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A garden in the Vaucluse, France

Our garden in the Vaucluse lies in a fruit-growing valley at the foot of Mont Ventoux and is subject to temperatures of up to 35ºC in summer and as low as -14ºC in winter with the strong, drying, Mistral wind blowing regularly down the Rhône from the Alps.

A series of south-east-facing terraces descends to the area around the house where we have established a herb garden, grass garden and Mediterranean garden, plus a wild meadow area and a grove of olive trees.

The soil is clay, low in nutrients, with a pH of 8.7 and dries out completely in summer. The planted areas are covered in a home-made mulch of composted garden shreddings which in spring and autumn is often washed away during heavy rainstorms. There are no automatic watering systems for the planted areas; in summer water is applied by hand once a week or less frequently according to the needs of the plants and the weather conditions.

Overview of the garden from the terraces.
Terraces with spontaneous growth of Genista and Rosmarinus. Trees are
Tilia sylvestris, Albizia julibrissin
and Cupressus sempervirens

Mediterranean garden.
Salvia azurea, Verbena bonariensis, Cistus x pulverulentus,
Perovskia atriplicifolia, Rosa chinensis

Mediterranean garden.
Catananche caerulea
'Tizi n Test', Verbena bonariensis, Festuca glauca, Leymus arenarius

Grass garden in May.
Gaura lindheimeri
'Siskiyou Pink', Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus', Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal', Achillea 'Terracotta', Salvia nemorosa 'Mainacht', Salvia nemorosa 'Superba',
Stipa gigantea, Pennisetum incomptum

Grass garden in September.
Cotinus coggygria
'Royal Purple', Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis', Euphorbia characias subsp.
wulfenii, Miscanthus sinensis
'Gracillimus', Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'

Herb garden in March.
Pink flowering shrub is Chaenomeles japonica. Evergreen shrubs include Elaeagnus x ebbingei,
Photinia x fraseri
'Red Robin' and Arbutus unedo

Herb garden in May.
Salvia officinalis, Buxus rotundifolia, Helichrysum italicum, Origanum vulgare 'Aureum',
Satureja montana, Santolina chamaecyparissus, Borago officinalis, Artemisia dracunculus,
Rosmarinus officinalis
'Miss Jessop's Upright', Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus',
Thymus vulgaris
'Silver Posie', Origanum laevigatu
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