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The future of the Cascatelles Nursery : Could it be your next project ?

The following lines were written for someone who has a taste for agriculture, is knowledgeable and concerned about horticultural issues, and is thinking about their future in a modern way, that is to say a future close to nature; someone that keeps their feet firmly on the ground yet their head in the stars. 


They might also interest any plant lover and amateur, or indeed anyone that is both curious to learn about the techniques we use to produce plants here, and sensitive to keeping the harmony of nature and of the life that surrounds us. 


Maintaining the Cascatelles Nursery takes a lot of hard work, which however is very rewarding, as nature shares its beauty with us through careful observation, learning, and enjoying time as it passes. 


Indeed, running a plants nursery involves a great many jobs for us both to practice as associates, in the office and out in the fields: grower; driver and delivery man; salesperson; stall planner for fairs; propagator; accountant; secretary; graphic designer; pastelist; stonemason; welder; hydraulics and various machinery designer; and, in later years, advisor (active internationally, mind you).

Our nursery has three major advantages:

1. A spectacular geographic location 

Our nursery is located in Mazamet, in the département of Tarn, in the South of France, on the northern slopes of the Black Mountain.


The area enjoys a fair amount of sunshine, and the wind is never violent on this naturally protected site.


The annual rainfall of this micro climate is around 1400 mm, with oscillations from 1000 mm to almost 2000, which is very high, and excellent for filtering, acidic soils (pH 6 at 300 meters at the nursery level, rising to 5 or even 4.5 at altitude).


Combined with the advantages of the terrain, this enabled the installation of an exceptionally fine and original irrigation system.

Snow has become rare at our altitude of 300 meters, but allows for beautiful walks higher up in the mountain.

Cold temperatures have also become rare ; indeed, in my forty years of my living here in Mazamet, I have experienced fewer Siberian winters than in my native region of Nantes, however temperate it claims to be.


Thanks to a generous amount of water, light, heat, and moderately acidic soil (pH 6), everything can be grown in the local gardens. Atlantic and Mediterranean flora and fauna harmoniously coexist in the mountain, to the mindful observer's greatest delight. 


With its great open spaces, its many lakes and beautiful natural light, the Black Mountain almost seems like a combination of Canada and Provence.

2. A remarkable infrastructure 


It is the result of the experience of several generations of plant growers, and consists of: 

  • 13 greenhouses covering 3500 square meters in total, that are drained, anchored to the ground with concrete studs, and each with its own concrete-covered central alley. 

  • 5000 square meters of plants grown in pots, with four main pipes to bring water for the sprinklers; 

  • 2 pumping stations provided with water thanks to gravity;


The plants nursery is equipped with a potting line, two tractors, an isothermic truck and all the necessary tools necessary for cultivating and selling plants. 


3. Trade and commercial zone


Currently, the company supplies a professional clientele (plants growers, horticulturalists, independent gardening shops, local parks departments) as well as the general public through numerous reputable plant fairs and festivals.


Indeed, we are often on the road, whether it may be to deliver to professionals, or to attend plant fairs and festivals, which are spread over a large part of southern France.


However, we believe that the future of our business lies in more local trade circuits, at least in part, as the world is changing. Our initial strategy of selling long-to-produce specialty plants to far away locations is not easy.


Nevertheless, the commercial zone here is attractive, with a commune that exceeds 25,000 inhabitants, not to mention the  75,000 inhabitants from the neighbouring city of Castres and surrounding municipalities.


Gardening is a well-established tradition here, and the Cascatelles Plants Nursery can be easily made attractive to plant amateurs looking to furnish their gardens.


Online plant sales can be arranged, thanks to fast internet, the post office, public transport, and pick-up and distribution points.

Construction of the long delayed Mazamet / Castres / Toulouse motorway is underway.

  • The Mazamet SNCF station offers several daily trains to Toulouse.
  • The airport of Mazamet offers regular daily lines to Paris and to Corsica during the summer.
  • The airport of Carcassonne, 45 minutes away, offers flights to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium and Portugal with Ryanair.
  • The international airport of Toulouse Blagnac (headquarters of Airbus) is less than an hour and a half away.


After the presentation of these few elements, we are available for any questions, discussions, or constructive comments.


Perhaps this could be your next project, and even if not, a good conversation is always welcome.

Whatever you do, we wish you good luck !

Alain & Fanny Thoby

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