The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois - B&B,  Pool, Gite, Park & Gardens
The Park & Gardens
 
 
The Front Park @ Le Grand Bois
The Front Park @ Le Grand Bois
The formal front Park was laid out by the original owner, there are paths designed to be followed for the best views of the many specimen trees that were planted.
The new road signs for Le Grand Bois, at the front of the Park
The new road signs for Le Grand Bois, at the front of the Park
 : One of the many pleasent areas in the approximate 5-1/2 acres of park & gardens that surround the property. This also includes an Orchard that is being rescued from 20 years of neglect, 90% of the work has now been completed, we've just added two Cherry trees as it already contained the following fruit & nut trees; Apples, Pears, Plums, Figs, Mirabelles, Quince, Vines, Cobbnut, Hazelnut & Walnut. There is also a field that the local deer sometimes sleep in, that we are leaving as a wildlife refuge, with a walk way cut around the outside.
One of the many pleasent areas in the approximate 5-1/2 acres of park & gardens that surround the property. This also includes an Orchard that is being rescued from 20 years of neglect, 90% of the work has now been completed, we've just added two Cherry trees as it already contained the following fruit & nut trees; Apples, Pears, Plums, Figs, Mirabelles, Quince, Vines, Cobbnut, Hazelnut & Walnut. There is also a field that the local deer sometimes sleep in, that we are leaving as a wildlife refuge, with a walk way cut around the outside.
One Of Our Hammocks
One Of Our Hammocks
What a place to relax on our glorious Spring, Summer, Auturm days, & evenings
Shaded Area In Rear Garden of Le Grand Bois
Shaded Area In Rear Garden of Le Grand Bois
A little shade under one of the two large Magnolia trees that are in the grounds. We also have two superb typically French pollarded Indian Bean trees that provide wonderful shade on those really hot summer days, what we thought was a third Magnolia tree it turns out is a large Laurel
Golden Oriole's @ Le garnd Bois July 2012
Golden Oriole's @ Le garnd Bois July 2012
This year we have been hearing the most anazing birdsong / calls in the Front Park eminating from one of the large 3 Oaks near the house. We have now discovered that this is the song of the Golden Oriole a Loriet type bird that Summers here. We thought that we had some kind of Paraket, & I guess that a Loriet is very similar to a Paraket, just without the hooked type bill of the Parrot family. We are so pleased to have these migrant visitors here at The Retreat @ Legrand Bois.
Forever Changing Features
Forever Changing Features
This wonderful shrub has been flowering since the last week or so of June, it is truly spectacular, & we now know what it's name is: CAMPSIS - Mme Galen ! There are many colour available in the Jardi-land garden centre at Bergerac
The Hoopoe's are back at Le Grand Bois on the 18th of March is year 2012
The Hoopoe's are back at Le Grand Bois on the 18th of March is year 2012
Although we saw two Hoopoe's on the afternoon of the 22nd March 2011, it wasn't until the 25th that we managed too have the camera to hand to get these shots of these beautiful birds at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois.
Our very mysterious white & pink Cherry Tree, this tree at the rear of the house has two coloured flowers on it & both are a different kind of flower, the white flowers are a single type flower while the pink is a double type flower
Our very mysterious white & pink Cherry Tree, this tree at the rear of the house has two coloured flowers on it & both are a different kind of flower, the white flowers are a single type flower while the pink is a double type flower
The White at pink Cherry Tree at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois
Our best shot of one of the baby Owls
Our best shot of one of the baby Owls
One of the three baby Owls, although there is plenty of evidence below the tree, bird dropings, & Owl pellets. We guess the noises we've heard is the babies when they want feeding. We are so lucky to be getting all of this wildlife so very close to us here at Le Grand Bois.
Another photo of one of the babies, also showing the early beginings of the head feather that give Long Eared Owls their name
Another photo of one of the babies, also showing the early beginings of the head feather that give Long Eared Owls their name
Another photo of one of the babies, also showing the early beginings of the head feather that give Long Eared Owls their name
Two of the three or four baby Long Eared Owls at Le Grand Bois-France, another is sitting in the next tree having got a bit brave & venturing off, but now seems to be stuck there. although the parent is close by in a tree just a few metres away keeoing guard on her, or his brood.
Two of the three or four baby Long Eared Owls at Le Grand Bois-France, another is sitting in the next tree having got a bit brave & venturing off, but now seems to be stuck there. although the parent is close by in a tree just a few metres away keeoing guard on her, or his brood.
One Of The Parent Owls
One Of The Parent Owls
As dusk arrives at Le Grand Bois so does one of the parent Owls, in this photo you can see the beautiful head feathers of the Long Eared Owl, this photo also shows the bright orange eyes that Long Eared Owls are known to have.
Tina's Vegetable Garden
Tina's Vegetable Garden
Besides the 240 potato plants we have planted we also have several rows of Onions in this bed, so we have had to dig another bed further up the garden.
Tina's Vegetable Garden
Tina's Vegetable Garden
We now have rows of Peas, Broad Beans, Courgettes, Runner Beans, and more Tomato plants than we know what to do with, so we are giving them away as fast as we can
Tina Knows Her Onions
Tina Knows Her Onions
This is Tina's first year of vegetable growing here at Le Grand Bois, and despite all the very hot sunny weather that we had through March, April & May Tina has managed to get some reasonable crops.
Tina also has a vast crop of Tomatos some of which we have already sampled, the world famous Marmande's have proven a bit of a problem, they have grown so big & heavy that they have bent the canes supporting them, photos of the Tomatos to be posted soon.
Tina's Courgettes or Zucinni
Tina's Courgettes or Zucinni
Tina has been very lucky with her fisrt crop of Courgettes, we have had them in all manner of ways; fried, grilled, sauted, in pasta dishes, on Pizzas, in curries, in stews, on the side, & in the freezer, next year Tina will not be planting so many ! We had the same promlem with Tina's crop of tomatos, so many we had up to two buckets full each day.
Tina Pollarding The Indian Bean Trees
Tina Pollarding The Indian Bean Trees
At the begining of October we have to remove all this years new branchs, and the tree looks a little bare, and somewhat spooky, but when Spring arrives the trees will shoot out a mass of new branchs that have massive leaves, & then produce big long seed pods that look like very long French Beans. The leaves provide fantastic shade & make a really spectacular picture.
Giant Puff Ball Mushrooms @ LGB
Giant Puff Ball Mushrooms @ LGB
Here are two of the giant Puffballs that we got in December, we get all kinds of mushrooms growing even those funny little Magic Mushrooms, nust be something to do with the great climate we have down here.
Pin Parasols & The Orchard at LGB
Pin Parasols & The Orchard at LGB
We have just planted these two Pin Parasols some 30 metres from the orchard & the same distance from our recently planted privet hedge barrier between the swimming pool area & the rest of the rear garden areas. The orchard has been cleared after 20 years of neglect, & now does at least look like it was planted rather than just grown. We have left a few of the self-set Oaks as they make a nice backdrop & will produce a useable timber source in the future.
Pin Parasols at Le Grand Bois
Pin Parasols at Le Grand Bois
Pin Parasols, or Parasol Pines to us, are a very popular tree in Southern France, & after another 20 years of care & growth will become the majestic shade providing trees that are so often photographed & a common feature of the local landscape. We have planted these two about 8 metres apart in the hope that the Canopies will eventually grow towards each other & produce an impressive archway & a possible new rear entrance to Le Grand Bois in the years to come.
One of the nesting Woodpeckers
One of the nesting Woodpeckers
This woodpecker is nesting in a tree at the front of the Gaurdian House.
A nesting Woodpecker having just feed it's young
A nesting Woodpecker having just feed it's young
This Woodpecker is back & forwards all day feeding it's young in a tree at the rear of Le Grand Bois
This little bird is nesting in the Front Terrace
This little bird is nesting in the Front Terrace
There are so many different kinds of birds nesting at Le Grand Bois this year, and we only know what a few of them are.
One of the many Bees in the gardens
One of the many Bees in the gardens
This beautiful Butterfly in April 2012
This beautiful Butterfly in April 2012
Our Box Hedge Circle.
Our Box Hedge Circle.
We normally keep the inside of the circle carefully mowed & was cut twice earlier in the year, but we thought for this year we sould what it would look like if we let all the moon daiseys grow & flower, The Campsis Madam Gallen in the centre will soon be if flower with its glorious show of trumpet type flowers.
The Wisterier Covered Garden Arbour
The Wisterier Covered Garden Arbour
We generally get two or even three flowerings on the blue each year but only one of the long flowered white variety
A view of the fron park from the libarey as you approch the seating area on the first floor balcony
A view of the fron park from the libarey as you approch the seating area on the first floor balcony
Tulip Tree flower Liriodendron tulipifera
Tulip Tree flower Liriodendron tulipifera
Magnoliaceae -- Magnolia family
Also commonly called Yellow Poplar. Height: up to 200 feet,Tulip tree, also commonly known as yellow poplar, tulip-poplar, white-poplar, and whitewood, is one of the most attractive and tallest of eastern hardwoods. It is fast growing and may reach 300 years of age on deep, rich, well-drained soils of forest coves and lower mountain slopes.
Tulip Tree Foliage and Flowers
Tulip Tree Foliage and Flowers
The Tulip Tree is part of the Magnolia family, & has to be the most beautiful of all the flowering trees we have here at Le Grand Bois The wood has high commercial value because of its versatility, and is also valued as a honey tree, a source of wildlife food, and a shade tree for large areas.
A lovely view of the front park from our newly refurbished balcony
A lovely view of the front park from our newly refurbished balcony
The Colours of the trees & grass shows just how lush and fertile this part of the Lot et Garonne is in Spring & early Summer
The Sun Sails At Le Grand Bois Replaced
The Sun Sails At Le Grand Bois Replaced
We put up the Sun Sails at the begining of Summer 3012 to give a greater shaded area for guests to sit to have kunch or an afternoon out of the sun. As ever & when possible we strive to improve the facilities & quality of fixture & fittings here at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois.
The New French Style Pergolas 2013
The New French Style Pergolas 2013
We have this August fitted two new French Style Pergolas to the rear entrance & terrace area of Le Grand Bois, although the sun sails did a great job, we wanted something a little more traditionally French & in-keeping with the the general look of The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois.
The New French Style Pergolas 2013
The New French Style Pergolas 2013
The Metal French style pergolas with their canvas shades are jst perfect on the rear terrace area, which has also been relaid this Spring & now look very smart, & is still a great place to keep out of the sun on those very hot summer days.
Deer at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois
Deer at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois
These two Deer; a Doe & her Fawn were taking advantage of the fallen fruit in the Orchard on a rare dull morning at Le Grand Bois, they came out of their normal refuge, our Stumpy Field where we know they spend their days sleeping.
Deer at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois
Deer at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois
Although we catch glimpsing sight of them on a regular basis, they usually return to Stuppy Field at the first sign of a human, but this dull morning they felt safe enough to continue feeding. Sometimes there are four or more, but it's the first time we've got them on camera. We hope that now they are feeling a little more secure with us around that we may get some better photos in the sunny Autumnal mornings of this fall.
Tina's Leafmould Retainer
Tina's Leafmould Retainer
This is our version of Monty Donn's (of BBC Gardener's World) idea for getting rid of the millions of leaves that fall each autumn so 5 old reclaimed Oak posts & some chicken wire does the job, 6 month & we'll have the best potting up compost going, or is that leafmould !
Daffs up the drive April 2013
Daffs up the drive April 2013
In January this year we spent several very cold & wet days putting in almost a 1000 bulbs mainly Daffs, along with some Croscus's & a few dozen Tulips around the garden & drive at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois, as they went in so late we didn't expect any flowers this year , maybe just a bit of greenery, but we now have a wonderful show, with still 100's more Daffs to come up. The Tulips have all shot & are almost out, so it have been worth all the effort, & next year they should look amazing.
Daffs April 2013
Daffs April 2013
The unexpected show of Daffs up the right hand side of the drive
The hedge up the drive April 2013
The hedge up the drive April 2013
Having been at Le Grand Bois for almost three years now, many of the plants& shrubs are now recovering from 20 years of neglect & being eaten by the horse that used to roam freely all around the gardens. This year we have has a glorious show of flowers from the hedging all down the drive. We don't know what it is but it's been beautiful.
The hedge up the drive April 2013
The hedge up the drive April 2013
About 100 metres of tiny white flower clusters lining the drive at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois this Spring.
The Most Stunning Lot & Garonne Sunset
The Most Stunning Lot & Garonne Sunset
Tonight we were blessed with the most stunningly glorious sunset ever,
One of our two new large Millstones for the entrance to Le Grand Bois.
One of our two new large Millstones for the entrance to Le Grand Bois.
We hope they will be righted, & positioned this week, the larger of the two weighs in at around 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 tonnes, the smaller is around 1 to 1-1/4 tonnes, we want to have script metal signs made to fix to the top of the central drive shafts, either "Le Grand Bois" or "The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois.
Our new Herb Planter on the rear Terrace, they have grown alot since this photo was taken
Our new Herb Planter on the rear Terrace, they have grown alot since this photo was taken
New Planters & Garden feature, has all now been planted up ready for the coming summer of 2014
New Planters & Garden feature, has all now been planted up ready for the coming summer of 2014
The Stone slab seat was given to us by a good friend who was returning to England after 15 years in the area, she kindly donated, various planters, the seat, & a beautiful large Urn, thank you Rosemary.
The Stone slab seat was given to us by a good friend who was returning to England after 15 years in the area, she kindly donated, various planters, the seat, & a beautiful large Urn, thank you Rosemary.
 
 
Really huge Mushroom we found down the rear Gardens a few days ago it was well over six inches from the ground to the top of it's cap, in fact the cap was the best part of six inches tall, does anyone have any idea what type of Mushroom it might be ?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tina has been putting the odd Hazelnut out on the stone slab seat between the two large old Accasia trees that sit out the front of Le Grand Bois in the hope of getting some good photographs of our Red Squirrel from the front park, & she has succeeded this is just one of the many we have taken, but see the following Photo its exactly what she has been try catch.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Red Squirrel taking one of the Hazelnuts Tina has been enticing it with,
 
 
 
 
 
 
And it would appear that our little Red Squirrel has got a mate too, Tina screamed at me "theres two Squirrels now". We are so pleased to have a pair of Red Squirrels, so we hope that maybe in the Spring we'll have baby Red Squirrels as well as our Baby Long Eared Owls.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Partridge Family putting in an appearance at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois,
 
 
 
Well just part of the family, there are
normally five or more of them la
 
 
 
 
This morning while i was working in the front Park I found this Amazing mushroom & a couple of others, this one is about 10" (250mm) across & stood at least 12" (300mm) tall. It is called a Parasol Mushroom, (Macrolepiota procera), & is apparently a very tasty edible species, to try or not to try that is the question ?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A second Parasol Mushroom not yet open This one was about 10" tall, we are so lucky having all the different Flora & Forna here at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois it seems that there is always something new appearing somewhere in the gardens, In all we had about 20 of these amazing large mushrooms.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Some of the Tulips planted at Le Grand Bois this January (2015),
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Winter as about as bad as it got this year, maybe 1/2" of snow that lasted for all of 4 or 5 hours, we also only had around 1/2 a dozen severe frosts all winter where we were down to  -5C to -7C. But it was pretty wet, & the rear gardens became quite boggy for a couple of months.
 
 
 
 
Just one of the several Snow Drop clumps we now have growing at Le Grand Bois, each year we try to expand the range of wild & native seasonal flowers that should be around the Front Park & grounds, but that had been destroyed over the prior 20 years before we purchased the property in 2010.
 
 
 
 
 
One of our many Hazels we coppice every few winters this one was around 6 Metres high & had a spread of around 4 Metres, this year we took it down to around 1 Metre in height, in doing so we have plenty of bean sticks for this year vegetables, a load or two of medium size wood for getting the fire going, & next year we'll coppice again down to the ground, giving us about 30 or 40, 1 metre lengths of small to median logs, which will be cut in half for the log burner in the lounge, waste not, want not !
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hazel logs going to one of the wood stores ready for next winters heating, here at Le Grand Bois we burn around 25+ cubic Metres of logs every winter. This is a large amount of wood to cut each year, we have too thank Jim & Julia, & Chris & Sue for the most welcome offers of wood to cut, for the taking, & Patrick for his bi-yearly offer of a couple of cubic Metres too, all most gratefully appreciated by Tina & myself.
 
 
First garden flowers of the year, Golden Yellow Crocuses
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This years Long Eared Owl Chicks at The Retreat @ Le Grand Bois. Below are just a selection of the hundreds of photos we have taken of 2015's Owl chicks, each Spring we are blessed with a clutch of these wonderful little Owls chicks, as time goes on they seem to be more accepting of us & let us photograph them from much less than two metres away, long may it & they continue to grace us with their presence
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13Th February 2016
Today we were very lucky to be visited by a pair of Bustards, not really 100% sure on the kind of Bustards they are but they were Bustards, unfortunately the photos were taken with my phone & not the camera with a longer lense which would have given a much clearer photograph of them 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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