Japanese Rose (and NFTs)

Bought in 2022, keeping in pot for now, just love the color and small flowers from Spring.

Soon after, on the banks of the river Dordogne, I noticed a huge bush/hedgerow of the stuff growing abundantly in someone's garden, along our quiet, local road. It should grow well.

Kerria Japonica (Wikipedia) 




Collect an NFT....








Lawson cypress: 'Luna'

A type of Lawson cypress tree, we planted this interesting variant, for evergreen conifer presence in our garden. We planted it in a shady area, which like a lot of conifers it should like, but interestingly it's also resistant to wildfires, although while young it won't love our hot, dry soil, apres-midi.

Another variant of 'Luna' we have is 'Ellwood's Gold'. 

And... we also have a grand old Atlas Cedar tree.







Honeysuckle

With a fair amount of french (cement) barn walls to hide with climbing plants, Honeysuckle (Lonicera) is a desirable, bee-friendly option. It also smells good and brings colour.

'Japonica Hall's Prolific' is a variety we've planted and seems popular with garden centres here in SW France.

However, these can die back significantly in the winter, so it'd be great to find a more evergreen option or variety. We have one of these already, which doesn't disappear or reveal the wall completely in winter. Not able to identify (yet) or find a second of these for another wall but I will update this post if I discover it or something like it (comments welcome on this!)

Honeysuckle (wikipedia)
Honeysuckle (everipedia)
iNaturalist





our other (mysterious) variety (in spring):




Dandelion (and NFTs)

Dandelions appear where soil is dry and compacted and actually help to loosen and repair soil, turning it slowly back into better stuff. However, unfortunately most of us can't wait that long, but it's just nice to see them back in the Spring. These are powerful plants to remove later in the summer.

The Dandelion Clock NFTs....







Ginkgo biloba

Sometimes you just stumble on something in the garden centre with an interesting name, origin and leaf shape (and with a genus dating back 170 million years+ ago), that you just grab it and stick it in the shopping cart! There's also the chance of having leaves change and bring Autumn color in. 

I planted one in the middle of our small orchard of fruit trees. Maybe not the best position, but it's still going for now. 

This post is for reference, but if I see any leaves appearing it will become an NFT, fear thee not.

Wikipedia information...






Genista 'broom'

This plant has been growing well in sunny border position against the cement wall of a pressoir barn. It's just about to turn a powerful yellow (April)....

The flower can open explosively onto an insect that lands on it, coating its underside with pollen.

It has an interesting (hardy) history associated with the English planta'genet' royal line...

Genista 'Porlock' or 'broom'....







Sweetcorn

2022

It's April 2022 and we've had a bad frost but... we're still going to start sweetcorn from seed, inside the house, and in the polytent.

They grew well last year, but it was on the late side, and bought as seedlings from garden centre.

From an artistic side, it's hard not to love these strong, tall-growing plants rustling and whispering in the warm breeze. Look out for some Sweetcorn NFT posts later in the season...






For results, see the Veg 2022 post.....



April: Hornet trap time again

Unfortunately, in SW France we have a risk of asian hornets (or frelon asiatique) and their shopping bag-like nests appearing later in the Summer hanging from fruit trees. They then need to be removed at great expense. They can also make lower nests hidden in hedges or in holes in the ground. Disturbing these can cause aggressive defence, where the whole colony is mobilised.

Note: hornets are in fact otherwise not v. aggressive to humans and generally keep themselves to themselves.



Being all about diversity and wildlife, ideally, one species controls another or else you simply have to live with a successful species during the course of a season. However, asian hornets threaten the bee (and native) populations and it's just not a nice insect predator to have around, especially if you have kids all over the garden. A separate subject is the Tiger mosquito, which we keep an eye out for, but don't specifically target.

Anyway... in early April we hang up a hornet trap, away from the house, up in a tree, in order to get the early hornet queens and reduce the chance of populations appearing around or nearby our house. 




We take it down in May when the bait becomes less effective and hopefully we've captured a few queens, thereby reducing the population later on.

We don't have a large orchard so we're not concerned about wasps etc. destroying tons of fruit. We also find that we get more of other insects if we don't have enough wasps and native hornets 'doing their thing' and controlling things like flies, shield bugs etc. There is an ecosystem after all and if we interefere too much then there can be other imbalance. Every season is different!

Got any alternative experience/advice? Leave us a comment!

Small pond for wildlife

This small pond we created to add interest - and help bugs etc - in our ornamental / family garden area. Ideally, we need one closer to our vegetable area, to help with pest control, improve diversity etc., but any extra water source helps things around here (including the mosquitoes!). 

It's positioned near an old Lime tree, for some shade in summer, but where somes leaves do fall in the Autumn, which is why we added a plastic netting across (later) and to stop our dog drinking from it.



It's true that some years we seem to get more mosquitoes around here (in SW France, near to the Dordogne river) depending on rainfall, success rate etc. We also get the Tiger mosquito unfortunately. This pond might add to this to an extent, but it's our belief that the more we plant and improve this old area - in general - then the more potential predators there'll be to control successful species. We already get frogs and bats nearby both of which eat mosquitoes. The aim is not to worry about abundant species, but try and promote diversity as a whole.



The pond today (2022, a couple of years later....)




Japanese Quince?

You see a lot of these bright red flowers around in gardens in SW France, vibrant in Springtime. 

Luckily we have one too, in our SW-facing garden, but near the grand shade of an old fig tree. 

It's grown well these last few years. It's woody and thorny, related to the quince fruit, but interestingly you can still eat the fruit (after frost is better) and in liqueur, marmalades and preserves.


Japanese quince or flowering / Maule's quince, see also Chaenomeles


Succession Planting

 


More on Succession Planting, which is nearly always used in veg growing, but also for permaculture garden planning as a whole....

Apple tree (+ 'At Dawn' NFTs)



This is one of our apple fruit tree saplings on the diverse micro-orchard (in a winter dawn in 2022). Is this pruned correctly in order to reach low-hanging fruit later on? The answer is not really, or not yet, because we don't mind this one getting tall and 'natural', although dead or crossing branches are removed.


Collect an NFT from the 'Organic Metaverse' collection:




Cosmos exploding

Spring brings back this perennial border flower, and it seems to come back stronger each time. Not sure if it's exactly a cosmos or if it came as part of some combo perennial packet.

A nice opportunity for some photos - and photo NFTs!





Collect a unique, super NFT from the 'Organic Metaverse':






'Midwinter Fire'

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' planted as cover against a row of bland-looking former cement rabbit hutches. It's looking better this Spring, but has taken its time to get (only a bit) bigger....





Taking a break...

After all those cypress Leyland trees planted, everyone needs a break (and with the most preferred crisps in France plus a very fine bio beer!). A chance to chill-out and admire the 'organic Cosmos' too.

Spring is the time to plant, and catch that potent mix of sun and rain, but also a time to see previous work/things planted starting to come back from (what can seem) like the dead... 

Happy days spent outside all day long and better sleep after so much fresh air.




Corkscrew willow

Our ornamental, corkscrew willow tree (2/3 years old now) has a tough time in the summer, and in its first year we nearly lost it to the heat. However, it comes back and will hopefully establish itself in this position with continued care, and water.

Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ is a short-lived, fast-grower, and is not a tree to plant near patios or underground pipes. Its wood is also quite brittle, and can break off in winds, but with only the barn buildings around, this shouldn't be an issue. It's a shame not to plant it near a house though, or some kind of habitable area, because it's an awesome courtyard-style meditational tree to sit near.

It had to be at least this distance from the cement barn and pigeonnier. Hopefully far enough for the roots, but it will get a bit more shade here.

Reference:
Everipedia
Wikipedia


Kiwiberries coming back (Yr 2, 2022)

Our quick-climbing Kiwiberry, although it may not wield fruit this year. It's supposedly self-pollinating. 

We planted a self-pollinating Kiwi tree elsewhere, but after hanging around for years it just gave up the ghost. Maybe planted in the wrong soil or something.

More re: Actinidia (kiwiberry) 

Got to keep an eye out for cats (who can dig it up, due to its appealing catnip smell) but should be OK as it's planted near the house - and near to our dog who likes chasing them. 



Reference:




Daffodils

Everyone loves these perennial trumpet flowers (Narcissus) heralding the springtime, and warmer weather soon, not forgetting that they're also quite toxic plants. The structures are incredible and surely worthy of an NFT!