Have you started a garden or are you maintaining an established plot on your property, be it flowering or vegetable or…vegetal?
No matter what area of France you are currently inhabiting, if you wouldn’t mind sharing I’d like to hear from you about the native plants in your area, or your ‘gardening bible’ if you will, or other resource for reference, and/or what gardening tools you’ve brought with you.
What gardening tools have you found were expensive or harder to get?
What is your favorite…native plant, gardening tool, resource for gardening in France? Do French gardening experts have online blogs, that you know of?
My favourite subject! I could rabbit on for hours so be careful!
My best resource is looking at neighbours’ gardens and watching what they do and when. However since we’re in eastern France at 2100 ft altitude I doubt our experience of plants will be much use to you.
Good things we like to do are visiting plant fairs, where you can get to meet fellow gardeners. And we’ve got to know our local nurseries (not that there are many in our patch). There’s also a local botanical group as we have stunning wildflowers and about 40 different native orchids. In general we’re happy to live somewhere where there are no other incomers…except we misss the UK passion for gardening. I get rustica and L’ami des jardins delivered which helps a bit.
Things we struggle with are not being able to get peat free compost and rubbish tools (sorry France, but apart from sarclers they aren’t much good).
I visited Les Jardins d’Ordesa (http://www.lesjardinsdordesa.com/index.php?page=contact) to buy fruit trees - not only do they have some old Limousin varieties, but they are also very friendly, and not sparing with advice - where to put fig trees, what grows well in the area, even had quinces and medlars (and made me taste the latter). It’s always worth finding a good small nursery like this rather than heading straight for Delbard or the garden section of the supermarket - you will get a lot of good advice and local knowledge. We also got help with managing to get the (quite large) trees into the car and tying the boot down well enough to be just about legal to drive away.
Oh, and I forgot; look out for Troc’plantes. We have two or three near us - plant swapping days with some professionals and a lot of keen amateur gardeners. Also a permaculture guy who is at several of the vides-greniers and sells comfrey (superb fertiliser plant) and herbs, and again, is a mine of information on all aspects of gardening.
Troc’plantes sounds great, although I doubt there is much demand for the pittospermum tobira seedlings that seem to self seed everywhere here on the south coast, 13500. Pittospermum tobira here seems to be a bit like griselinea in Ireland, I don’t think it’s native but I can see a few in every garden that has a low enough wall to see over!
There is a lady with a great herb stall at the market in Arles who runs a herb nursery near Aix which I plan to visit when it opens to the public in the Spring.
The only tool I have brought with me is my Felco secateurs and since then have bought a lovely pruning saw in a Botanic garden centre, the brand is Bahco, it has a lovely wooden handle and is double toothed, makes short work of all those pittospremum tobira branches that try to put my eye out!
Sarclers are weeders, and many different types here so as well as hoes (pousse-pousse) you have binettes and lots of other shapes for upright and kneeling wedding that I forget the specific names of. It’s very much personal taste, and what weeds you have and where. Although having said I like some of the french ones, my favorite is still the Japanese razor hoe. https://www.burgonandball.com/collections/razor-hoe