Monday, 31 August 2009

Canne de Provence

These are Arundo Donax or Spanish reed growing along one end of the swimming pool at my holiday cottages, Le Relais des Roches, which are located further into town from here at Le Banquet. I much prefer the French name; 'Canne de Provence'.

Anyway, the reason for this post is simply to let you know just how easy propagation can be.

I'll explain. Every winter I cut the brown, frosted canes back to the ground and dump them in a little area that I keep for, well, dumping stuff really, vegetative matter only of course. Inadvertently I had actually 'layered' the canes as lo and behold the ones at the bottom of the pile grew new shoots vertically, new plants in effect complete with their own little root systems.

It was just a simple matter of cutting out a little piece of stem section and potting the new plant on.

Voila! pictured above is a new plantlet still attached to the layered stem together with its roots.

Needless to say I've potted them on and now need to find a home for them. They make a great foliage curtain or look grand growing as a big clump. The stems can reach to 4 metres in a season and they rustle gently in the breeze. There are no particular water requirements either. Sure enough I watered the parent plants well for their first season but after that nothing. Hardy to zone 7, these are low maintenance statuesque plants.

Happy in new pots, increasing your stock of these plants is as easy as ABC!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Rose Identity - please!

I wonder if anyone could identify this yellow rose?

It grows up on the end gable of the long barn. It was here long before I arrived, before the previous owners and the people before them, so it's old, probably some 30 years old.

It's a beauty. It cloaks the stonework and is about 3 metres high. It has a first flush in June, blooms sporadically through Summer and has another flush about now.

The blooms start off a deep yellow and fade as they age. I am simply the guardian of this rose, pruning and feeding it but I would love to know its name. Any ideas? Anyone.

See, I said it was a beauty!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

A Good Year?

The Summer weather has been good across southern France this year. The last time it was this good was back in 2005 which following a pleasant early autumn led to one of the best wine vintages ever. Many will wax lyrically about the extraordinaire '05, the once in a century vintage that saw shelves stripped of red Bordeaux as the world and 'their dog' clambered to get a piece of what is an impeccable wine. Is 2009 going the same way?

Spring was relatively dry. No deluges in May which can diminish yields as this is when the vines flower, unlike back in 2007 when the skies were forever opening. Of course the blame for then was put squarely at the feet of the little girl, La Niña.
No, no, Spring was warm and sunny and Summer has followed suit. If this good weather continues through September then it could all make for a happy vendange or harvest. Indeed, should things pan out favourably then the harvest will be put back. It's a moveable feast and if the weather's kind, then the grapes will be left on the vine longer to absorb the rays of the sun and be able to deliver wines packed with 'fruit'. It's all about timing.

I've noticed the vines here at Le Banquet yielding enormous bunches of grapes this year. I couldn't tell you what variety they are, they've been in the ground for some 150 years or so and serve only as decoration but fruit laden they are all the same.

Aside from the maybe or maybe nots of the pending vintage, around this time of year I find myself making a few changes around the garden. A bit of garden editing if you like. I'll swap this with that, that with this and inevitably make a purchase of some sort as a bit of retail therapy never goes amiss. This year is no exception and I present you below my new sunshine face thingymejig. Sunshine and vines make good friends.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Bulrush of the Bible

Things are hectic here at the moment. Family are over, all the gites are occupied and France is on holiday so I've a lot on. Needless to say blogging has taken something of a back seat but I thought I'd post up the Cyperus papyrus shown above. I actually intended to mention it in plants in pots 2 but completely forgot..

Although an aquatic, it does well in a pot as long as there's a saucer underneath and it gets a decent feed every week or two and a good splash of water when dry. The hairdo at the top of each stem is correctly called a culm. As each one opens up they become almost spherical and I think they look really graceful.

A fast grower, this one is a metre sixty high from a seventy centimetre plant in mid spring.

As for overwintering? I'm not sure how best to get it through. It'll certainly not take any frost, maybe a houseplant we'll see.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Harry Patch

Rest in peace Harry Patch, the 'last Tommy' whose funeral has taken place today.

Harry died age 111 and spent most of his life talking of reconciliation following the horrors of World War One.

The last living link with the Great War, he was a man who talked sense. Click here for more.