Daily Garden: Irene’s French Oasis

la ferme du sourrou permaculter garden off the grid france

Irene’s small holding in the south of France is fueling my inspiration to make my own six acres in Massachusetts the beautiful productive garden and romantic place I know it can be.   I first saw Irene’s garden over at Fennel and Fern but have since been following her at her own blog La Ferme Du Sourrou.

I find the whole place in it’s rambling, rustic, informal-ness to be just the kind of reminder I need that perhaps sometimes design, and it’s tendency to become contrived, can be taken too far and just letting things go a bit can be romantic and utterly inviting.

Irene practices permaculture and organic gardening and rears hens, pigs, goats and sheep.  My husband has decided that we should have goats…I am not so sure, but seeing her Angora goats, their charming faces and their beautiful curly hair, I am slowing coming around to the idea…Angora’s only dear.

From Fennel and Fern: “Irene’s gardening practices are as free-range as her chickens. She feeds hungry plants using a ’soup’ of comfrey, nettles and garden weeds; she builds new raised beds using the hugelkultur system, where dead wood from trees supplies the nutrients, fertility and organisms essential for a successful harvest; and the old bedding from her goat sheds becomes a mulch for the vegetables.”

Irene runs courses on off-grid living, self-sufficiency, foraging and smallholding.  You can find out more about them at La Ferme de Sourrou.


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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. jocelyn/the art garden on February 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    What a lovely and charming place. Brought back fond memories of my grandmother’s garden in southwestern Colorado. Now, about those goats; are you ready to deal with the fiber??

  2. Irene Kightley on February 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    So this is why I’ve had so many visitors to my blog today !

    Thanks you for the compliments and the lovely article and good luck with your own garden and the goats too ! To be honest without the goats I couldn’t have this sort of fertility – their compost is fantastic.

    Angora fibre is is wonderful and if you have the time you’ll be spinning and knitting soon….. 🙂

  3. Robinson on April 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I discovered Irene at flickr and found you looking to see if she has a blog. I too have been insprired by Irene’s practices. I’ve looked into permaculture practices before and was always overwhelmed. Now I have some ideas about things to start with this spring and summer.

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