PHYLLIS ODESSEY

you might not want to visit

img_4195I exchanged several emails with Gill Pound.  I wanted to visit her garden, La Petite Pepiniere in Caunes-Minervois, France.  Her last email contained a warning: “You may know that we are having record breaking heat and drought here in the Languedoc (and elsewhere in France); as we don’t water much of our garden, it is consequently suffering enormously.  I am sure to lose many theoretically drought resistant plants and overall the garden looks pretty terrible…

However, if you are interested in talking about plants that survive heat & drought then it is a perfect time to visit!”   I was interested. 

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The landscape surrounding  Gill Pound’s garden.

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The “nursery”

Gill bought the property in 1995 and has been gardening on it every since.  Even though the garden borders a river, which in a normal years provides deep pockets of moisture for plants,  this year was different.  It has not rained in this part of France since May.  Gill still hasn’t water the entire garden,only a few plants that were in danger.

img_4205 img_4206 img_4207Of course, it’s not surprising to see varieties of Yucca growing at Gill’s garden: Yucca faxoniana (West Texas Tree Yucca), Yucca elata (Soaptree Yucca), Yucca filmentosa ‘Bright Edge’ Yucca rostrata (Break Blue Yucca), Yucca schidigera (Mojave yucca or Spanish dagger).  Gill Pound propagates her own plants and many of these Yuccas came from Texas. 

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Callistemon (Australian Bottlebrush)

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Callistemon (Bottlebrush) belong to the family Myrtaceae.  Most Bottlebrushes occur in the east and south-east Australia.  The flower spikes of bottlebrushes form in spring and summer and are made up of a number of individual flowers.  The pollen of the flower forms on the tip of a long colored stalk called a filament.  Each flower produces a small woody fruit containing hundreds of tiny seeds.  These fruits form in clusters along the stem and are usually held on the plant for many years.  The seeds are usually not released from the fruits for several years.

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The newly created “grass” garden

I was captivated by the plant palette:  over 75 varieties of Salvia, 25 varieties of Cistus, 12 varieties of Phlomis, 15 varieties of Nerium and many more.  Gill’s website has a complete plant list.

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Melianthus major

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Paulownia tomentosa (princesstree, foxglove tree, empress tree). Paulownia tomentosa can survive wildfire because the roots can regenerate new, very fast-growing stems.

This is a garden to love for its plants. I especially liked talking to Gill about the history of the garden and how it evolved. “When we came here, we started making mistakes and we are still making them.”  Gill is a gardener after my own heart.  Her garden is her workshop, a place to experiment, learn and grow.

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If you are in the neighborhood: 
Gill@lapetitepepiniere.com
phone:  04 68 78 43 81
as she says on her website:
For plant and garden queries please don’t hesitate to contact me”.
She means it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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