Saturday, 30 April 2016

Garden Visit, 27 April 2016 - Le Chemin de Ronde at Figanières

Mr. Denis Weis, the owner of 'Le Chemin de Ronde', believes in an ecological approach where his garden is concerned. He has between 400-500 plants in a relatively small garden.  A path in a circle runs along the garden with different aspects as you go along.

M. Weiss had created a lily pond with fish leading into a small stream with a little bridge over, which in turn flowed into a smaller pond with a fountain.  The garden was divided up into "'regions" and thus appeared much larger than it was.  He explained, when I asked him if there were any frogs, that they do not croak when it's windy!

A variegated Artemisia, I was giving a piece when we last visited the garden, very invasive!

He suggested that you should have here and there gaps in the lay out of the garden that lead the eye towards a distant statue or decorative plant/pot.  Makes the garden look larger.

Mix evergeen and deciduous shrub so that you have always some colour in the garden, even in winter.

Scilla peruviana

He has also constructed small ponds at several places in the garden with the help of agricultural plastic with the purpose of trapping insects.

He used to have an automatic watering system but he disconnected it as he found that different plants have different requirements so he now does it by hand.

Some of his advice:

If you have an exposed garden, as a windbreak, use a mixed hedge. Some of the shrubs that he recommended to use in a mixed hedge were, white and pink flowering Hawthorn (Crataegus); entwined with different rambling roses, for example Rosa 'Kiftgate', Rosa banksiae; Pittosporum; Cornus alba.  Using as a windbreak an impregnable, thick hedge made up of conifers has the effect of the wind going over the hedge and down into the garden, in fact it does not serve as a windbreak at all.

Above 8 photos of plants used in the mixed hedge

He mentioned that Horse Manure (Fumier de Cheval), using his expression, is a 'hot manure' to be used in spring, whilst Sheep Manure (Fumier de Mouton) being a 'cold manure' should be used in autumn.

To prevent and treat plant illnesses he uses 'Bouille Bordelaise', the clear powdered one.

Vegetable Patch

When you dig up your Irises after they've become too dense and have stopped flowering, do not put them back in the same spot straight away. Wait a year before you replant them after have fertilised the soil.

If you use your own compost, make sure it is well rotted.

Euphorbia milii

Cistus x skanbergii

Tanacetum crispum

To control mosquitoes he has a machine that works over a distance of 1000-2500 m2.  The machine in itself costs about 500€ and uses cartridges which cost 40€ for 3, but works very well! It had a small pump and the cartouche attached to the base was suffused with human aromas (he didn't go into details!) that attracted the female moustiques which entered and then got trapped in a filter, at the top. Each cartridge lasts one month.

He also relied on the frogs and small fish, pond life etc. to eat the  larvae of the insects! 

Wood shavings around the vegetable plants thwarted the slugs and also made good mulch when broken down at the end of the season. This can be bought in bags.

He showed us a multitude of bio products which he puts around his plants for nourishing and improving the soil. 
Savon noir made a good black/ green fly killer.

To treat the Box moth he uses a product called 'Bacillus Thuringiensis' which you can buy from the Co-op.

Viburnum opulus

He suggests to use variegated syringa, it looks much more delicate and attractive than the common bush.

He had some large and dwarf bamboo, but it must have been kept in check by some sort of barrier.

He had various types of roses including a pale lemon banksiae.

A pale pink euphorbia (crown of thorns) was growing in a pot.  A lot of his plants were growing in pots, so that, I assume, he could bring them indoors if the weather turned frosty.

He had a lawn but not of was made up of daisies and other small flowering wild plants for the bees and other insects.

Photos: Jacqueline Hodkinson, Ellie Bos, Liz & John.
Info contributed by: Diana Hart, Jacqueline Hodkinson, Rini Rubbens and Sue Spence.

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