Horticultural Memories

The devistation by the hurricane of the forests of SW France last week reminded me of our own experience 20years ago. In those days we lived on the Hampshire / Surrey border.

We had just moved into a nursery we had bought the week before: 6.5 acres of glasshouses which had been empty and neglected for several years. We heard Mr Fish assuring us that the weather forecasters in France and Holland were wrong but woke up at 2 am to the sound of breaking glass.

Just as now in France, our little valley was cut off from the outside world for over 6 days. We supplied the houses nearby with electricity generated by our transformer and spent days cutting a route through fallen trees to the main road. Telephones were reconnected more quickly: our neighbour was a GP and therefore had priority.

Fortunately our shiny, new insurance policy did what it said on the packet and our business survived the storm, with the assistance of ourDutch suppliers and a lorry load of glass. I wish the foresters of the Landes all the luck in the world in rebuilding their lives.


My Christmas present has finally turned up; my wife had bought me membership of the Societe Nationale d’Horticulture de France and after all this time a package arrived from them.

In addition to two copies of Jardins de France, their monthly magazine, there was a CD of illustrations from La Review Horticole of the 1860’s. One thing that is sure to assist my learning of the language is to read about plants in French. The two editions will keep me occupied for many a happy hour and I will report back on what I find there.

Off topic, I know, but I was truly saddned to hear of the death of John Martyn, a favourite singer / songwriter of mine since I was introduced to his work while studying at Pershore, all those years ago. RIP John.


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