Jump to content

Monty Don's French Gardens


Gardian
 Share

Recommended Posts

I suspect that many of you will have seen Friday evening's programme - we recorded it and have just watched it.

The first ten minutes or so majored on a monastery 'in the Cevennes'. Well, the moral of the story is never believe what you see on the TV.

First of all, it isn't the Cevennes - the monastery is no more than 10kms from us in the Gard (60 kms from the start of the Cevennes). The site is amazing: the Order embarked on a major development project some five years ago. An enormous vinification plant was built on the side of the premises (visible in some of the footage) in order to develop the wine side of their business. At the same time, a significant part of the property was rebuilt in order to offer 'retreat' accommodation: no expense was spared in doing this - there were carpenters working on the job for months building oak buttresses etc + stonemasons constructing archways. I'd conservatively estimate the cost at €2m - and that's probably undercalling it.

Its actually a Greek Catholic order and there are a number of monks in residence as well, but they keep a pretty low profile.

Don't get me wrong - the nuns are charming and very devout. I've frequently visited the monastery to buy their jam (they even 'bless' me), but stopped a while back because it just got too pricey. Oh and BTW, you can turn up at more or less any time, because there's a very large shop there with all their products for sale.

GG - you'll have seen Sister Ambrosia in your town flogging her wine & jam on Saturdays.  She was the nun who opened the creaking door in the 1st scene.

  

    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 161
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I enjoyed looking at the gardens and the French countryside, just couldn't stand Monty Don.

His French accent is execrable and he doesn't half spout a lot of nonsense about the "French way of life", far worse than the most rose-tinted spectacles wearer on here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a shame; I've watched the first 2 programmes so far and enjoyed them.  [:$]

Obviously you've never heard my French accent! [:-))]

I liked the filming; rose-tinted? I thought it conveyed that warm, relaxed feeling, that we get in our garden (parc [blink]) in summer, and I could do with a bit of sunshine right now.

A chacun son goût.  (pronounced with a Manchester accent).  [:)]

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="sweet 17"]

I enjoyed looking at the gardens and the French countryside, just couldn't stand Monty Don.

His French accent is execrable and he doesn't half spout a lot of nonsense about the "French way of life", far worse than the most rose-tinted spectacles wearer on here.

[/quote]

 

No worse than Rick Stein's spanish accent, and I find his programmes enjoyable too.

Far better to have such people speaking the local language than english with voice-overs drowned out by incessant muzac. Makes me think I'm in a lift.

Anyway, I bet plenty on here have execrable english accents[:-))]

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I normally can't stand Monty Don but the lovely gardens won me over.

I do have a couple of matters arising though.

Firstly did anyone notice that the asparagus fields at Carsac-Aillac were huge and might be difficult to harvest by hand, especially when most of them round and about are done by machine.

Secondly, a gardener who he hadn't met before referred to him as 'toi'. I was surprised; should I have been ?

Hoddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hoddy, I haven't met anyone who calls me "tu" on first meeting but, when I joined a walking group, they said it was fine to use "tu" as we were all doing the same activity together.

So, I guess, as they are both gardeners, it was OK to use "tu" and "toi"?

Of course, when I read French books, they mostly all seem to use these terms but then, I don't read many French books, and in detective stories (I've been reading Fred Vargas), I think police use "tu" and "toi" to put the suspects in their place [:)]

Edit:  PS  Gardens of Heligan on tonight; beautiful photography

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Hoddy"]Firstly did anyone notice that the asparagus fields at Carsac-Aillac were huge and might be difficult to harvest by hand, especially when most of them round and about are done by machine. [/quote]

Interesting.

Here in the Gard, which I believe is the biggest departement for asparagus, we see no machine harvesting at all. Whatever, only 4 wks or so to go before the first crops on the market!!

Good programmes though - even Mrs G, who was never a fan of MD, likes him now. Personally, I think that he's absolutely fine: professional, knowledgable, likeable.   

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Hoddy"]Firstly did anyone notice that the asparagus fields at Carsac-Aillac were huge and might be difficult to harvest by hand, especially when most of them round and about are done by machine. [/quote]

Interesting.

Here in the Gard, which I believe is the biggest departement for asparagus, we see no machine harvesting at all. Whatever, only 4 wks or so to go before the first crops on the market!!

Good programmes though - even Mrs G, who was never a fan of MD, likes him now. Personally, I think that he's absolutely fine: professional, knowledgable, likeable.   

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the aspargus was being grown in former tobacco fields? I'd have to watch it again to refresh my memory. However, the samples of asparagus that MD cut by hand were in rows with quite visible tyre tracks I think.

I recognised the cutting tool he used as I have one that I found in our barn; all this time I thought it was some kind of mason's gouge as it has no handle and looks as though it's been used for something other than gardening.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how long asparagus has been grown in the Dordogne so no idea if there is a tradition, but I do know that some are growing asparagus where they used to grow tobacco.

It's off the subject rather, but the withdrawal of the subsidy for tobacco has had a strange effect. As well as the problems for the farmers it has caused a lot of redundancies in the local tobacco factory. This wouldn't be so bad if France was not now having to import tobacco from China because it doesn't grow enough of its own.

Hoddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I'd read somewhere that, once land has been given over to tobacco growing, it's no good for anything else as the tobacco uses up the nutrients in the soil.

Anyone know anything about this or is my memory yet again letting me down?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am now able to answer my own question since some strenuous armchair research on the internet[:)]

Tobacco apparently, more than any other major crop, uses up phophorus, nitrogen and potassium from the soil.  Therefore fertilisers have to be used in vast quantities, I suppose to the detriment of the health of those working in tobacco plantations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="sweet 17"]

  Therefore fertilisers have to be used in vast quantities, I suppose to the detriment of the health of those working in tobacco plantations.

[/quote]

Not sure why you would suppose that fertiliser is injurous to people working with the plants, but unless very dusty and breathed in there is no special danger to people.  I cannot say the same for the soil, where prolonged use of artificial fertiliser does contribute to breakdown of the soil structure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy, I have copied the paragraph below from the Wikipedia entry for tobacco growing:

Environment

Tobacco production requires the use of a large amount of pesticides. Tobacco companies recommend up to 16 separate applications of pesticides just in the period between planting the seeds in greenhouses and transplanting the young plants to the field.[20] Pesticide use has been worsened by the desire to produce bigger crops in less time because of the decreasing market value of tobacco. Pesticides often harm tobacco farmers because they are unaware of the health effects and the proper safety protocol for working with pesticides. These pesticides as well as fertilizers, end up in the soil, the waterway and the food chain.[21] Coupled with child labor, pesticides pose an even greater threat. Early exposure to pesticides may increase a child's life long cancer risk as well as harm his or her nervous and immune systems.[22]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, Andy.  Don't know why I mixed the 2 up as one goes in the ground and the other on the plants [:$]

Can only blame it on being rushed all day, being interrupted by phone calls and neighbours (wanting help with filling in their census forms of all things).

Still, doesn't take that much to confuse me these days.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really been enjoying this series, just love the ambiance of it.  Very relaxing watch.  We visited Vilandry last year and it was beautiful and the Chateau is well worth a visit, very refreshing. 

Looking forward to the next instalment tonight.

Suey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

{template="widgetContainer" group="global" app="core" params="'footer', 'horizontal'"https://www.frenchentree.com/}

×
×
  • Create New...