Just four members (with no visitors to collect from the airport) made it to the peage carpark on Friday, 24th June, for the short journey to Iris En Provence, Hyeres to see the day lilies in flower. This is a small family-run professional nursery with iris and hermerocallis growing outdoors and various vegetable crops growing in plastic tunnels.
The day lilies were fighting for space with thistles and weeds and perhaps this was why they seemed smaller than the heights given in the brochure. It was also difficult to identify some of the varieties which did not seem to be listed in the catalogue and we discovered at the end of our visit that their website contains more varieties than the brochure! C'est la vie . . . . We were not tempted to buy any plants, many were not in flower and all looked rather uncared for and needed the dead leaves removing.
There are two basic groups of colours, the yellows and oranges or the reds and pinks, and my vote is to go for the evergreen varieties and those that flower more than once. I have also realised that in the hot sun of Provence the subtle blush pinks or pale creamy yellows are lost amongst other plants and need to be planted in a pot kept near the house in order to be seen close up.
At 11.45am we headed briskly to the town centre for the sacred two hours of lunch starting promptly at 12 noon, after which we allowed ourselves an inspection of what the shops had to offer. The centre of Hyeres is reasonably compact with some beautiful bourgeoise appartment buildings and tropical palm trees lining the streets. The dual carriageway approach to Hyeres from the A8 autoroute in June is a horticultural delight (eat your heart out, Promenade des Anglais, Nice!) with stunning mass planting of lantana, oleander, plumbago, perovskia, bourgainvillea - most of which we can't grow in Centre Var because of frost.
We rounded off our visit with a quick swim on the beach of the Presque Ile de Gien and afterwards located an even better beach backed by shady pine trees which we'll try on our next visit.
texte : Sue S
images : Elisabeth B