There are still some harvests to gather in the garden – the last few marrows and gourds need to be picked before the frosts, and the rows of parsnips are now demanding to be harvested to provide winter delights such as parsnip chips and curried parsnip soup, which are practically unknown to the French.

According to the ‘code forestier’ and ‘arrêté prefectoral’ of 18/13/2004, if you are the owner of land which is less than 200 metres from woodland, brush land or moors, it is your legal responsibility to limit fire risk by clearing and cutting back all undergrowth within 50 metres of your property.

May is the time when results really begin to show. The pleasure of being in a well-stocked, colourful and fragrant garden is really apparent, and if the weather is warm enough even swimming may be possible for those of us who are hardy enough, although the water will still be about 20 deg.C.

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