Annees Premieres 2005-2007

Annees Premieres 2005-2007

2005 - 2006 - 2007

Catriona and her husband Charles found the "terrain de loisir" in the of autumn 2005. It only had some decrepit and rather drought ridden fruit trees and a few vines and a lot of weeds.

There was a cabane or small hut, and old caravan left behind by the previous owners on a tarmac area surrounded by an overgrown cypress lylandii hedge. This did provide some shelter and protection from the winds, and much needed shade.

The first job was to have the land to be planted completely rotivated over by a local farmer and his tractor. This removed years of wild grass, deep rooted garrigue weeds and uncovered thousands of small scilla and wild orchid bulbs that were able to pop up the following spring.

Catriona then laid out with cane long wide planting beds with paths cut through, using cut down cane de povence to make woven low fences.
The fruit trees were treated for canker and pests, and manured was strewn liberally across the areas to be planted.

Catriona and Charles invested in a Hartley Botanic greenhouse so Catriona could start to propagate plants from seed, and also over winter preciuos and tender plants. This has proved to be a fantastic investment and each years produced everything needed for the garden and vegetable growing areas.

The soil is alkaline with a ph of 8.7. soft and muddy when it rains, and rock hard and impossible to dig during the hot summer months. Catriona and Charles had never gardened under these conditions before so it was a very steep learning curve. The canal de Gignac which irrigates the whole of the H?rault valley runs along one side of the property. Although below the sloping land they are able to pump when necessary water from the canal from March to October and fill large water vats to have water during the winter months.

Lavender and bulbs were the first planting carried out by Catriona and Charles and using locally fund stone and wood they were soon able to carry out a basic plan for the layout oif the garden.

These first two years were trial and error to find out what plants actually could be grown in such a wild area and very poor soil.



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Read 'Catriona McLean on Allelopathy' at Mediterranean Gardening France
Read 'A Garden in Languedoc' at Mediterranean Gardening France