How to prune Wisteria

Wisteria is not exactly a low-maintenance climber, but training it carefully is worth the effort.

IIn the past few years, I have not come across many well-trained or even well-maintained wisterias, here on the French Riviera. Many house owners inherit these versatile climbers from the previous owners, who all too often have already let them become overgrown, twiggy, criss-crossing and generelly out of form. Usually Wisteria becomes less and less flowering the more it overgrows, until it stops blooming completely.

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Renovation of a Mediterranean Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops humilis) Part 2

Giving an overgrown dwarf palm time and space to grow back.

AAt the beginning of this week I described how you go about renovating a Mediterranean dwarf palm. Not only was the specimen heavily overgrown, it was (and probably still is) also severely infested by the Paysandisia archon palmmoth. Today I’ll show you how I attacked the rest of this renovation job. Due to the unusual rainy and cold weather we are currently experiencing on the French Riviera this February, I was not able to apply the nematode liquid yet, because it would be ineffective under these conditions, mostly due to the cold. In a week’s or two week’s time this should be possible to do.

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Renovation of a Mediterranean Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops humilis) Part 1

How to turn an overgrown dwarf palm into a garden highlight.

Chamaerops humilis before renovation

CChamaerops humilis is one of the most popular palms used as an ornamental feature in Mediterranean gardens. While it has decorative (and practical) advantages for a use in classic Mediterranean garden designs, it is also highly susceptible to both, neglect and an infestation by the larvae of Paysandisia archon, the now notorious palm moth. (I have previously published posts in this French Riviera Garden blog and elsewhere, that describe how to try dealing with a paysandisia infection.)
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Harvest Moon

Regain your childhood’s fun and treat yourself to a small herb and fruit-and-veg garden.

IIn my childhood, not only my parents, but also all my aunts and uncles grew fruit and veg in their gardens. I wasn’t that much into the veggies as a child, but cherries, strawberries, raspberries and pears were my favorites. It was magic: eating fruits directly from shrubs and trees, adorning yourself with “cherry-earrings”, pulling panicles of redcurrants through your teeth, making funny faces when eating unripe gooseberries and quickly throwing wormy plums over into the neighbor’s garden.

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Spring clean. In the garden!

Prune your plants now and you will enjoy a beautiful garden this summer.

TThe winter on the Côte d’Azur, that, a hundred years ago, attracted the rich and famous from London, Berlin and Paris in droves, lures with many serene days and mild temperatures, usually between 12 and 16 degrees. On windless sunny days, you might start sweating while strolling on the Rue d’Antibes in Cannes, the déjeuner outside puts a fresh tan on your face and in the garden of the beloved holiday home suddenly everything grows uncontrollably. And here’s the problem, which is, in fact, not really one, but to this we’ll be getting later.

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Palm Moths and Palm Weevils – and how to protect and save your palm trees

Is there a way to save the palm trees on the French Riviera? Notes on Rhynchophorus and Paysandisia.

Palm Moths and Palm Weevils

FFor years there have been reports about the two main pests damaging Mediterranean palm trees, the so-called palm moth (Paysandisia archon) and the so-called red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). Both insects have been featured by various publications, as „immigrated“, i.e. non-endemic, pests: the palm moth originates from Uruguay and Argentina, while the red palm weevil calls tropical regions of Asia his original home.

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Winter Garden Care on the Côte d’Azur

Winter is a good time to do some garden work on the French Riviera.

Green Parrot Gardens | Winter Care and Next Season | Robin

WWinter care in your Mediterranean garden means preparing your next outdoor season. Close to the Mediterranean there is no – or almost no – vegetative pause during the winter, depending on the local conditions. But since temperatures rarely fall below 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, many plants may slow down, but most of them will simply continue to grow. The rain season always offers many rainless days in a row, which will allow to prepare your garden for the next season.

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La vie en Rose

Do roses grow well in a Mediterranean garden on the French Riviera?

RRoses, these thorny, but smooth-petalled and perfumed flowers have been an integral part of our culture for thousands of years. Ancient Sumerians adored them cultically, in China roses have been cultivated since 2700 B.C., the Egyptians dedicated the red rose to their goddess Isis. Greeks crowned their glorious warriors with them, and the infamous Roman emperor Nero indulged his guests at the legendary “sub rosa”-party with rose petals, rosewater, rose oil and rose wine. In the early age of sail roses became the export hit of the Orient and, when the “War of the Roses” was finally over, England made the rose its national flower. Continue Reading →

Poor Gardening vs. Good Gardening Techniques

Gardening on the French Riviera: a list of poor vs. good techniques.

Green Parrot Gardens | Good Gardening - Bad Gardening

IIt’s worth while to learn what plants look like, which have been cared for with love, horticultural knowledge and proven gardening techniques. Like in every craftmanship, gardening techniques should serve a purpose. Gardening is a profession that needs mindfulness and know-how, a trained eye, taste, systematic planning, methodic action and constant learning. Poor gardening leads to poor results and still costs a lot of money. Here’s a list of “poor” versus “good” gardening techniques. Continue Reading →

Your garden is not a parade ground. More balance please!

Why square shapes aren’t always the right choice.

EEvery design has its place in this world. Seriously. I believe in this allegation. Example: I personally don’t really like designs that are based on skulls and bones, say the typical black and silver motorcyclist’s t-shirt featuring some kind of screaming meatless human head. Continue Reading →