According to the ‘code forestier’ and ‘arrêté prefectoral’ of 18/13/2004, if you are the owner of land which is less than 200 metres from woodland, brush land or moors, it is your legal responsibility to limit fire risk by clearing and cutting back all undergrowth within 50 metres of your property.

May is the time when results really begin to show. The pleasure of being in a well-stocked, colourful and fragrant garden is really apparent, and if the weather is warm enough even swimming may be possible for those of us who are hardy enough, although the water will still be about 20 deg.C.

April is the month when things in the garden really begin to grow. In February and March there seemed to be plenty of time: in April as the ground warms up, the garden comes along in a rush. So it is time to catch up with your jobs.

These are in fact caterpillar nests, constructed by the pine processionary caterpillar (chenille processionnaire) larva, who live in large ‘tents’ and march out at night in single file (hence the name) to feed on the pine needles.

Am I an organic gardener? An honest answer is “partly”. I believe in trying to do without chemical aids in the garden and have turned to using natural fertilisers and compost and to employing organic gardening techniques for controlling pests where possible. However, I also use chemical methods where necessary.

The P-O is on red alert for pollen allergy. According to the RNSA (National Aerobiological Surveillance Network), responsible for the analysis of the content of the air, cypress pollen is at a particularly high level in our region as well as the Hérault, Aude, Lozère, Aveyron and Tarn.

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