there are many ways to remove the plants unsightly who invite themselves in our gardens. Regardless of what some believe is the purist, quackgrass, dandelion or bindweed, are herbs which, it is beautiful and well control the spread if you don’t want to become overwhelmed. Not talking about chemical weed killers, which is prohibited to individuals since January 1, with the exception of specialty organic acid. The wielding of the hoe or weeding, advocated by those who themselves often have never held a round of their life, is acceptable on a small surface. But beyond a certain threshold, the operation quickly becomes a chore: the author of these lines can testify to that!

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More attractive, including agronomically, the technique of mulching, which is regularly put forward in this topic, has many advantages: saving of time and fatigue, it enriches the soil, stimulates its microbial life, maintains its freshness ( reducing the watering, another chore…) and prevents the “bad” weeds (sorry, I still call them like that) to raise by depriving of their seeds of light. Only drawback: the aesthetic value of the straw, or bark applied to the soil can sometimes be open to discussion. And then you can’t put them anywhere!

This is particularly the case in the shade of large trees where, in the absence of light, the grass fails to grow, leaving free rein to the foam and then, after a certain time, brambles or nettles (even if one can make a soup or slurry). Same thing on the slope very steep, the terrain rocky or, on the contrary, very wet, at the foot of the beds of shrubs or flowers to fill in the gaps and do not leave the soil bare.

VIDEO – How to control weeds without glyphosate

Flower of épimédium . Harold VERSPIEREN_DIGITALICE/HVPM dev – stock.adobe.com

In all of these situations, the use of plants tapissantes is strongly advised. Not exceeding 30 cm in height, these plants are robust, in dense foliage and spreading, able to quickly cover the ground that they succeed thanks to their roots drageonnantes or rhizomatous. What to compete effectively with weeds, the toughest that they stifle and prevent pushing.

Plant for shade and woodland, the Pachysandra terminalis which gives the spring beautiful small white flowers in spike, is one of those “weed killers green” to any event. “It is a great alternative to the lawn: no weed does not grow within, and it requires no maintenance. It just needs to be redesigned the aisles from time to time because it tends to spill over,” says Didier Touzet, head gardener of the oriental park of Maulévrier (Maine-et-Loire) that are cultivated for nearly 30 years.

The small periwinkle ( Vinca minor ) fills the same office, and always in the grey shaded areas of the garden. There are varieties with blue flowers, pink or white, not to mention the cultivars grown for foliage variegated green and white as ‘ Aureo-variegata’ . We can also mention the épimédiums, more known under the lovely name “flowers of the elves”, in particular the variety ‘Fronhleiten’. These low-growing plants on silhouette with delicate, settle down quickly and make pretty ground cover with their foliage in both green and reddish, and their yellow flowers, the corolla finely cut, which hatch in April.

Sheet alchémille common with her drop of rain. Jörg Kaspari under a CC license

CARD PLANT – learn All about the culture of épimédiums or “flowers of the elves”

More tolerant to the sun, alchemille common ( Alchemilla mollis ), or mantle of Our Lady, is perfectly suited to the edges of the forest or at the edges of clumps of shrubs. It extends from June to August, myriads of small flowers, greenish-yellow overlapping leaves, green anise, the edges finely serrated, which have the charming feature to retain the drops of rain or dew. The dead-nettle red rose ( Lamium maculatum ‘Roseum’ ) appreciates also the mid-shade. This creeping, perennial, evergreen, semi-evergreen and fast-growing so seduced by its leaves, stained of silver-white that by its profuse flowering, which occurs from may to July, and goes back to a little later in the season. We can also mention the grass to the gouty, pied ( Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegata ’) foliage is bright but transitory, disappearing in the winter.

Very original, the ophiopogon black ( Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ ), or beard of a serpent, and has long green leaves, the color strangely dark, almost black. Not difficult for a penny, this perennial, a close cousin of the lily of the valley, but with the allure of grass, has the advantage of pushing it as well in the sun at the foot of large trees.

3 to 10 plants per m2 Ophiopogon or black beard of the serpent. 222826249/adfoto – stock.adobe.com

Among the héliophiles, geranium hardy Rozanne ‘Gerwat’, which bears the name of the planter in the uk that has been selected, is ideal for contouring the borders of the massifs are well exposed. His arguments? A beautiful and long-flowering, blue (from late may until freeze-up), dense foliage and well spread out, and capacity of adaptation outstanding: this champion accepts also the mid-shade, is content of all soil types and withstands extreme cold (up to -28°C). Note, in the same family, the geranium perennial rhizomateux ( Geranium macrorrhizum) with its beautiful foliage that is fragrant and semi-evergreen.

In the category of accommodative, the bluebells of the walls ( Campanula poscharskyana and C. portenschlagiana ), with their flowers in bells lavender color, are particularly suitable for rock gardens or borders of solid exposed to the sun or mid-shade.

Finally, to finish off the season in style, brighten up your under-wood with the cyclamen of Naples ( Cyclamen hederifolium ) which form carpets of pink and purple of unparalleled splendor.

From a practical point of view, please allow 3 to 10 plants per m2 depending on species and varieties. Check with your nurseryman at the time of purchase, and plan to increase the density if your soil is poor. You will have understood: it is important that the land is quickly covered before the weeds do not occupy the place.

Your appointment “garden” to do (mostly) not to be missed

• 5, 6 and 7 April: 5th festival of gardens and plants, château de Tauzia, Gradignan (Gironde).

• April 6-7: the 17th edition of the plant market of Mulhouse, park zoological and botanical Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin).

• 6-7 April: 4th days of the plants & garden art, castle of the Chapel, Crécy-la-Chapelle (Seine-et-Marne).

• 6-7 April: 9th feast of the chick, Ferme de Beaumont, Eu (Seine-Maritime).

• 6 April: the flower Market “Barter and garden”, place Mermoz, Bois-Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine).

• 7 April from 12-h: 4th festival of the cherry blossom “Hanami”, the oriental Park of Maulévrier (Maine-et-Loire).

Domaine de Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard

• 7 April: Frequently asked plants and gourmet market, Larchant (Seine-et-Marne).

• Until 12 April: Exhibition “Charles Lemaire and Edward Maubert, a common passion for botany”, the Headquarters of the national Society of horticulture of France (SNHF), Paris 7e.

• 12, 13 and 14 April: Feast of the plants of the spring of Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard, a special “35th anniversary”, the Castle of Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard (Essonne).

• 12, 13 and 14 April: 15th edition of the show “Jardins en Seine”, the terrace of the Fécheray-Mont Valérien, Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine).

• 20, 21 and 22 April: 25th “festival of plants and hens”, on the theme “Nurture his orchard and his garden” , château de la Bourdaisière, Montlouis-sur-Loire (Indre-et-Loire).

• 20, 21 and 22 April: 2nd days of the plants “the art of The garden, in Flanders, Castle of Esquelbecq (North).

• Until 21 April: 7th edition of the operation “My street in flower”, organized by the city of Nantes (Loire-Atlantique).

• 22 April: plant Market of the skyscraper, avenue Henri-Barbusse, Villeurbanne (Rhône).

• Until the 28th of April: “Dreams of the Mediterranean”, 2nd edition of the Festival of the Gardens of the Côte d’azur, with contest of creations landscape ephemeral on different sites of the Alpes-Maritimes.

• may 24: scientific Symposium “Plants and the French Riviera, the carnival of the senses”, organized by the SNHF, parc Phoenix, Nice (Alpes-Maritimes).

• Until may 28: Participate in the contest “Gardening Otherwise, share your practices” by signing up here.

• Until may 31: 5th photo contest epidemiological surveillance 2019, organized by the SNHF on the theme of “Webs, cocoons and filaments”. Award ceremony on 14 June.

• Until 30 June: please Send your application to the national Competition of gardens in 2019, by clicking here.

• Until 8 September: Exhibition “the Gardens, the joys of Val d’oise”, the House of Doctor Gachet, Auvers-sur-Oise (Val d’oise).

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