Lonely Six on Sunday. 29 January 2023

15 thoughts on “Lonely Six on Sunday. 29 January 2023”

  1. What a great view you have of your fabulous garden, Cathy! I had no idea lime trees could get so large! French gardeners have centuries of experience pruning trees, eh? My trips to Versailles as a youth bring to mind rows of massive square cut/pruned trees there…

    1. French gardeners have indeed, Chris. Although the words we use in English (French origin) are often not the words that the French use – it’s confusing. I’ve a lot to learn!

  2. Pollarding and coppicing are two topics that I am very hesitant to discuss. The only arborists I know of here who know how to perform such techniques properly are retired or about to retire. Both techniques are so vilified that modern arborists do not bother to learn about them. I get a lot of flack if I write about pollarding or coppicing. If I write about why they are not done here, I get flack from drunken English arborists who still perform such techniques. I just pollarded a blue elderberry yesterday, and have been very pleased with the results for the past few years. Because elderberry trunks do not last for long, they should be coppiced, but the trunks keep the new growth up and out of the way.

    1. Oh yes, but I disregard the flack, if it’s something that pleases me. I’m not mad about pollarding, but I knew that in this situation it was absolutely the right thing. And actually limes, in particular, produce such gloriously red young shoots. Here, I am using an old French style, not an English. But it’s a feature made much of in very formal English gardens, where large limes are often pollarded to great effect. I’m thinking, actually, of a Welsh garden, Erdigg, that I wrote about for a National Trust book. As my own trees were being chopped the other week, I was reminding myself of the wonderful limes at Erdigg!!! I might actually take to blogging a bit in winter about pollarding in French towns … The pruning seems to suit the architecture. These days the fashion (particularly from the good old US) is for free and untutored. Largely I agree totally – I adore trees and want them to ‘do their thing’.
      But in towns it is not always appropriate and trees have many wonderful characteristics to offer that these old horticultural practices make the most of.
      I really enjoy these styles/pruning techniques in the right place. Although I am still not sure about bonsai – but I imagine the heart of the grower merging with the heart of the tree and that seems to make sense, somehow!???

      1. Exactly! Pollarding alone is used for several reasons, even here. It was introduced from both the East and the West. White mulberry trees were pollarded to produce lush foliage to feed silkworms from China. (That technique may be the origin of the distinct American pollarding style.) A similar technique was used for Australian eucalyptus trees for the cut foliage industry. (Eucalyptus are not so cooperative.) Formerly productive olive trees that formerly inhabited orchards were pollarded so that they would not produce messy fruit or bothersome pollen within the gardens of the urban homes that were built around them. Pollarding only annoys me because it is so rarely done properly. I will likely do it in the future to enhance the foliar color and lushness of bronzed Norway maple. I already do it for my elderberries (which should technically be pruned by alternating canes). Bonsai is difficult for me only because it is as artistic as it is horticultural, and I am no artist.

      2. Fascinating and knowledgeable, as always, Tony. We were encouraged to do it in English gardens for good foliage colour large leaves – (golden) Catalpa was a popular choice and eucalyptus. Interesting that you say the latter doesn’t work well. I don’t think I’d be at all happy to see pollarded olive trees – they are so small anyway, and so very graceful when old.

      3. Yes, that is why I would like to pollard bronzed Norway maple if I could. (I prefer ‘Schwedleri’ because it is the only one that I am familiar with, but could get a modern darker cultivar for such a project.) The native bigleaf maple makes huge leaves in response to pollarding. Eucalyptus that stay compact are more conducive to pollarding than the large sorts that are more common here. Such small eucalyptus were commonly grown near here for cut foliage. The bigger sorts get terribly disfigured, particularly since almost no one knows how to pollard them properly. I pollarded a blue gum merely for the aromatic juvenile foliage, but now can not let it grow into a tree. Heck, I could not let it grow into a tree anyway, just because it gets SO huge. It generates plenty of aromatic foliage, and can be maintained by pollarding so far, but can never be allowed to grow wild.

  3. Great to have some expert help with such big jobs. The whole layout of your garden fascinates me Cathy. It really does look good at this time of year when the ‘bones’ are visible. Is there a stream beyond your garden?

    1. It was wonderful Cathy. And a bit scarey. It’s ‘officially’ a river at the bottom of the garden, although quite small! It does sometimes flood the valley – called the ‘Apance’, it gives its name to the village upstream – Fresnes-sur-Apance. So we have two rivers here, the Saone (the big one, navigable a few miles further on) and the smaller Apance, a tributory river.

  4. I have only one lime in the garden, about 30 years old I reckon. I have pruned it this year but only to the extent of lifting the lower branches and giving it a tidier and more upright shape. The chipping afterwards takes a while!

    1. Oh yes – but how useful are the chippings! Just to say that ‘Brazen Hussey’ is now planted out and the leaves have gone a beautiful bronze colour – I was worried because they were green in the little covered prop area I have! Thanks so much. It’s nice to think of generous gardeners like you when I look round my garden. Will feature it later …

      1. Paddy – I should have said ‘how right you are’ – was too ambiguous, so you misunderstood. The chippings here are, to me, one of the seven wonders of the world! I rejoice in them, and can hardly believe that my own garden has given me all of this! Whenever the BV is down there chipping things I know the only problem is: have I weeded the areas where we can now use all that lovely mulch?

  5. I love the structure of your garden and have serious envy over pleached Limes. However, I do not envy the maintenance required, cutting the hedge around our veg patch gets harder each year. looking forward to seeing your garden advance into Spring.

    1. You are so right. It was the structure that Marcel planted that attracted me to the garden – made me buy it, as a long-term, ‘serious’ horticulturist. I did always want a garden that had a strong structure, and I knew that some of the things he had spent money on would take me decades if I had to begin at the beginning. Unfortunately I had never been lucky enough to live in one place long enough to do it for myself.
      But yes, now, I am deep in the midst of maintenance. Fortunately my husband is not always away (as he was in the beginning) and he helps more and more with the hedge trimming, etc.

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