Shabby chic. For real.

I ended yesterday's post on our cycle to Beaugency saying that sometimes just because you're cycling you see parts of hotels that you might not otherwise see. It was true in Melton Mowbray when we "parked" in the compound, a real working part of the hotel. In Beaugency though the garage included a small pretty courtyard garden and a much larger store which intrigued me, but more on that in a moment.

First the courtyard garden, of course it helped that it was sunny, but it was packed full of plants - some roses, lots of geraniums and some plastic garden furniture. Bizarrely the orange chair fits right in and adds to the charm, the mirror leant against the stone wall is also a lovely touch.  Both of these aren't things we typically go for in our gardens, but seeing how well they work here I think we should all be braver!

The courtyard garden

The row of pots above separated the small garden from an area of bike racks, and it's a good reminder that a collection of pots can be arranged in a row to define spaces. And just look at those succulents at the start of the line in metal containers, I think I need some of those in my own garden!

MY EYES DON'T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FIRST, BUT NOTE THE CHILD'S BIKE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR

MY EYES DON'T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FIRST, BUT NOTE THE CHILD'S BIKE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR

There was a lot packed into a small space. In another view there was a terracotta pot holder which brought more texture to the space and a glass terrarium. To some, MOH included, this space might look like a junk yard but I'm in awe of how effortlessly put together it looks.  There's a chance that it is both of those things, but I'm seeing the prettier side of it.

A perfect place to store pots

Up in the heavily pruned laurel tree sat a bird cage, I think any bird had long departed but it's exactly the type of thing you see in shabby chic shops, this one though is looking much more rustic than those ever do. Further down the tree there were enamel and plastic jugs hanging in a strange collection.

A birdcage hanging in a tree

Turning away from the garden and back towards the store area of the garage I spotted these leather panniers hanging on a single nail on one of the building's beams. You can see behind, it's a real melee or items. Just in front of this picture there were a couple of large armoires standing there both grandly and forlornly.

Great storage ideas for these leather panniers

There was a ladder leading to a half platform and I'd have loved to seen up there, but not being so good with ladders and not wanting to be a complete nosey parker I restrained myself. Underneath the platform were a series of characterful lights, either ready to be put into action in the hotel, or perhaps having been retired, or maybe just an avid collector of pretty things?

A sample of chandeliers, in case you need a spare...
Planters stored up high

I soon settled on the idea that the owner was a collector of pretty and functional things. I mean for a garden so small I don't think he needed two tin watering cans, but they did look great and bring interest to the storage space.  Or perhaps they're containers-in-waiting?

A collection of tin watering cans

Who knows, but it was great to get a glimpse into this very real, pretty and practical space. And it was a great reminder that you can make use of pots and other paraphernalia to bring personality into a space. Since I've been home I've acquired a couple more succulents, I'd forgotten about the metal pots in this garden until I sorted through my photos, so now that's what I need to pot them into.  My recent "rule" of only using terracotta or black pots in our garden is rapidly being extended to include zinc-like pots, but that's ok I think.

Are you influenced by the things you see on holiday?  I am, for sure!

Pots and geraniums
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