Back to work- at last



Sitting down for a well deserved cup of tea. After five weeks in hospital over Christmas and New Year, and a couple of weeks of fiddling around the Domaine repairing the damage the wild boar have done, finally I have restarted work on the plants. Being able to work in a T Shirt with a wonderful view of a snow covered Canagou probably helps.

Caroline was up before me and kindly labelled all the Moroccan Mints (Mentha spicata var. crispa) which I had separated out yesterday, as well as sowing 65 pots of parsley who’s seeds she had soaked for a good 24 hours before hand. The Moroccan mints are truly incredible, a variety of Spear Mint with such a powerful aroma, makes a fantastic tea, great for adding to salads, mixing in with fruit salad. A client from the Perpignan market brought me back some cuttings from an organic farm her brother runs in Algeria .

Finally I got round to digging out the Aquatic Mint barrel, killing all the horrible moth larva, cutworms I think, that infests all the barrels and replacing it with Chocolate Mint (Mentha × piperita ‘Chocolate Mint’) to create a mother plant for the years to come. What on earth possessed me to buy an aquatic mint in the first place eludes me, they are wonderful if you have a stream running at the bottom of the garden, or a pond, half way up a mountain in the south of France is however a less than optimal location.



The French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa ) is way ahead of schedule, so I lifted out the smaller of the mother plants and separated out 35 side shoots- if we don’t get a late winter they should rapidly flourish. I did however pop them into small pots, so if no hard frosts arrive then they will have to be repotted in April/May.

I may be completely wrong but I have a suspicious feeling that Winter isn’t finished with us yet, usually she waits until the Pyrenees ski stations close, after Easter, and then dumps a load of snow.

After the devastation caused by the wild boar all around our garden I finally took a deep breath and rebuilt the wall of the last years tomato patch. I clipped back and replanted the Loch Ness blackberries that the pigs had dug up, hopefully saving them. In front of them I put I a line of rosemary, then sage and in the front marjoram oregano, if all goes to plan and they are not dug up again they will be great from cutting and drying by the end of summer- although I do find that Rosemary takes at least two years to get its roots down before it starts growing noticeably above ground, I think I will clip their heads off and see if that encourages side growth earlier. Now onto the rest of the garden that has been dug up.

July 2015

As I keep losing, misplacing my work book I thought I had better start putting online so I always know where it is. This probably won’t be exactly fascinating reading for anyone else

23rd July

Thym Serpolet- tried tip cuttings, clipping off long stems with roots, and separating plants- will see which is the best.

Carnations- Little Pinks, up potted the 12cm pots to medium sized black pots, hope they will be ready and in flower for Autumn.

Clipped back the Rau-Ram, Persicaria oderata,  mother plant and popped all the cuttings into Orgasyl usually close to 100% success rate if kept moist

Stock pulled out the dead plants and saved the seeds

Harvested the coriander seeds for planting in the Autumn.

Harvested the Anethe seeds for planting/ selling ? next year.

Harvested Roma and Miel de Mexique toms and Long Anglais cucumbers for lunch

24th July

Tied up Loch Ness brambles.

Finished re potting the Lavandin Grosso

More verbena cuttings

Thyme Serpolet, thymus serpyllum,  re potted finshed

More carnations up potted

Cars packed ready for markets

29th July

Up potted range of basils ands parsley

Carnations nearly finished

Separated out Salviae Elegans

Up potted Sauge Sclaree

Sorrel suffering in the sun, so moved to a more shady spot

Sage officinale planted up in the circle in kitchen garden



Organic Plants in March

wtplants-150x150Judging by the plants, and not by the weather, it is mid March and Spring is finally showing signs of arriving here at Montrouch Organics. Even before the Spring Equinox on the 20th March when we finally get 12 hours of day light the plants are starting to establish themselves.



Open to the Sky

Organic TarragonLast week I noticed the pulled the organic Tarragon mother plants were beginning to regrow so they got gently to pieces and replanted- already they are shooting up – so no need for them to go down to the poly tunnel.

Bergamot Mint

The organic Pepper Mints, Moroccan Mints,  Spear Mints and Bergamot Mints all started appearing in the first week of March and now have all been re-potted into their final pot sizes and the work has begun on the separating out the mother plants. The Chocolate mint is showing signs of life as is the Mint Longifolia- a few more weeks of growth for them before they are ready for separating. The one mint that is a little slow is the Strawberry mint, but even that is showing signs of life.

The  sarriette  is bursting into life and the new mother plants I planted last November in the bank by the terrace are throwing out major shoots that need to be cut and dug up. The Lemon Thyme is starting to re-shoot in the garden, as is the hyssop. In a week or so they will be ready for taking cuttings.

In the Poly Tunnel 

springinthepolytunnelMarch arrived and suddenly everything started growing, in February we could count on the corianders germinating- they have been an all winter success-and we had a fair few Sages, Chives, and Parsley pushing through. The really cool result was the dill in February, while the camomile has been a bit patchy.


In February we planted our first organic tomatoes, a 140 Coeur de Boeff Rouge, 105 Marmande, 15 St Pierre, 15 Moneymakers, 105 Romas, and 105 Miel du Mexiques. We also put in 70 pots of  Basilic Genovese, 70 Basilic Thai 35 Basilic Marseillais, and some Syrian Marjolaine,  All have now germinated.

It is now the 18th March and so far this month we have planted in the Poly tunnel


TOMATE Andine Cornue70 Noir de Crimee, 170 Berner Rose, 70 Valencia, 100 Petite Coeur de Boeufs, 100 German Red Strawberry,100 St Pierre, 100 Andine Cornue and 100 Principe Bourghese.




106 Long Anglais, 82 Marketmores, and 35 Cornichon Petite Vert de Paris.


117 Black Beauty and 50 Vert du Milan


100 Tres Longes des Landes and 50 Doux d’Espagne


Graine bio BASILIC Rouge Osmin 70 pots of Frand Feuille, 35 Osmin Rouge, 35 Greeks, 70 Aromatico race Ligure, and 35 Feuille de Laitue

We have two new sowings of Coriander, the first of 35 pots and a further 70 this morning,a nd two more of flat leafted Parsley- with the long leaf parsley still soaking in the kitchen- we find a minimum of two days soaking of the seeds really aid both the speed of germination and the number of seeds which germinate.

New this year we have sown 18 pots of Mellisse, Lemon balm, and 18 pots of Carvi, Caraway.

The Sage Elegants is starting to regrow,and Caroline’s wonderful wild geraniums are pushing through as is the Mint Geranium, and the Verbena is positively kicking

And there is still two weeks to go

Too see our full range which should be available from the end of April and



Spring is just around the corner

Picture 036Spring this year officially starts on the 20th March when the vernal equinox occurs- some one however seems to have forgotten to tell our plants that. Yesterday I decided to prune back the dead stems on the tarragon only to find that pushing up form beneath them the new shoots had already started to push through- the mints, well the spear mint and pepper mint, Moroccan and long leafed mints are also starting to shoot.

Down in the poly tunnel the parsley, coriander, hairy sage and common sages are sprouting away.Caroline sowed 190 pots on Wednesday- Basil,  Marigolds, Polyvit Chives, Borage, Camomile, Valerian, and Lin de Narbonne.

The garden is also seeing signs of life, the snow drops are out, the sempervivum tectorum is starting to flower, the winter jasmine is in full bloom and so is the tercrium (See picture).

But we have had half a metre of snow in May, it usually snows the week after the ski stations close,so keeping our fingers crossed.


Pruning and cuttings

Just a quick morning’s run around before going out to Bill and Martine’s new house for a bbq with Jon and Ken.

Cut back Chocolate, Bergamon, Pepper and Spearmints.

Pruned back the Lavender in the garden, dead headed the Sage O and the Sclare Sage.

Separated out some Oregano O.

Replanted some Terciums (?) cuttings, and tookl a load of cuttings from the larger varieties-no idea what their name is.

Threw away the dead lobelia


Now lunch.