page created 13th April 2006
Take a trip to French Catalonia, half an hour's drive west of Perpignan, towards the foothills of the Pyrenees. Just before the little town of Prades, glance to your right, and you will see the perched village of Eus - officially listed as one of the prettiest villages in France. The view from the village extends to the heights of the Pyrenees, but down in the valley below, just across the river, you will see an extensive area of greenhouses.
This is the home of the Pépinières Bachès citrus nursery.
The village of Eus and the view from Eus towards the citrus greenhouses.
For a long time, I have come across references to this nursery and its owners collection of citrus varieties. But without a nursery web-site, and my imperfect French, I had little information about it. So, during a family holiday to Catalonia, I decided to take a look.
Bénédicte & Michel Bachès own and run the nursery, and Bénédicte - apparently a devotee of this web-site - kindly showed me around.
The nursery mainly uses Poncirus trifoliata as a hardy rootstock.
They have plenty of mature, flowering specimens on sale, including the contorted Flying Dragon form. I have never seen these at any other European nursery.
Notice how the pots are placed in square concrete holders to prevent them falling over in this frequently windy valley.
Propagation is carried out by grafting, rather than budding. Plants are grown on in the greenhouse shown in the left picture above. Mature plants are on display in a veritable citrus jungle! Here are some limequats in the foreground.
A fine specimen of the Fingerlime, Microcitrus australasica about 3 meters tall. Calamondins in front.
Here is a large Buddha's Hand citron, growing inground in one greenhouse
The local Catalan speciality, Poncire de Cotlliure, or Poncire de Collioure. Probably a citron hybrid, this produces large, round fruit turning orange when ripe.
a specialist citrus nursery in Southern France
I came away from Pépinières Bachès much impressed with the size and scope of this nursery, and a determination to return before too long to have a longer and more detailed look. I also came away clutching a plant of Poncire de Cotlliure, and a copy of their excellent citrus book, 'Agrumes. Comment les choisir et les cultiver facilement'. French and German editions available, but not English.
So, take that trip to Eus - I can recommend it! For contact details and opening hours click here.
I visited the nursery again in October. The finger limes (from the tree shown left) were now ripe. Click here for higher definition images
+update 12th October 2006