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taralissner

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
www.swissgardeningschool.com

leaves

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.

apples

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.
Arboretum

forsythia

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

From raging snow storms to sunny afternoons in short sleeves the month of March never ceases to surprise. We feel we are just coming out of the cold of winter with length in the day and sunshine on our faces only to be hit with high winds, cold temperatures and snow. At least we know that the garden is prepared and ready for these crazy meteorological outbursts, even the seemingly delicate spring bulbs manage to withstand the wild weather.

For me March signifies the turning point, the new start, the wake up call. The sun is higher in the sky giving my neglected beds the warmth and light they need to come back to life. This of course is also a wake up call for me to get moving. Now is the time to clear these damp and cold beds of the debris from last year, all the frost kissed seed heads that looked so lovely a few months ago are now a soggy mess impeding the progress of my narcissus. I have a busy few weeks ahead of me. I’d just like the snow to stop and for the rain to only fall during the darkest hours of the day.

The vibrance of yellow always takes my breath away in March. The delicate shades of the first primula followed by the pretty narcissus and the billowing branches of the forsythia heralding the end of winter – such joy.

grapes 2018b

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

Harvest is a time of new beginnings, as the long hot summer draws to a close, the hum of traffic increases as schools return to their academic routines and the garden gives its final push of colour and splendor before the weather changes and autumn is really upon us. We have had the most spectacular summer season. The Swiss federal office of meteorology has declared 2018 the third hottest summer since records began in 1864; only 2003 and 2015 were warmer. Rainfall this year has also been record breaking, noticable by its absence, between 20-30% below average. These extreme weather conditions affect the home gardener making planting decisions more and more critical. Right plant right place the byword of Beth Chatto, the well-known British plantswoman, is now more important than ever.

How have you coped with these tricky conditions this summer? My lawn is once again dry and yellow with the soil beneath parched and dusty. I thought the pots on my terrace were large enough to cope with dry conditions but they have proven to not be big enough, note to self even larger pots for next year. Leaves are turning and falling from the trees at a surprising rate much earlier than I’m used to. The fruit on my trees are already mature which caught me a little off guard. Always adapting to changing conditions, there is never a dull moment.

On a more positive note, the roses have been truly magnificent, repeat blooming varieties giving their all for the entire summer – I don’t know how a garden can be complete without a rose. Returning from a trip a few years ago to find courgettes the size of a small dog, I refrained from planting them this year however we have enjoyed weeks of delicious fragrant cherry tomatoes with basil and more green beans than I know what to do with. My direct vegetable seed sowing efforts were less successful. I think the super hot conditions combined with sporadic watering just sunk them. Next year I’ll give in and spend time filling fiddly seed trays with compost and transplant out seedlings when they are robust enough to survive. Something I have not missed this year is slugs. For once the heat seems to have significantly impacted their numbers, let’s hope this means going into autumn there will be even fewer of these pests around to damage our plants. The box wood caterpillar however is never far off and I’ve ended up spraying against this pest already twice this summer. I keep a keen eye out for small white moths, I occasionally spray a jet of water from the hose through the small hedges to see if there are any to disturb. If I find some flying away I next take a closer look for caterpillars and their webbed cocoons. As I’ve mentioned before the best product on the market at the moment is Delfin by Andermatt Biogarten. This product is a drench which must be sprayed onto the shrubs in two parts, two to three weeks apart. Please think carefully before you plant box, while adding structure and form to the garden it now also brings significant maintenance.

tara april 2018

By Tara Lissner, Swiss Gardening School

Wow! What a few weeks it has been. Gloriously warm temperatures, big blue skies, t-shirts and sun hats, winter a lifetime away – spring has really arrived, even though it feels like it could be summer. In Switzerland it this year it has been the warmest April for years and years, lucky us no? Or, perhaps not.

I’ve been having an amusing conversation with an Australian friend at the moment, I recently lamented that last weekend was just too hot for gardening (for me that is) and she just laughed and laughed, heat, she suggested, is what it feels like in the Australian desert! It is what we are used to I suppose but for me gardening a few weeks after Easter in 25c is just a little dramatic. I’d much rather a gentle increase in temperatures and enough time for me to acclimatize to the change in the weather. If nothing else this dramatic jump in “heat” leads me to think about the plants. There is a great gardening rule which is “right plant, right place” which means that every plant is a great plant so long as it is placed in its ideal spot, shade for shade loving, sunny for sun loving etc. Baking on my south-facing terrace this week has led me to think that I will give up on the lovely arrangement of cute little pots I’ve had there for the winter and only keep a few of the big ones. I promise to only plant heat tolerant, sun-loving beauties and shall retire the delicate plants and pretty small pots to the shed (sorry, cave) for the summer.