Would you be shocked if I told you that I consider my neighbour's property as my cutting garden?! Don't worry, I don't tie Madame up and gag her while I raid her flower beds, no, the house is empty and has been for years now.
This happens a lot in France, inheritance laws and taxes can be so complicated that houses are often left untended for long periods of time before the paperwork is sorted.
When Madame was still alive, she was a good neighbour to us, and I like to think that we helped her out too. She often invited me to pick flowers or fruit from her garden and orchard, she hated any waste. So today when I climb the wall and put together a bouquet for the house, or bring back baskets of cherries, I always think of her.
I remember the children helping feed her rabbits, how she showed me the best way to grow mange tout peas. And sometimes, to say thank you, I return with gardening tools and prune or weed a little.
Here is the bouquet I put together today, lilac and ornamental cherry - my idea of heaven!