Friday, 31 December 2010

Meetings & Visits of 2010

Meetings / Visits 2010

All meetings and visits took place on a Tuesday


23 February – 14.30 meeting @ Mary M’s house. G to give a talk.

23 March – 14.30 meeting @ Pam’s house to swap plant seedlings.

20 April – Visit to Vidauban to look at Maple & bonsai collection. Phil has organised cuttings of the maples. Partners welcome – bring picnic lunch. Organiser : JSB

4 May – Visit to Pierre Cuche’s garden in Claviers. Picnic lunch at Rosemary’s. Afternoon visit to Denis Weis’s garden in Figanières. Maximum 15 people - book your place early with Sue. (You may be interested to read about the Mediterranean Garden Society’s visit to Figanières last year, coincidentally on 4 May! – it is towards the bottom of the page)

Early TBA June – Visit in the morning with Françoise Darlington at her Jardin Remarquable, Domaine d’Orvès. Picnic lunch at her house. Afternoon possibly visit of garden of succulents. Organiser : Saskia


July and August – no meetings scheduled


21 September – Meeting at June L’s. Plant swap etc

19 October – Visit to Fayence garden and Les Bambous du Mandarin, Montauroux (Pont de la Siagne). Picnic lunch. Partners welcome. Organiser : Sue

23 November – Meeting at Sylvia T’s

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

2011

Bonne et heureuse année à toutes les jardinières.
Longue vie à notre blog.
Elisabeth

photographie : Jacques Koskas

Etoiles de Noël


Le poinsettia, surnommé étoile de Noël est une euphorbe Euphorbia pucherrima originaire du Mexique, on connaît aussi le poinsettia sous le nom d’« Etoile d’amour ». C’est le nom que lui avaient donné les Aztèques. Si l’on en croit la légende, les bractées du poinsettia furent imprégnées du sang d’une déesse aztèque morte d’un chagrin d’amour. Ce drame expliquerait sa couleur rouge caractéristique.


Au début du 19ème siècle Joël Poisett, ambassadeur des Etats Unis au Mexique et collectionneur de plantes découvre cette plante sauvage qui fleurit en plein hiver sur les hauts plateaux tropicaux. Dans son miilieu d'origine cette euphorbe peut atteindre 4 mètres de haut. Il en fît envoyer quelques exemplaires à Philadelphie, sa ville d’origine, pour qu’ils y soient étudiés. La jolie plante mexicaine fut alors baptisée « Poinsettie » en son honneur.


Au début du 20ème siècle un horticulteur américain commence à cultiver le poinsettia en Californie, à l'époque il commercialise sous forme de fleur coupée, ces bouquets font fureur à Hollywood.


Les premières plantes arrivent en Europe où elles sont baptisées du nom botanique « Euphorbia pulcherrima », la plus belle des euphorbiacées, elles sont vendues comme plantes d'intérieur au moment des fêtes de fin d'année.

La beauté du poinsettia ne vient pas de ses petites fleurs mais de ses bractées (feuilles) qui se colorent. C'est une plante de "jour court", pour que ses bractées vertes se colorent il lui faut environ 14 heures d'obscurité par jour.


Le poinsettia aime la lulmière et une temppérature autour de 20°, il déteste les courants d'air et le soleil direct. Le terreau doit être presque sec avant tout arrosage, le poinsettia ne supporte pas les excès d'eau. Après la floraison installez-le dans une pièce fraîche, on peut le mettre à l'extérieur entre mai et septembre. On peut tenter de le faire refleurir en le maintenant plus de 12 h dans l'obscurité durant plusieurs semaines en automne.
bibliographie : Truffaut Magazine 48 le poinsettia

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Wood Ash, what to do with it?


Every day after using our open fire or wood burning stove we end up with wood ash. What to do with it. First of all, when the ashes have cooled down, store them under very dry conditions.

Come spring when we are preparing our vegetable patch or flower bed, the ash can be incorporated into the soil whilst we are turning over the soil. When the soil is heavy clay it is better to mix the ashes with compost or fertiliser rather then directly into the soil. With clay soil ash tends to attach itself to the outer surface of the clay rather than to mix with it.

Wood ash is rich in potassium, trace elements and calcium. It improves the soil. The quantity of ash to add to the soil is 5kg/100m2.

Slugs and snail do not like wood ash. A sprinkling of ash around seedlings or small plants prevents the plants for being eaten. The only disadvantage is that the procedure has to be repeated after rain, but it remains the most natural way of slug control.

Some bits of charcoal are always left in the ash. These have their uses. When pulverised they can be sprinkled in autumn around plants of the onion family against fungus infection.

Bibliography: Rustica

Friday, 10 December 2010

2010 - Bumper Olive Harvest



This year in the Var (S. France) we have a bumper crop of olives. What to do (some of us only have one or two trees) with these olives! The easiest way is to have them pressed into oil. Just take them to the local olive mill. In our local mill at Le Val, they weigh them, they give you a computer print out of the weight, next year in March on a specific day you collect your oil, but this differs from mill to mill.

The alternative way is to marinate them. Use only ripe black olives, they look nicer and are not so bitter.

Method 1:
Put the olives in an 8% brine, increase it to 10% after 4 days, then to 12%. The olives remain in the brine for 2 to 3 months before being drained. To preserve them, rub them with olive oil.

Method 2:
Pierce the olives, an easy way is to use a cork with pins planted in it. Place the olives in alternative layers with table salt and bay leaves (15% salt according to the weight of the olives), shake them regularly. They are ready to eat after 2 weeks.



Whenever you want to use them you take out a batch and doctor them to your own taste by adding herbs, garlic, spices etc.

Bibliography: The Olive Tree in France, The Olive and its Olive Oil by A.M. Breger




Friday, 3 December 2010

Christmas Wreath

Our monthly get together for the gardening group was a bit different in November. Instead of meeting together to discuss garden subjects, it was decided we would do something different. It had to be something seasonal and incorporate plant matter.

It was decided we make a Christmas Wreath. Gerda was so kind to let us use her home for the demonstration as you can imagine there was quite a lot of mess to clean afterwards.

I don't think any one of us realised how much work goes into making the actually wreath. It took us 3 hours to cover the frame of the wreath with branches of Nordic pine (the variety that does not loose its needles). As Christmas was still 4 weeks away, suggestions were made how the frame could be decorated. The final decoration of the wreath was left to the individual.

It was surprisingly hard work but enjoyable all the same.
The bare frame we started with.
















Selecting the branches
















Christiane, our teacher, showing us where to begin.















Busy at work.

































Everyone ended up with a very nice large wreath. The final touch was a light dusting of snow spray.














How to tie the ribbon
















Photo's by Gerda Nagtegaal

christmas wreath

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

CONSEILS JARDIN – DECEMBRE 2010




Les premiers froids et les flocons de neige sont déjà là pour nous avertir que l’hiver s’installe. Malgré tout, les plantations sont encore possibles et conseillées pour les arbres, fruitiers, arbustes et rosiers, que ce soit en racines nues ou en conteneurs.


Au potager : peu de légumes peuvent être semés ou plantés à cette période, mais on peut installer des plants de choux qui, paillés à leur pied, donneront une récolte hâtive. Essayez aussi les « semis de gel » qui consistent à semer des graines (carottes, blettes, betteraves…) en période froide. Elles attendront le printemps pour germer. Il faut simplement les protéger des pluies qui pourraient les emporter par ruissellement en les recouvrant de branches d’arbres persistants.

Les bulbes à floraison de printemps peuvent encore être mis en terre.

Les tailles d’élagage peuvent se pratiquer sur les arbres caducs, mais seulement des tailles à vocation sanitaire (éliminer des branches malades), de formation (arbres jeunes) ou, quelques fois, s'il s'avère nécessaire de réduire le volume. Pas de tailles sévères qui affaiblissent les plantes ligneuses car elles mettent leurs réserves dans le bois.

Les feuilles mortes peuvent être laissées dans les massifs au pied des arbustes pour qu’elles se décomposent ou bien elles sont mises en tas pour compostage, et ainsi, faire un bon terreau de feuilles pour les semis.

Les vérandas et les serres qui ont accueilli les plantes frileuses comme les hibiscus, bougainvilliers ou autres plantes méridionales, sont à chauffer la nuit pour tenir une température entre 0 et 5°c mais il faut aussi penser à les aérer la journée.

Si vous ne l'avez pas encore fait, veillez à vidanger le réseau d'arrosage enterré. Protégez les robinets et tuyaux du jardin. Démontez les programmateurs d’arrosage en enlevant les piles d’alimentation.

Les plantes d’intérieur sont moins arrosées car la lumière leur fait défaut mais veillez à bassiner les feuillages car, avec les chauffages, l’ambiance s’assèche.

Je vous souhaite un bon mois de décembre avec de belles fêtes de fin d’année.

Bon jardinage à tous……



Saturday, 27 November 2010

Rambling roses with spring and autumn interest



Ramblers are vigorous roses, in general they reach a height from 4m - 10m. They are very useful to cover walls, hide unsightly buildings and do well climbing up trees. They mostly flower just once a year, in spring, for about a month and many of the below mentioned varieties have spectacular rose hips in autumn.

Besides all the above they are very resistant to illness, don't need to be pruned. The cheapest way to buy them is bare rooted. From November to beginning of April is the time to plant them.

There are plenty of ramblers to choose from. The following varieties have been recommended by various outlets: France 2 (Telematin), Rustica magazine and the below mentioned rose growers:


American Pillar - single carmine pink flowers with white centres in huge clusters.



Apple Blossom - lightly scented pink flowers that resemble apple blossom.



Belle de Remalard - semi double clear pink flowers with red rose hips in autumn.



Bobbie James - clusters of semi-double white flowers with red/orange rose hips in autumn.



Chateau du Rivau (rose of the year 2005 in France) - a rambler that has it all, beautiful semi-double white flowers with large yellow stamens, lovely hips in autumn.



Francis F. Lester - single white pink flushed rose, bloom is not spectacular, but this variety is known for its scent and its profusion of red/orange hips in autumn.
























Kew Rambler - single, small pink flowers with white centre, growing in clusters, strong fragrance, orange rose hips.



Kiftsgate - single, creamy white flowers grown in large clusters, well scented, small decorative rose hips in profusion. It takes sometimes 3 years after planting for Kiftsgate to flower.


Lijiang - Pink rose with a beautiful perfume. Just recently introduced. Originally from China.


Sir Cedric Morris - single, scented white flowers, orange/red rose hips in autumn.



Wilderode - semi double deep pink bunches of flowers, colour is unusual as most ramblers vary from white to a middle pink colour.


All these roses except "Wilderode" are available by mail order from Andre Eve (www.roses-anciennes-eve.com) at 15.90€ each.

Rosa "Wilderode" can be ordered from Lens Roses - www.lens-roses.be at 11€ each.

Media/Bibliography: France 2, Telematin/Rustica November issue/Andre Eve/Lens Roses

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Kiwifrui/Actinidia deliciosa















Ever after seeing the Kiwi flowers in the Navarro's garden in La Garde last May I wanted to know more about the fruit and how to grow them successfully in Southern France.

My interest was rekindled by reading an article on Actinidia deliciosa (kiwifruit) recently. The following are a few details on the origin of the kiwi:

The Actinidia deliciosa is a native to Southern China. It is grown mainly in the mountainous area upstream of the Yangtze River, as well as in other parts of China including Sichuan. Other species of Actinidia deliciosa are found in India, Japan and south-eastern Siberia.

In the early 20th century seeds of the Actinidia deliciosa were introduced into New Zealand by the principal of "Wanganui Girls Collage", who was visiting mission schools in China. The seeds were subsequently planted by a Wanganui nurseryman, Alexander Allison in 1906. In 1910 his vines produced their first fruits. Since then its popularity has spread and spread.

Initially it was known by the name of "Chinese gooseberry", but the name was changed by New Zealand exporters for marketing reasons in the 1950's to "kiwifruit". The name has stuck and is now known world wide as "kiwi" short for "kiwifruit". Italy is the principal producer of kiwifruit in the world, followed by New Zealand, Chili, France, Greece, Japan and the USA.

The kiwi is a climber that grows up to 2m per year. The average height of the kiwi is 4m. The climber needs a strong structure as support. Lateral shoots must not be allowed to twin around supporting poles. struts or battons; they will constrict and thinken to cause distortion or damage.

Training the kiwi on a southern facing wall is ideal, an espalier form is suitable, with a verticle central stem, and tiers of horizontal arms trained on wires 30cm apart.



Alternatively, train the kiwi across the top of a pergola, or on a tripod of stout poles.


Pruning is done in winter. The kiwifruit vines require vigorous pruning, similar to that of grapevines. Fruit is borne on one-year-old and older canes, but production declines as each cane ages. Canes should be pruned off and replaced after their third year.





















In general, to pruduce kiwifruit you need a female and a male plant. If you want to plant several kiwi's, 1 male plant will suffice for 3-5 female plants. Some well known varieties are: "Kiwi Hayward", "Kiwi Chico" and "Kiwi Saanichten 12". A kiwi available in France that has yellow flesh instead of green is "Kiwi Yellow River", 20€ per 2 litre pot.

Self-fertilising kiwi's do exist, to mention a few: "Kiwi Jenny", "Kiwi Oriental Delight". A readily available self-fertilising variety in France is "Kiwi Renact", price about 12€ for a pot of 2 litres.

Not only do kiwi's look good in fruit salads and taste good, they are a rich source of vitamin C, its potassium content by weight is slightly less than that of a banana. It also contains vitamin E and a small amount of vitamin A.

Bibliography: Bob Flowerdew: All about fruit, RHS Pruning & Training, Rustica: Arbres fruitiers et petits fruits, Wikipedia 'Kiwifruit'.

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