Last week-end Papi Joe’s Garden took part in the “Welcome to my garden in Brittany” scheme for the first time. We had 170 visitors over the week-end of June 10th-11th. Almost as many visitors as the number of plant species in the garden (176 species to-date). The weather was perfect, the sky was mostly blue with little clouds or hazy and warmer in the afternoon, but never too hot for comfort. And the flowers were at their best. With the help our friend Rob the three of us managed to welcome, guide and answer the visitors’ many questions.
Children loved to lie or play on the soft lawn, grown-ups were well-behaved; they kept to the lawn and no-one ventured to tread over the mixed borders. I even had to insist to have them touch the lovely soft foliage of the hairy canary clover or smell the leaves of the diosma ‘Pink Fountain’.
A number of visitors wondered how I managed to get such a nice lawn, so I gave them a full lesson in lawn creation, starting with the soil preparation, the choice of the right lawn seed (Gazon anglais, of course), the elimination of unwanted weeds and finishing with the lawn edging with the appropriate tools. When it came to demonstrating the Spear and Jackson weeding knife, we tried in vain to spot a dandelion, there were none left in Papi Joe’s garden. A little girl said they were plenty in her own garden. The Wilkinson Sword Long Handled Edging Shears were much admired, as that kind of tool is totally unknown in France (thanks, Rob).
A surprise visitor was the occasion for papi Joe to put on his entomologist cap and lecture a captive audience. Not long ago I had spotted a female Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) laying its eggs on the leaves of the Rue ‘Jackman’s Blue’. And indeed 2 caterpillars were alive and well, happily devouring the foliage of one of their favourite plants. Not many of the visitors knew of this splendid butterfly, which is unfortunately becoming quite rare in our part of France.
I have shortlisted some of the plants which made the show last week-end:
- Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’;
- Clematis ‘Early Sensation’ with its feathery fruit;
- Macleaya cordata, a plant unknown to all visitors;
- Oenothera speciosa ‘Siskiyou’, all covered in large pale pink flowers;
- the rose Celina, full of light yellow roses;
- the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ climbing up the wisteria;
- and many more…
Especially for the geek visitors I had prepared QR code labels for a selection of plants, which they were able to flash with their smart phone for immediate access to the plant species page with photos, etc. on my garden site. Cool!
View the YouTube slideshow of the week-end visits.