Rosemary Halford invited our Gardening Group to join her group on a visit to Le Jardin Andre in La Motte. M. Garro, the owner, was most welcoming and took a lot of time explaining:
how he treats his lawn,
how he fertilises his garden,
how frequently he waters his garden,
general garden techniques.
The garden is situated on a hillside just outside the village of La Motte. There is a watercourse crossing his land and in addition, rain is collected in a large cistern, which helps in maintaining the garden in such a lush state.
It is a garden with bright colours, many different varieties of Hemerocallis, Canna's, intermixed with Penstemon, Larkspur, Tagetes, Salvia and others to give it a really Mediterranean feeling. Wonderful views over the Maures complete the picture.
For his lawn he has used a variety of grass seed called "Rustique". He mows every 4 to 5 days, this makes the grass grow thicker. After mowing he always waters his lawn, as he explains, the grass gets slightly burned during mowing and watering helps to cool it down. The lawn is watered every day in the hot season, and fertiliser is applied 3 x in the growing season. He fertilises it with a lawn fertiliser called "Florabelle" and the same fertiliser is used for the flower beds. He mentioned as well that if your Phlomis is not flowering give it the same manure as for Irises with a NPK level of 4/8/8 or 6/8/8, lower in nitrogen than other fertlisers.
After the garden visit he invited us for a drink, a home made punch called "Vin de Marquisette", made as follows:
1 bottle of white wine, 1 bottle of sparkling water, 1 bottle of sparkling wine, 300 grams of sugar and 5 lemons. This all has to marinate for about 2 hours and served very cold with ice cubes floating in the punch. It was delicious and refreshing.
The following are a list of plants we came across in his garden:
Acca sellowiana, syn. Feijoa:
Achillea, many varieties.
Arbutus xalapensis (Mexico), changes its bark 2 x a year.
Amarcrinum, a cross between Amaryllis x Crinum, at first glance it makes you think of an Agapanthus, but the flower is deep pink in colour.
Canna's, many different cultivars.
Delphinium consolida - Larkspur.
Dianthus carthusianorum?, a wild variety from the alpine region.
Hemerocallis, many different cultivars:
Lantana sellowiana (montevidensis), trailing all over his walls, tender.
Oenothera speciosa "Rosea".Magnolia grandiflora in bloom.
Soleirolia soleirolii - wonderful creeper planted under the Magnolia grandiflora tree, it was very damp to the touch.
Tweedia caerulea (syn. Oxypetalum caeruleum):
Zanthoxylum piperitum, Sichuan Pepper Tree, hardy to frost tender:
After a lovely lunch, Melon Soup, Bean Soup, Pissalidiere, Beans Salad, Cheeses and a Cherry Crumble and Coffee Cake at Rosemary and Miles's, we made our way to a cute little garden, right in the middle of Figanieres called Le Jardin des Senteurs. It is maintained by the Figanieres council and has a caretaker on the spot. All the plants in the garden give off scents from spring to autumn. At the moment the scent of Trachelospermum jasminoides is everywhere.
Le Jardin des Senteurs:
Some of the plants we came across:
Lavandula stoechas "St. Brelade".
Pelargoniums, the scented varieties, Pelargonium "Graveolens", Pelargonium fragrans "Nutmeg", and many others.
Polianthus tuberosa, not yet in bloom.
Salvia greggii rose
Thymus serpilum "Elfin"
Photos: Jacqueline Hodkinson and Michelle Power.