Jardins de Suisse

Gruyeres1_MG_6422How well are fruit trees taken care of in Switzerland?
I took advantage of a week in the canton of Fribourg and around Vevey on Lake Geneva to have a look. Here are a few captioned pictures taken during my trip.



My first contact with the Swiss countryside around Fribourg. City and countryside are very close. Photo 11 April.


A few hundred yards down the farmhouse pictured above, close to the Sarine river. Those private gardens behind a block of terraced houses used to be cultivated for food. Now they are mainly ornamental.


A few days later, close to Lake Geneva. An abandoned orchard in a private garden, something I seldom witnessed here. Photo 16 April.


A dream-like garden just above Vevey.  Vegetables and fruit trees on this side of the house…


… More fruit trees, an espalier on the wall, soft fruit bushes and a vineyard on the other side…


… So neat! …


… This garden proved to be the nicest I came across during my stay.


In fact, many private gardens have fruit trees that are very well taken care of, including smaller gardens in less wealthy properties like this one.


In contrast, the fruit trees surrounding the farms were sometimes old and not well taken care of, as if the farmers had been concentrating on cattle breeding and milk or cheese making to the expense of the rest of their once broader farming activities. Photo 19 April.


Yet the Swiss postcard is never far away.  Here black sheep and a fruit tree at the back of the field, near Gruyères…


… On my right hand side when taking the above photo.


Gruyères in the background, recently planted fruit trees in a private garden in the foreground.


This is another private garden near Gruyères, in a recent property development. Are the Swiss ahead of Western European countries like France and the UK regarding home production of healthy food to complement their diet? …


… Older trees just next door.


Back to the city on Lake Geneva: a temporary community garden with three cherry trees. I talked to the local resident in the background, who happened to be an Orthodox Christian Syrian national living and working in the area for 23 years. His wife and two children like to cultivate the  five square meters of land they were lent by the council…


… Their two children with watering cans. Unfortunately the cherries get infested with cherry fly larvae.


Vevey’s council has a tree management policy. Private garden owners must request authorization to cut trees above 25 cm in diameter and propose replacement. Screenshot 19 April, vevey.ch website. There is also a plan for preserving / replanting fruit trees above 3 meters in height, and a zero pesticide target policy is being applied in public spaces.


Overall, what impressed me most during this far from systematic investigation in Switzerland is the beauty of some private gardens and the amount of fruit trees planted  in some recently developed properties.



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