Friday, October 16, 2009
Visit to Pépinière Filippi
My visit to the Olivier Filippi plant nursery was definitely an inspiration. At first I thought the place seemed smaller than I had expected but of course Filippi only sells small specimen plants in little pots but in an extraordinary range and variety. No serried ranks of identical pine trees in big pots as we always find in an Italian vivaio, even though the establishment is called a pépinière. The Filippi family's own garden is open for visitors and this is a magical maze of gravel paths between seemingly random (but actually carefully planned) plants which are never watered. the garden runs down to the edge of the sun sparkling étang where rows of oyster fishers nets are out across the water. The shrubby plants in this garden have all been trimmed ready for the winter and the effect of the contrasting tidy mounds of vegetation is very pleasing. There is also a 'show' garden where different varieties of plants are arranged and carefully labelled to demonstrate what is available and how they all grow. Everywhere the gravel is deep and large - no nasty small crunchy 'home counties' style gravel but big smooth river washed stones that are kind to the feet. Seedling of plants are encouraged and whilst the gravel keeps weeds down the seedlings often take in interesting and unimagined places. Now I am about to order a vast number of plants for my own garden - I hope that I can live up to this standard!