to pre-order copies, so that we get an idea of how many we will need to print. They will make great Christmas presents and we hope that every member will want to have one at least for themselves. Price will depend on the quantity we order and any discounts we can take advantage of, but should be no more than about €15 each.

Our final meeting of the year will be the Photo Exhibition and Prize Giving on Saturday 4th December at the Salle des Fêtes in Lauzerte. We are planning to make the most of the space by holding a Christmas Decoration workshop during the afternoon. This is a great opportunity for all members of the club to get together, to celebrate our winners, and all the super things we have managed to do together this year, despite the restrictions. I am thinking mulled wine and mince pies, perhaps?

Looking ahead to 2022

Julia and I have been working on the 2022 programme and already have some exciting things in store for you all. We are using the feedback you have given us on the membership forms to help shape the programme, but we are open to suggestions for specific things to include. We all love the meetings where we have an expert come to talk to us, with the opportunity for them to have plants/products for sale afterwards. But who should they be? Do you have any suggestions for particular speakers? Would you like to host a visit for the club in your garden? Is there a garden visit, workshop or activity that you think we should have in the programme? It’s your club, and we want to do the things that you are interested in. There is space in the reservation form to give us your suggestions.

This has become a long newsletter. I am reminded of a guy I worked with who always apologised for a long email by saying “I don’t have time to write a short one” It’s true, it takes ages to be concise.

Wishing you a happy August and looking forward to our next meeting, in the meantime, please don’t forget to let us know – about the Seed Workshop, the visit to La Coursiana, and suggestions for the 2022 programme, and put all those dates above in your diaries!

If you have any queries, you can contact me, or Edwina our secretary.