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  1. James Wellbeloved was bought out by Royal Canin which is widely available here and I initially had two of my dogs on that but am now changing them onto Arden Grange (in my opinion, better food, fewer additives).  I get this from an English run company based near Grenoble.  They are always very efficient.  I usually ring up one day and it arrives the next day.  Sue Lynam who runs it is also very informative.  She got into dog food because she has a dog who had loads of digestive problems, which she has now sorted out with the right food.  Have a look at their website  www.seulementnaturel.fr
  2. Yes, definitely the glorious peony.  My husband is very scathing of these flowers because they have a few fantastic blooms and then are very quickly gone, but I think their beauty more than makes up for their brief showing.  I picked up a very useful tip from Alan Titchmarsh whilst watching the Chelsea Flower Show recently - don't move them.  Apparently they really don't like it.  So I hope you like where they are!!!!
  3. Thank you for this Liz.  Perhaps the dog is the culprit then, it is just so hard to tell.  It was the fact that it coincided with a very windy night that the dog was initially excused.  It is such a huge clump, almost my height at nearly six feet and so big, you couldn't get your arms around it, which is why I was hesitant to stake it up, as I didn't want the rope to cut into the stems under their own weight.  I definitely don't have light soil, so that is not the problem!  The plant still looks in a rather sad state, although starting to put out new flowers.  I think I will have to bite the bullet and cut a lot of the fallen stuff off although some of it is definitely trying to get back upright.  I am a bit depressed about this as it was my pride and joy in the border.  You are of course right, there is plenty of time for new growth.  It would have to be this week though, my best friend arrives for the royal inspection of our new house!!!!!
  4. That looks like Perovskia to me.  I desperately wanted to grow this (when in Yorkshire!!!!) but failed.  The altitude and atrocious conditions prevailed against it.  I now have a beautiful, huge, south facing patch and have just planted my latest Perovskias (one pink and one blue).  It is all looking good so far...
  5. Just went back and got the link: www.iris-cayeux.com/index.php?langue=EN&devise=eur
  6. If I get there, I will certainly ask about feeding the plants.  However I can't promise to get there.  I reckon it is at least a two hour drive (probably more) and I am still trying to persuade hubbie that he wants to drive all that way.  If we go, it won't be until the weekend after next (definitely Le Lude this coming weekend as I have a huge garden to plant up and the plant sales there are just lovely).  We will enquire for the weekend after that.  From what I gather from their website (very good site also in English) there are best days to visit to see their 55 acres in flower, so we will phone before!  It also of course depends on the weather - they don't tend to look so good after a downpour.  However if the weather is good, I definitely want to go. On another tack, could I please pick gardeners' brains?  I have a truly magnificent clump of white arum lillies in the border (just about the only nice plant left by the previous lot!).  However it was very windy yesterday and I woke to find half of the clump lying on the floor (up to 15 lillies looking very sad).  At first the dog was the culprit but no paw prints so I am pretty sure it was the wind.  My question is, what is the best thing to do?  Should I stake it all back up or cut off those flowers which have fallen over and leave it to sort itself out.  At first I was hoping it might just right itself, but no sign of that yet.  Help much appreciated.
  7. I have just started my first potager but am getting some expert advice from an elderly French neigbour who has a completely perfect veg patch.  He turned up the other day with some young lettuce plants for me and a bucket of wood ash.  He has been gardening organically all his life and not one of the leaves of his crop have been nibbled, so I tend to value his advice.  He uses coffee grounds to deter the ants.  However he does not have a dog. I would be very reluctant to use slug pellets.  They kill the slugs but also then the animals which eat the slugs.  I have a friend who lost his Springer Spaniel because he ate some sort of pellet the farmer had put into his maize field.  Not the same thing I know but just shows how nasty these chemicals can be.  As the owner of a Springer and a maize field (farmed by a neighbour) of course this set alarms ringing.
  8. I am also a big (but learner) iris fan.  I am hoping to get to the Cayeux nurseries in the next couple of weeks for a real fix. However this is clashing slightly with the Festival du Jardin at the Chateau of Le Lude in the Loire Valley (I only have transport at the weekends when hubbie is home).  This is a big weekend event with talks and tours etc.  Lovely, lovely kitchen garden but best of all loads of stalls selling plants, offering many varieties which are not usually available at the garden centres.  For now I am having to make do with the large clump of the yellow flag irises at the side of the pond which are nice but yellow is not really my colour.  I am hoping in the fullness of time to plant great drifts of blue irises.  Nice to see other people are such fans too!
  9. I regularly order craft goods from the US and so far (contrary to expectations) have never been charged anything on top.  Sometimes the orders have been for well over $100 but still no extra charges on top, so perhaps it does depend on what the goods are.
  10. One of the saddest sights I have seen since being here was at a puppy fair (I only went because it was literally at the end of my road!).  There was a cage shoved at the back of a row of others with a few small cross breeds in it and 2 or 3 dalmatian pups.  I couldn't work out why the had mixed the cross breeds and the pedigrees and then I realised.  The dallies had hardly any spots on them and as such were not desirable specimens of the breed(how cross does this make me?????)  I felt so so sad for them and wondered what kind of future they could possibly have (simply because of the lack of a bit of pigment).  Really I was glad we had not yet bought our house as I would have been strongly tempted to buy the lot, which would not have been sensible as I already have enough to cope with with what I have got already.  However I still wonder sometimes what must have become of them. As I have said on here before.  I don't mind if people breed but only on the condition that they do as my deerhound's breeder did and insist that if I am ever unable to keep him, he can be returned to her.  That way you can ensure that the lives you have created and should always be responsible for, never end up in the dogs' home.  If you can't do this, then don't breed.
  11. Sending one away though would only increase the distress of the two dogs if they really don't want to be separated.  If there are two of you to help, try separating them for very short periods of time, making sure they each have someone with them to train or play with them, ie make sure they are very distracted and/or having a lot of fun, so they are not just getting their fun time from each other.  Then build up the amount of time gradually and on a regular basis ie start with just a few minutes and then increase the time from then on.  What you are trying to do is realign their focus onto people and away from each other.  This is a classic problem with taking on two litter mates, but I am sure with time and patience you can sort this out.  In the long run, this is the best for the dogs.  Good luck with it and I hope you start to see some results soon.  I do think it is sensible to wait to get a third dog as this just brings extra complexities into the mix.  As Catalpa wrote, it does of course depend a lot on the temperaments of the dogs.  I have two quite difficult adult dogs and then I got my Springer pup.  I have spent a lot of time with him on his own and it seems to be working out well.  I was very worried at the beginning that he might pick up some of the anxieties and bad habits of my pointer but he just has such a sweet, sweet temperament that she has had very little negative effect on him, even though they play together a lot (apart from teaching him how to steer clear when she is having a nowty moment!!!)  Nurture is obviously important but I am leaning more towards the nature camp now!
  12. I would also caution having a third dog at this point.  Whilst I am loathe to dissuade anyone to take on a dog who needs a home, given your situation at the moment, you could be making things even harder for yourself.  However on the plus side, Christine is right, another dog might refocus their attention from each other, however I sort of doubt this.  I have three dogs myself and my experience is that two dogs play together well, three often don't.  Even when we have friends' dogs round, they often seem to play in twos.  Although this might also be because two are gundogs and one is a hound, having similar age/types of dogs might work better Also, given that your dogs are still young and need further training, it is a lot to take on.  In trying to solve one problem, you might be creating a whole set of other problems.  It might be better to try some other strategies to encourage them to be more interested in other people and not just each other.  Anyway, I wish you luck with trying to sort this out.
  13. I would also like to say how very sorry I am to hear of the loss of your beloved dog.  Sadly I think Christine Animal is probably right.  As soon as I read your posting, I thought it sounded like bloat or 'gastric torsion'.  This is a very nasty condition often suffered by large and deep chested dogs.  As the owner of a large breed (deerhound) I live in constant fear of this illness, especially after one of his litter mates died of it.  Sadly even the vets don't really know what causes it.  There are a number of theories, stuff about exercise and diet, but none of it conclusive.  It is really just a case of being aware of some of the symptoms (which are not always obvious and vary greatly) and watching your dogs carefully.  Talk to your vet about this.  He might be able to give you some information to help for the future.  It is also correct that once a dog has suffered gastric torsion, they are prone to it again.  Sometimes in bad cases, the stomach is stitched into position to prevent it turning but it is not a cure all.  None of this of course helps you at this time.  It must have been a terribly shock and I can only again say how sorry I am and send you best wishes.  Comfort yourself with the thought that he was a much loved and well cared for dog in a world where there are many who are not.
  14. Yes I also agree, as your cats are starting to mature now.  It is probably a territory or dominance thing.  Also, cats are very clean and really don't like to use a soiled tray (I used to have four tom cats, which was fun (!!!)).  You should find that a second tray solves the problem.
  15. mossie


    Hey folks, try having a Springer!!!  He brings in more muck and mess than both my huge hairy deerhound and the pointer put together.  At least three times a day he comes into the house wet and coated all underneath with mud (of course the pond outside doesn't help but isn't the only culprit!)  I had no idea such a little dog could bring in so much mess.  However he always looks like he has had a ball, so I just put it down to natural dog behaviour and ignore it, but it has taken some getting used to and he is only 8 months old.  I have realised that because the other two are much further from the ground, they just bring in muddy paws, not a completely slathered undercarriage.  It is simply impossible to bath him every time, I just towel him down and look the other way!!!!.  On the subject of the pointers fur though, something I find useful - I have a glove with a rubber side on the palm covered in little raised blobs which is great for running across her fur and taking out all the shed stuff.  I don't know if you can get them here but they are so effective.  It is quicker than hoovering too.  The other skill is not to get too stressed on the house cleaning front.  It is a losing battle if you have dogs and what would you rather have, a clean house or a dog.  No contest really...
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