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Below you will find a selection of the most recent entries from bloggers in the Your Home section.

To view the entries from individual bloggers, click on the links below:

Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva
Her mission as a professional organizer is to improve people’s lives by coaching them how to set up and maintain efficient systems to keep their time and space in order. Anna helps her clients to visualize their ideal lifestyle and works side-by-side with tem to reach their goals. These can range from redesigning their closet à la Marie Kondo to getting their paperwork under control, improving their time management skills or preparing for the arrival of a baby. Anna is a KonMari Consultant and a member of the Swiss Association of Professional Organizers (Swiss-APO). She works in and around Geneva and provides her services is English, French, German and Spanish. She offers personal organizing sessions, virtual coaching and organizes workshops on various organizing and zero waste topics.

Liz Forest - EMF Management
Liz Forest is the founder and owner of EMF Management, a Swiss-registered renovation project management company servicing the international community in the greater Lake Geneva / Vaud region. EMF handles the heavy lifting so clients do not have to learn a new trade, take time off work, or sacrifice family holidays or their sanity just to make their house a home.

Virginie Dor - Space of Mine
As founder of Space of Mine, a professional business specializing in residential organizing, Virginie Dor is committed to helping individuals and families better their lives, take control of their surroundings and time by creating organizing solutions that are individually tailored to each client. As a proud member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), she is an expert in clutter control, work flow, space planning and time management.

Tara Lissner - Swiss Gardening School
An enthusiastic, self-taught gardener, Tara Lissner is passionate about gardening and eager to share her zeal and knowledge with other gardening fans. In 2012, she joined forces with Hester Macdonald, a British-trained landscape designer, to launch the Swiss Gardening School.

Aislinn Delmotte - Settling Here
Aislinn Delmotte runs Settling Here, a company which aims to provide practical help and advice to individuals, couples and families relocating to the Pays de Gex, a region where some of the customs are similar to those in neighbouring Switzerland, but where many aspects of living are entirely different.

Sophia Kelly - Sophia Kelly Home Design
Responding to the growing demand for home design services in the international community, Sophia Kelly provides a range of tailor-made services, which are perfect for clients who have just moved into a new home or who simply need help reorganizing one that they have lived in for many years!



tarablog onions

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

Well we’ve been on a roller coaster with the weather over the past few weeks. The Indian summer lasted beautifully through the end of September and with the arrival of October the temperatures dropped and the bise wind rose. The tomatoes hung on to the bitter end but it is all over, the green ones are now in the kitchen in the hope that they may turn red but I predict an afternoon of green chutney making in my future.

This time of year is always bittersweet for the gardener, the glory of the summer garden has come to an end, the perennials have all gone to seed and while the seed-heads look wonderful the colour is slowly disappearing before us. Dahlias continue to perform and until we have consecutive nights of freezing temperatures they will continue to shine. It is a time to think about the future of course because this is the perfect time to add plants to the garden, trees, shrubs, hedges and perennials can all be planted until the freezing temperatures arrive. Have you got plans for trees, adding perennials? Take advantage of dry days to get out and make plans and plant them up, it is never nice to garden in the rain.

I’ve been busy this week, harvesting all the beans, I’ll be drying them out, shelling and storing them for use in soups and stews over the winter. I aways cut the plants to the ground, throwing them onto the compost, and leave the roots alone until the spring, this allows the nitrogen nodules along the fine roots of the beans plants to augment the nitrogen in the soil. I then cover the bed with about a 10 cms layer of mulch and leave that to work its way into the soil over the winter. Home made compost makes for a great mulch but it should be well broken down and at least a year old. If you don’t have any ready to go there are a number of places locally where you can buy it by the “big-bag” or have it delivered. I’ve used BGS Compost SA in Givrins, although closed on Saturdays it opens from 07:00 Monday to Friday.

tarablog sep2016

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

It is true that most of us who garden spend a fair amount of time discussing the weather; too hot; too dry; too windy; too wet; too wet; too wet. Well this summer we’ve certainly had a lot to discuss, with the incredibly wet and cool start in May and June to the tremendous heat of August – never a dull moment. Our gardens are so quickly affected by the changing weather conditions especially when it is holiday time and we are not on hand to adapt our habits day-by-day or week-by-week. In my experience it is always best to err on the side of caution and this is a perfect example of why. Early this summer I left half a dozen newly purchased perennial geraniums amongst a group of larger pots hoping they would be happy (and sheltered) enough during my week-long absence – I came home to crisp leaves and parched soil. I was so sad I immediately moved them to a more shady spot, drenched them with water and have been nursing them back to their original state ever since. Note to self, always pay a teenager to water even for a short trip.

The hydrangeas this summer have been just spectacular and although they need quite a lot of water, if they are in the correct position in the garden they will have given you quite the show. There has been a renaissance of the hydrangea in recent years with more and more varieties becoming easily available, this year I found a very pretty new (to me) variety called Hydrangea arborescens  “Incredible Pink”. As the name suggests it is pink but not the bright showy pink of my childhood. Each petal is delicately edged in pink giving an overall dusty pink colour (see photo above) – just gorgeous, now all I have to do is find a reasonably shady spot for it in my garden, no easy feat.

settlinghere cararticle

By Aislinn Delmotte, Settling Here

Are you driving in France on foreign license plates, with a foreign drivers license and insurance? If so, the question many expats ask is: Does a foreigner have to re- register his/her car in France with French plates?

According to the French government information website (https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F10519), the answer is a clear YES, and within a month of bringing the car here if you are a French resident.

What constitutes a French resident then? Basically it's somebody living here at least 8 months of the year. There are of course some exceptions to this status (aren't there always!).

tarablog may2016

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

With the garden centres and DIY shops heaving with beautiful summer annual flowers, salad plug plants and vegetable plants it is understandable that you could be fooled into thinking that it is time to plant up the garden. But no, as the weather over the past few days has confirmed there is still time for snow and late frosts. When temperatures drop overnight to around zero significant damage may be done to immature and tender plants. Local advice dictates that nothing tender should be planted outside unprotected until after the days of the “ice saints”.  These ice saints, Saint Mamertus, Saint Pancras and Saint Servatius, celebrate their feast days on 11, 12 and 13 May each year. Each year of course differs from the last and often temperatures are accommodating and we have no issues with chilly nights but when we do we really do. With temperatures due to stay low cover your veggie beds with horticultural fleece and move your pots next to the house for a little protection.

I am frequently asked what do with bulbs when the flowering has finished. Firstly and most importantly enjoy the flowers, whether you leave them in the garden or cut them for the house. The next tip is to dead head all the daffodils, only trim the flowering stem, this prevents the plant from producing seed. Allow the leaves to turn yellow, and I’m afraid this is where patience is necessary, the longer you wait the greater the show next year. When the leaves are limp and yellowed only then it is time to cut them back. Daffodils do very well when left in beds or naturalized in the lawn, tulips are a little more temperamental. In public spaces the tulips are always dug up, and new ones planted later in the year, this is not terribly practical or economic in a private garden. To get the best repeat show with tulips make sure they are well planted by December, three times the depth of the bulb, make a note in your garden notebook as to where they are (you will forget); there is nothing worse than digging up bulbs inadvertently when they are dormant in order to plant something else. Ensure the area does not dry out over the summer and don’t forget to fertilize the space with a general purpose fertilizer later in the year when all signs of the tulips have disappeared.

tarablog april2016

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

I do so love a snowdrop! One of the very first signs that the depths of winter are behind us. Their delicate hanging flowers suspended from a tiny stem piercing the earth with the message that spring is on the way. Although we have been rather spoiled this year with a mild winter season it is still rather nice to see the changes in the garden. With bulbs forcing their way through the soil and shoots appearing on everything from roses to forsythia – it is time to get ready to get back to work.

I have found it to be quite challenging to find interesting Snowdrop bulbs here, most garden centres sell the traditional Galanthus nivalis, common snowdrop. I am always on the look out for something a little more special like the Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ pictured above. If you are lucky enough to have some in your garden, and your drift is looking a little cramped, now is the time to split them. Snowdrops do not like to dry out whether in bulb form or in the green (the term used for the way snowdrops are dug up for planting once the flowers have gone over) so be quick. By digging up a dense clump, gently teasing the bulbs apart and replanting the new smaller clumps you will increase your display. When replanting make sure you add a few handfuls of fresh new soil to the hole and water them in well. As they are one of the first bulbs to show up it is important that they are planted where they can be easily enjoyed, next to a front door, or along a hedge to a gate. Splitting them like this encourages the growth of tiny new offsets thus bulking up the new clump. There has been quite the renaissance in interest in these tiny bulbs, a new world record was set in February 2015 for GBP 1390 for a single bulb Galanthus placates ‘Golden Fleece’ – it took 10 years to breed and another eight to produce enough to sell! If you are interested in more out of the ordinary snowdrops take a look at this website run by the galanthophile Joe Sharman from Cambridgeshire, I may have to order some bulbs later this year.