IDENTIFYING HORNETS
ASIATIC HORNET CRISIS. No region will be spared even north of the Loire and this is getting worse every year. Their progress now reached Belgium and the Netherlands. 
By studying the life cycle of this hornet, we realize that we can act very effectively and individually against the scourge. Indeed, nests built in the year are emptied of their inhabitants in winter because all the workers and males do not survive the winter and die. Only queens and young queens hibernate, in hollow trees, under piles of leaves, holes in walls etc.
They do not come out before February and resume feeding, it is at this moment that we can act, by having in our gardens traps to catch these future founders of nests. 1 Queen = 2 000 to 3 000 individuals.
To make traps, simply collect plastic bottles of mineral water, then drill three holes on the bottle, and fill within 10 centimeters of a mixture of 1/3 of dark beer, 1/3 white wine (to repel bees) and 1/3 of blackcurrant syrup. Just leave these traps in place from mid-February to late April. You can of course extend the operation until the arrival of cold weather.
Change the mixture occasionally and ensure wasps are dead. Thank you for reading and making your traps! 

This is the kind of 'before and after' story that is hard to imagine can be effected in one summer. The last of the vegetable group meetings was able to witness at first hand what was achieved by Meryl and Bob.

To read more about the method they used so successfully click the link below :

Although most pine processionary moths (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) only live one year, some in high altitudes or more northern areas may survive for over two years. The adult moths lay their eggs near the tops of pine trees. After hatching, the larvae eat pine needles while progressing through five stages of development. Initially silken nests are built over the winter, then around the beginning of April, the caterpillars leave the nests in the procession for which the species is known. They burrow underground and emerge at the end of summer. High numbers of adults are produced in years with a warm spring.

Also known as MANDEVILLA, a lovely gift so often given at this time of the year, they can go on flowering all summer but they must be kept warm in winter. Prone to indoor pests such as scale, spider mite etc. they survive better in the warmth of a heated greenhouse or cool conservatory. Water sparingly in winter and prune when dormant. Do not bring out too early as they need warmth to shoot well. Either shrubby or with climbing stems, they are easy to grow. Mild feed every two weeks in summer will ensure more flowers than leaves. Do not pot on too quickly, also ensures better flowering time.



Click on the page above to read an article on all the flowers that are edible in our gardens, and some surprising ones too.

SALVIAS... determined to beat the heat.

So rewarding and especially the Mexican salvias that include S. greggii, S. microphylla and the S.jamensis. These have a neat shrubby habit and they thrive in any garden here in France. All summer long, only needing a little tidying up, they are a burst of colour.

'Hot lips' is sold in most nurseries and has the habit of changing its colour from white and red to all white when really hot, back to pure red late in the year.

Look out for the yellow, purple and pale lilac varieties also sold locally and that add a touch of Bollywood to your garden.