Commandez pour le printemps 2017 – Orders for Spring 2017

Commandez pour le printemps!

Le Jardin est ouvert toute l’annee sur rendez-vous et tous les samedis 10h – 17h entre mars et octobre.

Soyez bienvenues sur place pour passer vos commandes ou envoyer nous vos demandes par email. Voir ci-dessous pour quelques idées….

We are taking orders for Spring!

The garden is open by rendezvous all year and every Saturday 10 till 5pm between March and October. Come and see us or send us an email with your requests. See some plant ideas below…

Plants for structure/les plantes avec structure

Echinops ritro, Veronicastrum ‘Roseum’, Echinops tienschanicum, Cardunculus cynara, Salvia ‘Caradonna’, Berkheya purpurea, Agastache foeniculum, Bupleurum fruticosum, Allium sphaerocephalon

structure

 

Ground covers/ Couvre-sols

Achillea crithmifolia, Thymus ciliatus, Erigeron karvinskianus

groundcovers

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La nouvelle ruche ovoïde en terre cuite / New Egg-Shaped Terracotta Beehive, de Pierre Carpentier (Cite des Abeilles)

Le Jardin Champêtre a installé une ruche ovoïde en terre cuite grâce a Pierre Carpentier de ‘Cite des Abeilles’.

Le Jardin Champêtre has installed an egg-shaped terracotta beehive with the help of Pierre Carpentier from ‘Cite des Abeilles’.

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bees 1

Pierre nous a apporté – sans aucuns vêtements de protection – un essaim de 5,000 abeilles qu’il a élevé. (Il est un homme qui murmure a l’oreille des abeilles!)

Pierre brought us – without wearing any protective clothing – a swarm of 5,000 bees he has raised himself. (He’s a veritable bee whisperer!)

bees 2

The Queen Bee arrived in a small yellow plastic box. / La Reine des Abeilles est arrivée en petite boite en plastique.

bees 3

La ruche est nichée en pleine prairie du Jardin Champêtre. / The beehive is nestled in the meadow area of Le Jardin Champêtre.

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La ruche doit être à l’ombre en après-midi. / The beehive has to be in shade in the afternoon. 

Bienvenue aux abeilles a notre jardin pour la biodiversité! / Welcome the bees to our wildlife garden!

The new demonstration garden

We started to create a garden for Le Jardin Champêtre in Caunes-Minervois ready for opening the nursery in mid-April 2016.

The first tasks: Planting a double hedge along the boundary, adding trees for structure and shade, including Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste Tree), removing the worst of the weeds – especially those with deep tap roots, and cutting the ‘grass’ for instant tidiness and to minimise self-seeding. There will be a wild zone plus a more landscaped area to demonstrate the plants we will have for sale.

We have kept some of the native flora which will fit in with the wild zone for now, including: the scented and bright yellow flowering Coronilla glauca (Glaucous Scorpion-Vetch), Calamintha nepeta (Lesser Calamint), Asphodelus luteus (Asphodel), Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss), plus the occasional Verbascum. We may live to regret leaving those Verbascum…

Also, as this will be a wildlife garden, we haven’t taken any prunings or weeds to the tip. Instead, the bulk of what we’ve cut back or dug out is in a brash hedge. For compost bays, we’ve started with very simple structures using rusty ‘panneaux de dallage’ from a DIY shop, which is welded reinforcement mesh usually used for concrete. (Imogen used stronger versions of this for trellis at Pensthorpe.) They only just fit in the car when bent in half which has dictated the size of the compost bays!

We were very keen to start planting, of course, and have started with an area for partial shade. The levels are higher around the outside of this border where the most drought-tolerant plants are, and lower in the middle for the thirstier ones. This is a community of ground cover, bulbs, taller perennials and grasses, mainly in yellow, blue, purple and white, and densely planted to minimise weeding and create a natural look using layering.

 

 

 

 

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Under the Pine: before, dug over, and ready to be planted

Some of the plants in the new border…

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Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’, Aster divaricatus, Scilla peruviana, Sternbergia lutea, Digitalis ferruginea ‘Gigantea’, Narcissus ‘Thalia’
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Calamagrostis brachytricha, Tagetes lemmonii, Nectaroscordum siculum, Liriope muscari, Aster umbellatus, Iris unguicularis

 

Planting list and playing around with ideas for the rest of the garden. Just a little more planting to go!

 

 

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Planting Plan for under the Pine

 

drawings

 

Designing with Mediterranean Plants: session at La petite pepiniere de Caunes

We invited people to the nursery on Sunday 10th May 2015 to learn about designing borders using Mediterranean plants. 55 people came along on a very hot day to do a tour of the Mediterranean display beds in the nursery’s garden and listen to a talk about our 3 basic designs which you’ll see below. We placed out the 3 designs on the ground, using the plants in their pots, and talked through the plants and why we’d chosen them for their different heights, forms, textures and colours; how to space them differently for instant or longer term effect; and adding additional interest.

All the drawings are by Imogen!

Poster for our designing with mediterranean native plants day
Poster for our designing with mediterranean native plants day

 

 

Experimenting with mixing the nursery stock plants
Experimenting with mixing the nursery stock plants

 

People gathering for talk with Gill Pound on native mediterranean plants
People gathering for talk with Gill Pound on native mediterranean plants

 

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Talk through designs with Kate (English and then French)
Talk through designs with Kate (English and then French)

 

Border-MediumLarge026-1                Border-lmixed025-1               Border-lowgrowing024

 

Kate design workshop

Some of the participants asked us to type up a summary of the design talk:

The ‘Low Growing Border’ is a ‘tapis vert’ or ‘couvre sol’ in French, i.e. a carpet of plants or a ground cover. It is a mixture of silver and green foliage using Origanum, Teucrium, Centaurea, Thymus, Artemesia and Achillea species which can knit together. Alternatively, planted further apart with gravel as a mulch, it would show the plants’ individual forms. Flowers provide purple, pink and white. For additional interest, this border can be interplanted with bulbs, smaller grasses and flowering perennials.

The ‘Medium to Large Border’ is an evergreen border for year-round structure. It’s a mixture of larger shrubs Cistus and Phlomis – spaced at least 1m apart, with the smaller Lavenders, Santolinas, Salvias, Hyssops and Helichrysum – mostly planted in 3s and spaced up to 75cm apart. The colour scheme is a base of green and grey with purple, pink, white and pale yellow flowering from Spring to late Autumn.  For additional interest, add taller bulbs and flowering perennials.

The ‘Mixed Border’ is full of contrast and interest in height, texture, colour and form. It has a base of evergreen structure with extra blues, silvers, globe-shaped flowers and floating grasses. For additional interest and a longer flowering period, add bulbs and flowering perennials, or for a softer look, add different species of grasses throughout the border.

 



 

Jardin champêtre borders at La petite pépinière: 2 experiments

Hello from Caunes-Minervois where Imogen and I (Kate) have been planting 2 new demonstration areas at the specialist plant nursery, La petite pépinière http://www.lapetitepepiniere.com. 1. The Dry Shade Border In part-shade at the end of Gill’s stunning, long-flowering Salvia border, this area is a cool place to sit in the summer and listen to the birds and the stream running into the Argent Double river.

Before the new border
Before the new border
The Salvias next to the new border
The Salvias next to the new border

To start, we cut out a curved shape around the Cedar (Cedrus libani) and under the 2 Flowering Ash trees (Fraxinus ornus), removed the ‘lawn’ (mown weeds) and dug out the couch grass, oxalis and other weeds.

Imogen shaping and digging over the new border
Imogen shaping and digging over the new border
Dry- and shade-tolerant plants: some from our gardens in the UK and some from La petite pépinière de Caunes
Dry- and shade-tolerant plants: some from our gardens in the UK and some from La petite pépinière de Caunes

The following plants – some of which may not cope with the extreme weather here in the Languedoc – were then planted in puddles to keep them as moist as possible while they get established:

  • Actaea simplex ‘James Compton’
  • Aster divaricartus
  • Aster umbellatus
  • Calamagrostis brachytricha
  • Danae racemosa
  • Digitalis ferruginea
  • Eupatorium ‘Atropurpureum’
  • Galanthus elwesii
  • Geranium ‘Biokova’
  • Geranium ‘Brookside’
  • Geranium macrorrhizum
  • Geranium sanguineum ‘Alba’
  • Helleborus ‘Silver Frost’
  • Helleborus corsicus
  • Leucojum aestivum
  • Liriope muscari ‘Alba’
  • Molinia ‘Transparent’
  • Nandina ‘Firepower’
  • Narcissus ‘Thalia’
  • Ruscus hypoglossum
  • Sarcococca confusa
  • Scilla siberica
  • Teucrium chamaedrys
  • Teucrium lucidrys
  • Viola hederacea        

To preserve moisture and minimise weeding, we have covered the border with a deep layer of woodchips made from prunings cut from elsewhere in the garden.

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Kate using the shredder to make mulch

We’ll keep you posted on how this border develops…   2. Mixed border for wildlife and people We are using this border to try out new design ideas for Mediterranean gardens. Already in this established demonstration garden is an ornamental grasses bed, a dry Mediterranean native bed, a Salvia bed, as well as different plant collections and tree avenues. This new area is a mixture: grasses and flowering perennials, with bulbs and succulents. We’ve kept the Ceanothus ‘Concha’ bush for height, have raked the soil to create different levels, and have mulched with river sand and stones.

Before: using a hosepipe to mark out the edge
Before: using a hosepipe to mark out the edge
A barrow full of couch grass
A barrow full of couch grass
Planting in puddles to retain the most moisture
Planting in puddles to retain the most moisture
Raked soil for different levels
Raked soil for different levels

With all the climbing up and down ladders to the river and barrowing the sand and stones, we haven’t finished this border yet! But we’re nearly there and it is being used by Redstarts and Robins already – they sit on the posts and rocks that are marking out the bulbs and smaller specimens at this early stage, and the robins are fighting over the territory. The plan is to attract insects and birds via the plants, using single flowers, different flower head forms, bright colours, high pollen, and leaving the seed heads over winter for food. Using bulbs will extend the flowering season too.

Redstart on post
Redstart on post

The plants we’re trialling in this border are: Grasses

  • Calamagrostis brachytricha
  • Eragrostis elliottii
  • Festuca glauca
  • Miscanthus ‘Dronning Ingrid’
  • Miscanthus ‘Malepartus’
  • Molinia ‘Transparent’
  • Muhlenbergia capillaris
  • Panicum ‘Rehbraun’
  • Sesleria nitida

Bulbs

  • Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
  • Allium caeruleum
  • Allium christophii
  • Allium spaerocephalon
  • Broadiae ‘Queen Fabiola’
  • Drimea maritima
  • Nectaroscordum siculum
  • Scilla peruviana
  • Tulipa ‘Little Beauty’
  • Tulipa turkestanica
  • Watsonia aletroides

Perennials/shrubs

  • Coreopsis ‘Cutting Gold’
  • Dianthus carthusianorum
  • Echinops tienschanicum
  • Eryngium ‘Silver Ghost’
  • Eryngium ebracteanum
  • Eryngium pandanifolium
  • Eryngium yuccifolium
  • Eupatorium ‘Atropurpureum’
  • Geranium ‘Rambling Robin’
  • Helichrysum splendidum
  • Knautia macedonica
  • Lepechinia hastata
  • Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’
  • Salvia ‘Anthony Parker’
  • Salvia ‘Caradonna’
  • Salvia scabra
  • Sedum ‘Black Beauty’
  • Sedum ‘Citrus Twist’
  • Sedum ‘El Cid’
  • Sedum ‘Joyce Henderson’
  • Sedum ‘Metrona’
  • Sedum ‘Moonlight Serenade’
  • Sedum pachyglados
  • Sedum sieboldii
Drimea maritima and the riversand mulch
Drimea maritima and the riversand mulch

We’ll add more plants, e.g. different Agastaches and Echinops, which we’re growing from seed so are too small to plant out at the moment. We’ll post photos of these 2 borders as they develop. You can also see some of our planting combinations at www.facebook.com/jardinchampetre.

 

Some views of our experimental mixed border May to June…..

 

 

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Salvia 'Caradonna', allium cristophii, Coreopsis 'Mayfield Giants'
Salvia ‘Caradonna’, allium cristophii, Coreopsis ‘Mayfield Giant’

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Allium cowannii
Allium cowanii

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Annuals for interest in the first year..Ammi magus
Annuals for interest in the first year..Ammi majus
Annual - Orlaya grandiflora
Annual – Orlaya grandiflora
Annual - Nigella 'Bride'
Annual – Nigella ‘Bride’
Allium spaerocephalon
Allium spaerocephalon

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A month in Cornwall

 

The last month has been a whirlwind of travel, gardening and shopping! After three months  working in Italy I took a slight detour and headed to Cornwall before coming back to France.  Kate and I have decided to settle here for a while and see if we can make a go of gardening in the Minervois.  We also hope to start building a garden that reflects some of the ideas and the places that we’ve visited over the last year on our quest to learn more about water-wise gardening. This mixed in with our own style of planting which is usually quite wild, sustainable, natural and colourful, it should keep us occupied for a while!

My mission in Cornwall was to help a friend with a new border, to dig up and divide plants from her garden partly for the new border and partly to bring back to France to see if they can cope with the climate over here (hot, dry summers and cooler,wet winters) Also to collect seeds, bulbs and any other plants that might work here and of course to visit the odd garden for inspiration (and cake)

Some of the gardens we visited..

The Garden House, Devon

The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Devon http://www.thegardenhouse.org.uk/. Great inspiration for wild, mixed plantings in banked-up free draining borders.
Continue reading “A month in Cornwall”

Hanbury Botanical Gardens Part II: Citrus and Acacia Trees (and an Albizia)

We love living among the trees here at Hanbury Botanical Gardens. Here are some photos of some of the many Citrus and Acacias, plus an Albizia. We’ve been eating the Citrus, not all of them taste sweet…, and helping the seed laboratory here to collect and clean the Acacia seeds. Happy Days!

Botanical walks in the Citrus Groves. Beware the mosquitoes, the large cobwebs and the sticky white fluff which are pests called Metcalfa pruinosa (Citrus Flatid Planthopper!).
Botanical walks in the Citrus Groves. Beware the mosquitoes, the large cobwebs and the sticky white fluff which are pests called Metcalfa pruinosa (Citrus Flatid Planthopper!).

 

My favourite Citrus trees are in this collage: the horn-shaped Bitter Orange and the heady scented Kaffir Lime.
My favourite Citrus trees are in this collage: the horn-shaped Bitter Orange and the heady scented Kaffir Lime.

 

I've heard that some of the labels on the Citrus trees are wrong. Let me know if you know!
I’ve heard that some of the labels on the Citrus trees are wrong. Let me know if you know!

 

The velvety Acacia x hanburyana (Sir Thomas Hanbury's Mimosa) and Acacia podalyriifolia (Queensland Silver Wattle), with the gorgeous white puff ball flowers of Albizia amara.
The velvety Acacia x hanburyana (Sir Thomas Hanbury’s Mimosa) and Acacia podalyriifolia (Queensland Silver Wattle), with the gorgeous white puff ball flowers of Albizia amara.

 

The 2 huge trees of the yellow-flowered Acacia karroo, formerly known as A. horrida, with the long and curly seedpods of A. julifera and the box of beautiful A. cyclops (Coastal Wattle) seeds on display in the Hanbury Botanical Gardens' seed laboratory.
The 2 huge trees of the yellow-flowered Acacia karroo, formerly known as A. horrida, with the long and curly seedpods of A. julifera and the box of beautiful A. cyclops (Coastal Wattle) seeds on display in the Hanbury Botanical Gardens’ seed laboratory.

 

La Mortola – Living and working at the Hanbury Botanical Gardens

This our first blog from our 3 month stay at the Hanbury Gardens on the French/Italian Coastal border

The long hot route to Italy!
The long hot route from Norfolk to Italy!

Now a little walk down through the garden to see some of the wonders of Hanbury and some of the work we have done so far..

Above the entrance to Hanbury the Chinese symbol for 'Happiness'
Above the entrance to Hanbury is the Chinese symbol for ‘Happiness’
View down through the garden to the Palazzo
View down through the garden to the Palazzo

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Cactus and Palm section
The Succulent and Palm section
Scented plant walkway leading up to the Palazzo Terrace
Scented plant walkway leading up to the Palazzo Terrace
A very spiky job on a very hot day! Renovating an old cactus bed on the Palazzo Terrace
A very spiky job on a very hot day! Renovating an old succulent bed on the Palazzo Terrace
The cactus don't mind being baked in the sun, waiting to be replanted
The plants don’t mind being baked in the sun whilst waiting to be replanted
A window onto the romantic wilderness of the large summer roses
A window onto the romantic wilderness of the large summer roses
Echiums looking stunning in May
Echiums looking stunning in May

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Sunbathing residents of the garden
Sunbathing residents of the garden

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Fabulous garden for creature watching. Cricket laying eggs in one of the historic walls
Fabulous garden for creature watching. Cricket laying eggs in one of the historic walls
Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican Fleabane)
Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican Fleabane)
Romneya coulteri (Californian Tree Poppy)
Romneya coulteri (Californian Tree Poppy)
Acacia x hanburyana
Acacia x hanburyana

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View back up the garden from The Meadow
View back up through the garden from The Meadow
Accra sellowiana (Pineapple Guava or Feijoada) These striking flowers should turn into delicious little fruits later in the year although the buds are proving popular with the Blackbirds
Acca sellowiana (Pineapple Guava or Feijoada)
These striking flowers should turn into delicious little fruits later in the year although the buds are proving popular with the Blackbirds
Hibiscus 'Fireball' (Swamp Mallow)
Hibiscus ‘Fireball’ (Swamp Mallow)
At the bottom of the garden this building houses an old olive press from the original garden
At the bottom of the garden this building houses an old olive press from the original garden

 

The biggest job for us so far is to renovate the Salvia borders at the bottom of the garden. They form a well established collection of Salvias from around the world grown on the terraces of the former kitchen garden
The biggest job for us so far is to renovate the Salvia borders at the bottom of the garden. They form a
well established collection of Salvias from around the world grown on the terraces of the former kitchen garden
Kate drawing out a plan of the beds
Kate drawing out a plan of the beds
Imogen adding compost to help the new Salvias, the soil is the hardest we've worked with so far, it has to be chiseled away with a small mattock!
Imogen adding compost to help the new Salvias, the soil is one of the hardest we’ve worked with so far, it has to be chiseled away with a small mattock!
Salvia lanceolata.
Salvia lanceolata.
Salvia viscosa
Salvia viscosa
Salvia pomifera
Salvia pomifera
Salvia leucantha
Salvia leucophylla
Salvia semiatrata
Salvia semiatrata
Salvia canariensis
Salvia canariensis
Salvia scabra
Salvia scabra
Salvia chamaedryoides
Salvia chamaedryoides

From the Salvia terraces down to the sea, unfortunately not accessible from the gardens but gives you an idea of the setting.

View from the beach at the bottom of the garden towards Menton (France)
View from the beach at the bottom of the garden towards Menton (France)
Some of the local sea creatures, so far spotted Hermit Crabs, Anemones, red Starfish and an Octopus!
Some of the local sea creatures. So far we have spotted Hermit Crabs, Anemones, red Starfish and an Octopus!

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Well that’s the first six weeks of our stay, it’s probably going to get a lot hotter and the flowers even brighter for the next six.

 

Fonts, Shops and Door knockers from our year in the south of France!

This is a short post from Kate that has nothing to do with gardening, except that gardening has taken us along the south of France for 12 months, and I took these photos of old shops, fonts and door knockers along the way!

I particularly like the round caravan on the sign for the Les Ormes campsite
I particularly like the round caravan on the sign for the Les Ormes campsite
Stone fonts
Stone fonts

From left to right. I’ve taken many photos of outdoor laundry pools, ‘lavoirs’, and communal bathhouses, the latter being one of my favourite things about life in Japan.The only bathhouse we’ve seen that is still in use is for the homeless, next to the Montpellier botanical garden. The cinema in the above collage is now used for tai ji. The Pont du Gard is engraved by craftsmen who used it to advertise their name and tools. The tall stone is a road sign indicating the way to St. Hippolyte du Fort. The bridge is in here in memory of Suzanne Robinson, and the brick, like many old bricks and roof tiles, is engraved with the details of the company that manufactured it.

Coiffures and Mongay Boutique for chaps
Coiffures and Mongay Boutique for chaps

Hairdressers have all the best fonts…

Shop fonts
Shop fonts

Most of these lovely shops are still trading although we’ve seen quite a few converted into houses with the signs restored.

Door knockers of France
Door knockers of France

And possibly my favourite thing to photograph, door knockers of animals, women’s hands and lovely shapes. The town of Auch had the best ones by far.

And to sign off, some terrible showing off with my name in font!

Kate's name on the panels at Brackenhurst, Nottingham Trent University
Kate’s name on the panels at Brackenhurst, Nottingham Trent University