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An enthusiastic, self-taught gardener, Tara Lissner is passionate about gardening and eager to share her zeal and knowledge with other gardening fans.

In 2012, she joined forces with Hester Macdonald, a British-trained landscape designer, to launch the Swiss Gardening School.

(Photo by Jean-Luc Pasquier)

Swiss Gardening School

treepeony 2020

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

The garden continues to be the constant in our lives. The beds need weeding, the lawn needs mowing, the seedlings need thinning, the climbing roses need tying in, the garden always needs work. I’ve spent much of these last weeks in my garden, like you certainly, watching the weather for much needed rain, pulling the weeds as they grow like crazy as soon as my back is turned. I have managed to spend longer periods of time in the garden as I’ve not been distracted by the general running around and jumping in the car that is my life. I’ve had time to consider things and to plan.

I’ve managed to replant the many plants that spend sometimes years in temporary pots around my garden. Plants that don’t quite fit where I want them, plants that I plan to move on to somewhere else in the garden or plants that I don’t have time to place somewhere more permanently. I dig them up and put them into a pot with new soil and try to remember to water them. I am constantly tripping over these lost souls, I even have a nursery shelf of plants waiting to find their forever home. Happily today I can say that many of them are now tucked into new places, at long last – I can almost hear them sigh.

My raised vegetable beds, I have six, are being slowly taken over by my new found love of dahlias. Out with the tomatoes and in with the cut flowers. I love dahlias but they really do take up a huge amount of space. I mentioned to my husband that I’d really like another two large raised beds for vegetables but he hasn’t seemed keen on this construction project and quickly returned to the safe haven excuse of getting back to the office for a call – in the next room! I’m going to have to work something out. I have planted so many seeds; edamame beans, spinach, courgettes, pumpkins, broccoli, kale, spicy salad mixes and Italian salad mixes, and I know there will be tomato plants once I get out to my tomato guy. With so much growing its a good job that all our summer plans are on hold – I’ll be busy in the garden for the duration.

The raspberries and blackberries are covered in flowers and looking healthy and strong but I always have a big issue with weeds. I garden on a hill, which is not ideal, this makes weeding a very slow and difficult job – trying to not fall down the hill demands a lot of concentration. Last year I tried a weed suppressant trick – weeding the base of the plants, adding compost, covering the compost with cardboard, dampening the cardboard before covering it with wood chips.

This year I’ve done the same just minus the cardboard – for me the cardboard didn’t work very well as it eventually migrated to the bottom of the hill. However, if you garden on the flat (lucky you) it will work brilliantly. The weeds have to work very hard to get through the cardboard and they become very leggy and easy to pull resulting in less weeding which I love.

solo cherry blossom2

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

A few days ago, knowitall.ch published a very popular article from Tara "Gardening in these unusual times" and now she has compiled another one full of bright ideas.

Glorious blue sky days, warm sunshine, birds nesting and bees buzzing - an almost perfect spring to get busy in the garden. As all is not quite perfect we are all doing our best to make do and stay home. In light of this situation many of our usual gardening suppliers have worked tremendously hard to create on-line shops and hotlines for orders for home delivery or pick-up.

I thought I'd highlight some options here to give you a few more ideas in the garden this spring:

Schilliger - are now up and running with on-line sales for home delivery or pick-up from Gland. Go to the website and see their extensive list of plants, complete an order form, submit it by e-mail and wait for their call with payment and pick-up info.

La Noyère - with the workshops suspended and the little boutique temporarily closed the team at La Noyère continue to provide fresh flowers for pick-up near Mont-sur-Rolle. See the website for details.

Fleuriot - while all stores are currently closed Fleuriot can deliver orders of fresh flowers and house plants across the canton of Geneva. A wide range of arrangements are available to view on-line.

Orchidarium - although the greenhouses in Prangins are closed to the public a special sale of orchids will take place this week in time for Easter. Photos of the orchids will be posted on the FaceBook page on Thursday, pick-up will be on Saturday 11 April from 10:00-16:00. Further information about ordering, payment and pick-up will be available on Thursday on their FB page so please keep an eye on it for further details.

Desarzens - those of you familiar with the Jardins en Fête show in Coppet may remember Thomas Lehwark from Green Selection who along with his team provided beautiful annual plants over the years. In light of the current situation the parent company Desarzens has decided to open on-line sales to private individuals. The quality remains superb and new varieties of flowers and vegetables will be added as they become available. See the website for on-line orders, delivery is by priority mail.

spring blossom gland 03 20a

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

I recently posted a blog speaking of springtime openings of gardens and parks, lovely plant markets and fairs and all the jobs to get started with in the garden. Today our reality has changed. Most of these markets have been cancelled or postponed, the gardens remain closed and we must now learn to garden when all the garden centres are closed! I’ve put together a list of gardening related businesses who will deliver or allow you to pick-up. It is by no means an extensive list but a small start especially to support small, local business owners. I hope you find it useful.

Rémy Jaggi
Located in Trélex, this small producer has a large variety of herbs, salad plug plants, early bedding flowers and tons of perennials, fresh cut tulips are also available. Orders must be made in advance by phone 022 369 11 66 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. collection is only in the afternoons and only by appointment. There is no self service. 

Nature en scène
Located in Arnex-sur-Nyon (Borex), this small garden centre has a wide selection of salad and early vegetable plug plants, seeds, soil and early bedding flowers, fresh cut tulips are also available. Orders must be made in advance by phone 022 367 12 34 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Pick up on Thursday or Friday only. There is no self service. A seed order form and a plant plug form are attached below for ease of ordering.

Jardins Belle Vue
Located in Borex, this small producer will delivery early bedding plants among other things. Orders must be made by phone 022 367 12 39.

Maréchal Jardiland
Located between Chavannes des Bois and Versoix this small garden centre will take your order by phone 022 779 03 58 for pick up.


By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

November brings damp and short days with still lots to do in the garden.

So many colours underfoot while out walking in the woods, a tapestry of tree life, wet and soggy from the downpours and the air fragrant with the scent of damp and decaying leaves - autumn has truly arrived.
My garden is so wet that I'm discouraged from doing too much at the moment, the fact that there has been so much rain does not encourage me and when the dog goes to the door, has a little sniff and turns back into the house I know its not good. But as my list of jobs is increasing by the day, out I go! Read more from the blog here

What's on
This is the season of Sunday openings and special events along with pretty seasonal markets, here are some you may find interesting.

Vernissage de l'Avent, Rémy Jaggi, route de Grens 1, Trélex, Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 November, 16:00-21:00
One of the most beautiful holiday displays will take place this weekend at this innovative florist and nursery in Trélex.
Rémy Jaggi

Château des Bois, Marché de Noël, Chemin de la Combe d'Onex 10, Satigny, Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 November
A magical market filled with seasonal joy.
Château des Bois

Green Christmas Eco Marché, Centre sportif de Founex, route de la Chataigneraie, Thursday 21 & Friday 22 November, 10:00-19:00
The fourth edition of this green market brings together a group of small entrepreneurs with their eye on sustainability. My swiss garden will be present with winter containers filled with seasonal plants and spring bulbs.


by Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

Welcome back to the garden. The long hot summer is coming gently to a close and we are all getting ready for the next season. The gardening blog has been updated and you can read more from it via this link my swiss garden blog.

What's on

Green Harvest Autumn Market, Founex Tennis Club, 26-28 September

Thursday 26 15:00-21:00, Friday 27 09:00-17:00, Saturday 28 09:00-12:00
This is the third green market founded by local resident Sophie Bayliss who brings together small companies trying to find sustainable alternatives in our everyday lives. My swiss garden will be there with recycled pots and containers filled with herbs and bulbs for the autumn, as well as beautiful seeds from Grace Alexander Flowers, drop by to say hello!
Green Harvest Autumn Market

Marché aux plantes, Arboretum, Sunday 29 September, 10:00-17:30
If you haven't already visited this is the perfect opportunity to spend some time at the beautiful Arboretum above Allaman. This small plant fair is in its fourth year and attracts a number of well-known local growers, this is the perfect time to be thinking about adding perennials, shrubs and roses to the garden. Activities for kids are organized, yummy snacks. lunch and drinks are available for purchase.