Tag Archives: France

Coutances calling

Almost two weeks have passed. There has been some new jobs: I have been working at the potting machine and planting seedling for the early spring market, and watering plants in the tunnels and in the shop. I have become pretty independent in my tasks, which is nice.
This place is a school. There are students of different ages and levels starting from youngsters of the third grade in high school (it takes 4 years in France) and those at the basic level of the professional college to young adults doing a two year extra course after the basic education. I have had the opportunity to work also with various classes doing different jobs under the supervision of their teachers. It has been very interesting to follow the teaching, and the students working. One time, for instance, the teacher explained the principles of watering and showed very precisely how it should be done. And then every student had a little parcel to water, and everybody followed attentively. It was interesting for me too to watch and learn!
As an extra treat, I have had the opportunity to take part at two floristry lessons. We made vertical arrangements in a sponge with three different dahlia-flowers: one big, three medium-sized and five small ones. The principles were, of course, but the working was very different. Where we, there back home, are given very free hands to create our own vision of the work in hand, here we had to follow instructions very stricktly. The aim was to produce ten or twelve exactly similar arrangements, only changing the choice of flowers used. We didn’t, of course, quite succeed It was really interesting and nice, and it was, actually, quite a difficult task to choose the flowers among 300 different varieties so that they would match nicely together and behave like wanted in the arrangement.
Tomorrow I’ll be off with the extra course students to visit the Ernest Turc enterprise, a big producer of different kinds of plant material, at least seeds and bulbs. They have, for instance, created the dahlia Normandie.

First week in Coutances

My first week in Coutances is behind. In the begining I was exhausted in the evenigs, after dinner. I guess it’s because there was everyday so many new things to learn and people to meet. Now I feel like I had stayed here for ever!

I have been working in the greenhouses and in the dahlia field. I have been picking strawberries in one tunnel and collecting Alstroemeria flowers in an otherone. I spend one and a half days cleaning the strawberry plants. There were quite a lot of fungus spreading there, so I tried to do the job properly.

Alstroemerias are nice. They grow in the real soil in a tunnel, and the oldest ones have been there for over twenty years. Only the very tall ones are collected. Small ones and the ones having only a few flowers are thrown away. My heart is crying! But I understood it better when I got some of the not so good ones to decorate my room, It wasn.t easy at all to arrange them nicely.

I have also arranged things in the shop of the greenhouse: organising plants nicely, writing name and price tags, cleaning faded flowers.

And then, of course, I have been a little in the dahlia field. It is quite a big area full of dahlias. All the different colours, all the different shapes. It is amazing! And all of it has been organised, planted and taken care of with students of the school. The Dahlia Festival was opened on Saturday afternoon. At the same time a new variety of dahlia was launched and baptised: it is called Normandie, and it is brilliant, pale yellow, like the famous cream and butter of Normandy.

Next time I will try to add some photos. For the moment, it has been enough to find out about the wifi, to be able to post anything at all.

Towards Normandy, France


My name is Leena. I’m studying horticulture at the Jämsä College. In a few days I will be heading towards Normandy, France, for a training period of 4 weeks.  I will be living and working at the Horticultural College at Coutances. There is a botanical garden and a Dahlia Festival going on. Sounds wonderful to me! At the moment I’m feeling quite nervous although I’m sure everything will be fine once I get there.