I keep a moderately sized potager in the true French manner--something is always growing fresh for culinary use.  The terracotta roofing tiles found heaped in a garden corner gradually became the design bones.   I started the first, four-foot-by-twelve-foot block bed framed by overlapping tiles in 2010, and by 2012 there are thirteen such beds.  About half of the 6,500 square feet garden remains to be renovated as it was poorly maintained, especially its fruit trees and bushes, for ten years prior to our habitation.

We are very fortunate to live in an almost countrified quartier of a small city -- many people grow edibles, keep chickens, and appreciate good food.  Our next-door neighbours, Monsieur and Madame M, are extremely kind, helpful, and friendly.  The whole feel of the quartier dates from a gentler and slower time, as a good number of inhabitants have lived here all their lives.

My goal is to grow as much of the fresh produce we eat that I possibly can. The southwest French climate has a long, hot growing season making the cultivation of melons and tomatoes a cinch in the open garden, with hardly much spring or autumn, though with a short but cold enough winter for delights like lilacs, certain fruit trees, and many bulbs.

The drawbacks are the intense heat, lack of rain, and a soil not the greatest in the fertility department.   But I have plans, loads of them, an unbridled, geeky focus, an unrelenting appreciation of good food, a husband (The Calm One) willing to do the initial deep spading of the beds and implement some clever solutions, a burning love of leaf mould and compost, and the resolve to keep going!  Gardening makes me a better person.