The Grumpy Gardener – Bordeaux Eco-Renewal




The Grumpy Gardener – January

Hints & Tips With Mike Alexander
In his regular column for French News Online, professional gardener Mike Alexander visits a rejuvenated Bois du Bouscat near Bordeaux and is agreeably surprised by the ecological approach taken by the local authorities.

BOIS DU BOUSCAT, Bordeaux where artists have created recycled park benches. (Credit: Mike Alexander)

BOIS DU BOUSCAT, Bordeaux where artists have created recycled park benches. (Credit: Mike Alexander)

I am really impressed with the number and quality of parks within easy walking distance of my Bordeaux home. One that has particularly impressed me is the new Bois du Bouscat just a few kilometers out of the city center. This small forest borders on the Hippodrome race track but is otherwise surrounded by high density housing. Up until a few years ago it was just a patch of unmanaged woodland and ideal for fly tipping.

The Mairie de Bouscat took an unusual and proactive approach in the rejuvenation and management of this small, neglected forest. Working with local volunteers and artists the local authority took the decision to keep the area as woodland and to manage it on an ecological basis.

The Mairie cleared paths, built a small pond and sculptures, and installed play areas and benches.

BOIS DU BOUSCAT. Bordeaux Artists created this recycled squirrel  (Credit: Mike Alexander)

BOIS DU BOUSCAT. Bordeaux Artists created this recycled squirrel (Credit: Mike Alexander)

A great deal of recycling of materials from the forest itself takes place. Old branches are layered to make fencing whilst sculptors and artists have turned larger logs into seating and play areas. Even rubbish and recycling bins are made from reclaimed materials. Along with the pond and a small wetland area there is also an ecologically sound composting toilet.

Last year a honey of a scheme was introduced allowing interested residents to apply for a bee hive and training in bee management by a professional apiculteur. These hives are placed in the forest where the volunteer bee keepers maintain them and share in the honey that is produced.

There is now more and more scientific evidence that green spaces do more for cities than simply providing places of recreation and relaxation. There is a trend worldwide toward mass urbanization and our cities are heating up faster than elsewhere. Buildings and roads tend to act as giant storage heaters, absorbing radiated heat during hot daylight hours and releasing it as it becomes cooler. Plant surfaces on the other hand do not rise more than a few degrees above ambient temperature. Evaporation can reduce heat during peak temperatures by as much as 5°c and shaded surfaces can be between 11 and 25°c cooler than those without shade.

BOIS DU BOUSCAT in  Bordeaux refurbished with recycled bridges (Credit: Mike Alexander)

BOIS DU BOUSCAT in Bordeaux refurbished with recycled bridges (Credit: Mike Alexander)

It is estimated that between eight and ten people die in US cities per day for every degree of increase above the normal threshold temperature. That death rate is expected to rise by 50% by 2050 when city temperatures are predicted to be 1.5 to 3°c higher than today.

A hectare of forest or parkland can cool the surrounding environment for up to 50 to 100 meters beyond its boundaries as well as providing better air through photosynthesis, to say nothing about the increase in habitat for many wild creatures.

Scientists and town planners are starting to take much greater interest in the subject of green infrastructure and it is almost inevitable that we will see significant increase in “greenery” designed into our cities of the future.

After the heat wave of 2003 French planners will doubtless be paying attention to the scientific studies. That year, the hottest in Europe since 1540, the French government recorded 14,802 heat-related deaths, mostly among the elderly.

Further analysis may well show that investment in city greening projects saves money while improving quality of life for the ever expanding number of city dwellers.

 

BOIS DU BOUSCAT Bordeaux is a fine example of how eco- renewal can be used in urban green spots (Credit: Mike Alexander)

BOIS DU BOUSCAT Bordeaux is a fine example of how eco- renewal can be used in urban green spots (Credit: Mike Alexander)

 

 

blue3 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators

triangle down2 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators

blue3 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators

Previously – click an image below
wisteria alba 150 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
honey bee 150 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Prune for Results
A World Without Bees?
apple tree fruit 150 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
prize winning rose 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Fruit Tree Pruning
Wars of the Roses
forsythia 150 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
cistus salvifolius 150 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Prune When Finished
Herald of Spring…
cherries tree 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Lavandula angustifolia 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
You’ve got to be quick!
Un-thirsty Lavender
nettles 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Star jasmine 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Grasp the Nettle
Star Jasmine – Madrid
Stachys byzantina 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Autumn arrives 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Jihad – on Bunnies Ears
Autumn Arrives
wellies 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Newton gravity 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Designer Chic?
Gravity – not to be ignored!
snowdrops 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
habenero 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
If Winter Comes….
Hottest chilli in the world
daffodils 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
irises 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
Dog Days…
Fleur de Lys
marqueyssac hedges 0 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators
To read a previous article
– click an image –
Hedge Your Bets
www.french-news-online.com

blue11 Grumpy Gardener – Compost and Hibernators

Grumpy Gardener

Our Grumpy Gardener has been gardening professionally in France for more years than he cares to remember and before that in Africa and the UK. Today he happily shares his expertise with French News Online readers. Your gardening questions are welcome and while they may not be individually answered, they may form the basis of future monthly columns.

Writer: Mike Alexander
mike@mikealexander.fr
Follow Mike on Twitter 

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11 Responses to The Grumpy Gardener – Bordeaux Eco-Renewal

  1. Pingback: The Grumpy Gardener – Bordeaux Eco-Renewa...

  2. Victoria December 31, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I have been living in Versailles for the past few years and have been really pleased by the attention given to green spaces. I am within walking distance of many parks and even a forest near my home in the Porchefontaine district. The city has even started a home compost program which I am participating in. Sign up for a free class and get a free compost bin. This has been a huge help as I rehabilitate this old garden of mine. Old roses LOVE compost.

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