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Old 13.01.2016, 12:58
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For the gardeners

This isn't a complaint, but more an observation and I'm curious about the experiences of other EF'ers


I love my little garden. But living 1000m above sea level with 2m of snow in winter is a very new thing to me and my green thumbs are more often brown - despite all my research I've killed off too many newly purchased plants that are supposed to be tolerant.


So I've walked about my neighbourhood, admired other gardens, and figured that if I concentrated on growing from local clippings and graftings, that I'd have a better chance of securing robust plant stock.


I have made a particularly good friend of one of my Swiss neighbours, but when I asked if I could take a clipping of one of her ivy plants, she baulked. Luckily we can speak freely, and she explained that this practice wasn't done here but she'd be happy to give me the plant name so I could go and buy my own.


I'm confused. In other countries I've lived in, fellow gardeners see it as the highest compliment for a stranger to beg a clipping from their glorious plants. I explained this concept to my Swissy friend, but she still baulked. Sweetly, she went and bought the plant from the garden centre as a gift for me instead!


Any thoughts?
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Old 13.01.2016, 13:10
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Re: For the gardeners

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I have made a particularly good friend of one of my Swiss neighbours, but when I asked if I could take a clipping of one of her ivy plants, she baulked. Luckily we can speak freely, and she explained that this practice wasn't done here but she'd be happy to give me the plant name so I could go and buy my own.

I honestly think gardening knowledge is lacking here compared with other countries.
People are astonished when you do your own gardening as it's often seen as something that you have to pay someone to do for you.

Perhaps your neighbour thought that you would kill her Ivy by taking a cutting?

And the practice of taking cuttings etc is done here - at least by people on this forum.
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Old 13.01.2016, 13:23
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Re: For the gardeners

Interesting point. In the summer we have professional garden centre trucks continually up and down the mountain - I always assumed because of major re-landscaping, but will take a closer look at what they're actually here for next time; maybe people get professional maintenance help just as you say, rather than being green thumb potterers themselves.


We don't have any other foreigners in this mountain village, so I only have Swiss to request this favour of. And with the reaction of my lovely neighbour I must admit I haven't ventured further with my request as I don't want to risk offence.


Posting this query because I just don't know if this is a Swiss or regional thing, or actually more common across all countries/cultures (and I've just never experienced it before)
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Old 13.01.2016, 13:23
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Re: For the gardeners

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And the practice of taking cuttings etc is done here - at least by people on this forum.
It's certainly done around here. I regularly swap cuttings with my neighbours and a man I didn't recognise once asked me about a one if the bushes in my mixed hedge as he was walking past with his dog one day. I told him what it was and asked if he would like a cutting and he was delighted. He loves to tell me of it's progress as he walks by with his dog.

I do think that you're right about the lack of knowledge to a certain extent. A lot of people have no idea about gardening and are afraid of damaging their plants.
Our next door neighbours always lived in an apartment until the bought the house here so they had no idea about gardening at all. They relied on the gardeners to advise them when the house was first built but are getting much more adventurous now and welcome advice from the neighbours ( often asking about things they're not sure on).
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Old 13.01.2016, 13:50
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Re: For the gardeners

Hmmmm. So maybe its an issue specific to my neighbour then. I will wait till the weather warms, then sidle up to some of our other neighbours with particularly spectacular gardens.......hurry up the spring (she says with white stuff falling from the sky with no a jot of green to be seen)
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:08
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Re: For the gardeners

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... white stuff falling from the sky with no a jot of green to be seen
Fiiiiinally!!!
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:09
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Re: For the gardeners

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Hmmmm. So maybe its an issue specific to my neighbour then. I will wait till the weather warms, then sidle up to some of our other neighbours with particularly spectacular gardens.......hurry up the spring (she says with white stuff falling from the sky with no a jot of green to be seen)
Or more the fact that you're on this side of the country. There appears to be a different attitude in the French-speaking part.
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:17
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Re: For the gardeners

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I have made a particularly good friend of one of my Swiss neighbours, but when I asked if I could take a clipping of one of her ivy plants, she baulked. Luckily we can speak freely, and she explained that this practice wasn't done here but she'd be happy to give me the plant name so I could go and buy my own.
Bollox.

Generally we find that most gardens are quite "suburbanly sterile" to put it mildly. In our case we've gone for the English cottage garden and people regularly comment on it to us (positively) as they walk past. We have an elderly Swiss lady who lives in the village who is always inviting us round to take cuttings and entire plants/bulbs, you name it. She loves gardens and now that she can't spend so much time on hers is very happy to share what she has with someone else who shares her interest in gardening.
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:19
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Re: For the gardeners

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Fiiiiinally!!!


Yep, 3 days of heavy snow. Just watched a ski-doo zoom past with the ski run inspectors checking out whether they're ready to groom and open the piste.


Keep your fingers and toes crossed ski bunnies.


(hopefully my rhubarb recovers - it thought spring had sprung and spouted up to 40cm high before this batch of snow hit)
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:24
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Re: For the gardeners

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I have made a particularly good friend of one of my Swiss neighbours, but when I asked if I could take a clipping of one of her ivy plants, she baulked. Luckily we can speak freely, and she explained that this practice wasn't done here but she'd be happy to give me the plant name so I could go and buy my own.
I don't think this typical. I see gardeners exchanging seed and cuttings all the time.

Maybe she didn't want to cut any bits off as it wasn't an opportune time? I have noticed some Swiss gardeners are pretty picky about this. If it's not pruning time (according to some obscure gardening almanac) they won't consider cutting off one leaf as it may seriously damage the rest of the plant. Come back when she's pruning and you can probably have as many cuttings as you can carry.

Actually my OH is a bit like that. She has a calendar that tells her down to a great level of detail when it is time to do what in the garden and she sticks to it religiously. In the beginning I used to try arguing scientifically but I've found it easier to accept and go along with that calendar. And every year getting a new calendar is a huge adventure as she won't take any other calendar complied by anybody else, it has to be that one, and there's only one shop we know of that has it.
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:32
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Re: For the gardeners

Ha! My OH wanted me to build a spreadsheet and a map showing the location of every plant, flowering, harvesting and pruning seasons, likely root spread, required fertilisation, etc


Just because he uses a spreadsheet & project plan to cook the Christmas feast (2pm - can I have a kiss dear; no, not until 2.07 when I have 2 minutes available between the stuffing and the spud peeling!)....does not mean I will get scientific with my garden!
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Old 13.01.2016, 14:34
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Re: For the gardeners

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Maybe she didn't want to cut any bits off as it wasn't an opportune time? I have noticed some Swiss gardeners are pretty picky about this. If it's not pruning time (according to some obscure gardening almanac) they won't consider cutting off one leaf as it may seriously damage the rest of the plant. Come back when she's pruning and you can probably have as many cuttings as you can carry.
So the clueless part still applies.

It's ivy. It can be pruned when you want and almost how you want.
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Old 13.01.2016, 15:00
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Re: For the gardeners

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So the clueless part still applies.

It's ivy. It can be pruned when you want and almost how you want.
Ivy is virtually indestructible. You can chop it of as much as you want, whenever you want and it will just keep on coming back.
Nobody who had even a tiny bit of gardening know how would be in the slightest bit concerned about cutting a bit of ivy off.
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Old 13.01.2016, 15:22
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Re: For the gardeners

In my village, the gardeners* are generally the exception to the 'do not approach uninvited' rule. Most gardeners* here are happy to share advice, lore, and yes, cuttings. There is a cuttings protocol, however - always offer something of yours in return, even if for later in the season.

I do think that there is a growing lack of knowledge among folks who have gardens, though, and I would put the lady's refusal first down to that. It could be the 'neither a borrower nor a lender be' aspect of Swiss German culture, but I am more inclined to the former.

Few of my neighbors are gardeners, relying on professionals to do everything, including cutting a few daisies to stick into a vase. Thus you see the same gardens everywhere, three spirea and artistic rocks. Many now simply do not know what a cutting is.

The local garden club grows smaller and smaller each year, to the point where the few of us who actually get dirt under our fingernails are gossiped about, apparently we are lowering the tone of the neighborhood. Such is the sad progression when a farming village starts to turn into a wannabe schicky-micky Zurich suburb.

But do not dismay, gardening is not yet a lost art in the Swiss suburbs. My formula for measuring the friendliness of a gardener is simple: look for dwarves. When you see one peeking out from under a bush, even in an otherwise glossy magazine sophisticated style, you know it's an old style Schwyzer gardener and you know she or he would love nothing better than a chat about all things green.

By the way, assuming this unseasonal weather has not killed everything off, come spring I'll be begging folks to take some of my strawberry and Waldbeeren starts...

Happy gardening!


* Geraniumpolizei is not necessarily synonymous with gardener.
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Old 13.01.2016, 15:25
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Re: For the gardeners

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Ivy is virtually indestructible. You can chop it of as much as you want, whenever you want and it will just keep on coming back.
Nobody who had even a tiny bit of gardening know how would be in the slightest bit concerned about cutting a bit of ivy off.
for common ivy yes, but the way the Op described it it sounded like some strand of a rare and delicate variety.
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Old 13.01.2016, 15:28
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Re: For the gardeners

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Ha! My OH wanted me to build a spreadsheet and a map showing the location of every plant, flowering, harvesting and pruning seasons, likely root spread, required fertilisation, etc


Just because he uses a spreadsheet & project plan to cook the Christmas feast (2pm - can I have a kiss dear; no, not until 2.07 when I have 2 minutes available between the stuffing and the spud peeling!)....does not mean I will get scientific with my garden!
Wait a minute... Canton Schwyz, obsessive-compulsive spreadsheet disorder - are we married to the same person?

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Old 13.01.2016, 16:03
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Re: For the gardeners

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This isn't a complaint, but more an observation and I'm curious about the experiences of other EF'ers


I love my little garden. But living 1000m above sea level with 2m of snow in winter is a very new thing to me and my green thumbs are more often brown - despite all my research I've killed off too many newly purchased plants that are supposed to be tolerant.


So I've walked about my neighbourhood, admired other gardens, and figured that if I concentrated on growing from local clippings and graftings, that I'd have a better chance of securing robust plant stock.


I have made a particularly good friend of one of my Swiss neighbours, but when I asked if I could take a clipping of one of her ivy plants, she baulked. Luckily we can speak freely, and she explained that this practice wasn't done here but she'd be happy to give me the plant name so I could go and buy my own.


I'm confused. In other countries I've lived in, fellow gardeners see it as the highest compliment for a stranger to beg a clipping from their glorious plants. I explained this concept to my Swissy friend, but she still baulked. Sweetly, she went and bought the plant from the garden centre as a gift for me instead!


Any thoughts?
Bizarre- not at all what I am used to here. We are always taking cuttings of each other and swapping plants- and I've given tons of them in the past whenever I divide stuff. Not at all a Swiss reaction to baulk at the idea of a cutting!

I also have a garden in the mountains, at 950m with lots of snow and very cold temps in winter (well- not yet this winter- but we finally have a couple of inches). I think the key, as always is to accept and adapt- and grow what is happy to grow here. 80% of my perenials come from our garden at about 220m in the Midlands and have adapted well- but I've given or sold things that will just not be happy here. Our UK Austin roses have adapted by having much smaller flowers, but just as beautiful here. Peonies are so happy here, tree peonies too, veronicas, wild geraniums (cranesbill about 6 different ones), day lilies, many different irises including the small siberica, tall daisies in several colours, and so much more. One old school friend and his GF came to pick up about 40 clumps of plants in the autumn for their new garden - and my garden have so many of my friends represented in there- some who have now departed this earth- and it's lovey to have a reminder, from all over the place.

I love having real, marked seasons- gardening is a big hobby of mine- from April to end October- then we all have a good rest. Great.

BTW there is a perenial plant society in Switzerland, both on German and French side- and a big plant swap or purchase takes place every year in late Spring and September- will give you the dates as and when I get them.
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Old 13.01.2016, 16:07
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Re: For the gardeners

This attitude also surprised me, so am not surprised that you are surprised

There is this prevailing attitude - and everyone flocks to the plant nurseries to buy their seedlings. I`ve overcome neighbors by offering them plants, and if I admire something of theirs, they seem reserved in offering. They seem very shy of offering, and then overwhelmed if one accepts. (if they actually offer)

Perhaps general gardening is a foreign concept to them? Most gardens used to be just huge vegetable gardens - no time for frills and fancies? So decorative plants are something one buys? Maybe "second-hand" plants are likened to "second hand" clothes?

I had to train my in-laws here about swopping plants. Now they save seeds for me, I do the same for them - and even sometimes we swop seedlings/cuttings. Something new to them, I can see.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:24
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Re: For the gardeners

Reminds me that when it warms up a bit I want to take a few cuttings of some bushes along the road.
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Old 13.01.2016, 18:28
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Re: For the gardeners

Well I`ve got half a garden full of plants that I don`t want, given me by neighbours who obviously treasured the mother plants so much that I would feel churlish to refuse. One is a nasty pink Hosta now flourishing between the Rhubarb and the Artichokes. The ex-owner remarks how well it is doing.
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