Catriona's Garden in the Hèrault Valley

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Le Jardin des Rossignols

Le Jardin des Rossignols

Our six year old garden is approximately 3000sq metres of old vineyard land in the Hérault valley near Gignac. There was nothing planted on the terrain except several varieties of fruit trees, and six rather decrepit vines.
The Canal de Gignac runs beside the land, providing water from March to October and the garden has wonderful uninterrupted views across the vineyards and the Hérault valley. It is planted in an essentially wild, “prairie/garrigue” style. Many of the plants have been grown from seed either collected in the wild from nearby garrigue hillsides (cistus,romarin,thyme etc) or found at local plant fairs and plant exchanges from other gardening friends. Some original plants came south from Scotland, when we moved - acqualegias, snowdrops ( these just about survive) grasses and hellebores.
The garden evolves and changes each year, depending on new seedlings and blown in seeds from the wild which either are allowed to remain in situ or are ruthlessly pulled up before they can overwhelm.

The soil is heavy vineyard clay, alkaline with a ph of 8.7 The land is sloping and exposed, with few trees, but around the cabane a few Cypress leylandii and firs act as a wind break.
The springs are warm with some good rainy spells in March and April. The summers are hot and dry but we have a cool breeze from the mountains behind St Guilhem le Desert. Winter months are cold at night with temperatures as low as -8°C but daytime temperatures can rise to 18°C in the spring and well above 30°C in July and August.



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