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Putting Down Roots; Moving a Garden to France

Jan 30. 2019

As featured in French Property News Magazine, January 2019 edition

After years of planning, planting and nurturing your garden, leaving it behind when you make the move to start a new life in France can be a wrench.

Moving your possessions and household contents across the Channel will save the time and expense of replacing items and will provide the element of familiarity in your new surroundings. But can you take your garden too? It’s not always easy but you don’t have to leave your favourite plants behind.  Most plants, seeds and bulbs can be carried freely within the EU, with a few exceptions (endangered species or certain plants that might carry disease and parasites.)

With many years of experience of moving our customers to and from France; we’ve put together a few hints and tips on how to plan a move that will help you put down roots in your new French home.

Be Clear
Be careful to make decisions about which parts of the garden you wish to take with you, as early on as possible and inform your solicitor from the outset so that it is added into the contract. Don’t leave this until the last minute to make this clear to them. Once someone puts in an offer on your property, they have the law on their side that the garden is to stay entirely intact unless you have stated otherwise. A list of plants and garden equipment (containers, ornaments and bird tables etc.) that you wish to take should be included in the contracts.

For All Things there is a Season
It is not always feasible to plan a house move for a specific month, particularly if you’re making the move across the continent. As a general rule of thumb, however, most plants have a dormant season during late October to March and this is generally known to be the most ideal time to move them, they are less vulnerable to damage and have the greatest chance of surviving.

Climate Change
Bear in mind that whilst your existing garden may positively flourish in your current UK climate, a move across the Channel will open up a new climate. Of course, this depends on where in the UK you are moving from and which part of France you’re planning to call home. It’s important to research the extent of the change in climate as this will most likely determine which plants are feasible to make the move with you.

Down to Earth
Another important factor in determining the success of moving your garden; is to take account of the soil type in the new garden. Depending on the type of plants you have; some will prefer soil with lower ph. values; the more acidic soil types and others will thrive in higher ph. values; alkaline soil.

If the present owners of the new property you are moving to, are keen gardeners, they are likely to know what type of soil they have- so it is worth asking. Alternatively, when you visit the property, obtain a soil test kit from a garden centre and take this with you to test it yourself.

Cut and Run
Equally, some plants and trees which are either very well established or in general are not well disposed to being up rooted. This will again, be an area which will need some research, depending on types of plants you have, but it is advisable to take several cuttings, place in a pot with compost and take this with you instead. Cuttings can be taken at any time except mid-winter. A vast array of trees, shrubs and climbing plants be grown from cuttings.
Get Potting
If you can plan ahead it is advisable to propagate new plants from old as soon as you start thinking about making the move. Growing them in pots makes them far easier to handle and transport. Propagate and pot a selection of plants into containers in the spring or autumn. Once you arrive at your new premises, the plants can remain in their pots, whilst you figure out the planting scheme already in place in the new garden and decide where you want to add your old plants into.

The Moving Experts
Don’t underestimate all that is involved in moving your garden and garden equipment to the continent. Plants are easily damaged in transit; so need expert handling. Equally, an experienced removal company have the experience and equipment to protect the rest of your household effects whilst in transit.

Discuss what you are moving with your removal company prior to the move. For example, if you plan to take large potted plants- let them know as they will need to plan the lifting of such items.

It’s important to choose a reputable and experienced removal company. Find a company that has the practical skills to move you from door to door safely and securely. It’s not even essential to limit your choice of remover to a company local to you. Prioritise finding a remover with the right experience and knowledge of moving to France, regardless of where they’re based. Any remover you use should be a member of the British Association of Removers. More specifically your mover should be a financially bonded mover who belongs to the BAR to ensure a guarantee that customers advanced payments are protected should the company cease to trade. Equally, they should be FIDI accredited (the global alliance of international quality removal companies) as a reflection of their operations and service to customers.

Burke Bros Moving Group is widely recognised as a market leader for moving to and from France. We carry out hundreds of moves on behalf of families and individuals moving to, from and within France every year. We operate services to and from all regions and departments of France on a weekly basis and have over 35 years of experience.

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