chiquita mi corossol*, chiquita chiquita….

oh oh oh I got carried away there… Writing the name of that tropical fruit, and knowing from experience the good the juice you press from it does to you, I had this Spanish song come to my head (*mi cora son in the original version) , and I bet it’s going to take a while before I get rid of it !

The fruit of the corossol tree, Annona muricata, can be 30 cm long and weigh up to 2.5 kg.

Its shell is covered with spikes and the flesh is white with black seeds that are not edible – although I’m not sure I wasn’t served some seeds with the juice last time I drank some … my close relations know why I mention this bit !

It tastes sweet and sour. It is rich in glucides, especially fructose, vitamine C, B1 and B2. It is mainly used to make ice-cream in food factories.

The leaves, flesh and seeds are used for their medicinal properties.

Quentin and I were able to drink corossol juice when we travelled to Madagascar in November 2010. For more gorgeous photos and the story behind that trip, see my other blog

Dec 6, 2011

the flamboyant tree

When Quentin showed us his diaporama on his work experience in New Caledonia, I recognized this tree immediately, having a photo of Mike and myself  under a fine specimen, on the Carribbean island of Antigua, where we got married in 1997… Souvenirs, souvenirs… We were actually looking for shade under the blazing sun, as the photographer was busy shooting the guests, and it proved really efficient !

The flamboyant tree, Delonix regia, is endangered in the wild, like in the Madagascar dry deciduous forests, but widely cultivated in tropical or semi tropical areas.

It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. It is useful for the shade it provides as it grows not very high, but spreads widely. In Asia, in Thailand particularly if I’m not mistaken, it is called the ‘pupil tree’, as the flowering season corresponds to the end of the school year. Tanntoot, when you read this, can you tell us if that tree has a particular importance in Malaysia ?

In New Caledonia, the flowering season lasts from November to February.

Quentin was there for us to capture its flamboyant beauty – enjoy !

Dec 3, 2011

tree frogs

I believe you’re going to find this pair appealing !

Caught in a papaye tree in New Caledonia last November, they seemed quite unconcerned by the overexcited zoreille who was busy flashing around them, in a frenzy of “this is once in a lifetime ! Here and there ! Me and now ! “.

Islands like New Caledonia are natural reserves for some animal and plant species. It’s good that the young generation can see them with their own eyes, feel them with their own hands, share with the locals about their habitat, and way of life. Thus I am convinced they are more aware of the fragility of the eco system, and the urgent need there is to preserve it by all means.

Smile ! This zoreille is putting us in the box for fame ! We may make it to Hollywood, say a sequel to Madagascar 2 ?

Dec 1, 2011

work experience in New Caledonia

He ‘s back !

After having spent 5 weeks in New Caledonia, to work for a landscape and garden company in Nouméa as part of his work experience, Quentin was able to tell us all during a photo session yesterday.

Well first of all, I’d like to say CONGRATULATIONS QUENTIN : not many students can find the inner ressources as well as the finances to be able to make such a trip.

No doubt this challenge has made you more of a citizen of the world, as you flew from Paris to Seoul, then Sidney and finally Noumea. You virtually went to the other side of the planet, and stayed on the French island in the Pacific Ocean, East of Australia.

So you became a “zoreille”, that’s the name given to the white French by the natives.

“I was especially touched by the landscapes, the perpetual sunshine, and the happy people, always smiling, so polite and happy in their heart. At weekends, I would tour the island with my cousin Stephanie and her family. She came to live here with her Breton of a husband some 20 years ago. She has a job in a printing factory, and her husband works as a commercial in advertising. During these weekend trips, I was able to see some amazing wildlife and the local plants : palm trees, flamboyants, herbs, fruit trees such as the mango, litchi, banana, corossol … ”

“I also enjoyed the local customs, like for example the traditional 4 o’clock drink of kava, made from brewing the roots of the kava plant, with relaxing properties… You have to get used to drinking it, though, it’s very bitter.”

                       “There are places with waterfalls and natural ponds, the water is very cool but it’s the perfect location to capture  wild plants in their natural habitat”.





… to be continued….

Nov 29, 2011

park of “la maison des enfants”

Our students work on a site opposite our lycee, the park of “la maison des enfants”.

They will try and find ways of improving it.

The new project should include features in relation with the past and the future of the park.

Teachers from other subjects than landscaping will also take part in the project, to teach the students about the history of the place.

The traditional questions underlying a new landscape design are

- where is it located ? What are the buildings around it ?

- who is using the park ? What do they use it for ?

- what are the good points of the park at the moment, and the bad ones ?







view onto the library



a foot with style

Oct 16, 2011

students at work

Here they are, in the sand, getting it right, flat, level, aligned, stable, picketed, marked… You name it !

Sep 30, 2011

magical entrance

By a very sunny and warm late afternoon, I took the opportunity of taking a shot of what I get to see everytime I drive past the entrance of the lycee.

I really like what the students have transformed this magnificent dead tree into : a giant bonzaï. What a great re birth, and bravo for the imagination of both staff and adult trainees of the lycée horticole de Lomme.

Sep 27, 2011