Pénélope SADOUDI, Architecte paysagiste BA hons Dip.L.A.

10 septembre 2013 0 Comments

Les Composstibilites sont infinis

Combien nous oublions que le recyclage peut être infini.

La matière organique de nos jardins, tonte de gazon et tailles, mauvaises herbes et feuilles sont recyclables dans votre compost. A chaque fois que vous faites évacuer de la matière organique de votre jardin dans « la poubelle verte » vous appauvrissez votre sol et votre jardin manquera progressivement de cette matière magique nécessaire à sa santé.
Sous la canopée de la forêt en équilibre toute la matière organique tombe au sol. Les feuilles forment une couche épaisse de mulch. Cette couche se décompose progressivement et les nutriments retournent dans le sol, disponible pour les racines.
Dans nos jardins une épaisse couche de mulch autour de vos arbustes et arbres leur fera le plus grand bien.
Ma Maman « Une reine du compost » ne laisse pas perdre une gramme de mulch magique dans son jardin. Il faut dire qu’avec « La Rolls Royce des bacs de compostage » qu’elle gère attentivement et avec tout le soin qu’elle apporte, son compost vaut de l’or ! et les compossibilités sont infinis.

IMG_1742
PS Bacs de compostage fabriqués avec amour par mon Papa.

4 juin 2013 0 Comments

Ever had a mad urge to start a vegetable garden?

Ever had a mad urge to have a vegetable garden?  I watched a TED talk about incredible Edible and I got the bug.  Here’s what I built.

I admit its not huge, but taking the turf off was really hard work and took several days.

It’s a circular plan which may look odd to some but I have a circular sprinkler system so it was built to fit.

Here are the pictures taken as I went along… click to enlarge…

Potager

1         I marked out the circle and started lifting turf which I have since stored covered up with wet newspaper and a plastic sheet so that the grass will compost and I will be able to reuse the earth as topsoil.

2         I used some old block pavers to make a border so that I can take the lawn mower right up to the edge

3         I live in an area with soil more suited to making bricks than to gardening so I imported loads of sand and compost. My very kind neigbour Fabrice popped round with a rotavator and mixed the compost into the soil so the whole thing looks black.

4         We built the bamboo supports for the runner beans (seeds sent from my Mum) and put some strawberry plants in.

Potager-3-

So far we are growing:  5 herbs, tomatoes, courgettes, red peppers, sweet chillies, strawberries, carrots, roquette, lettuce, beetroot and radishes. Which just goes to show that even a small space can produce food. If you want to see what happens when everybody gets involved and shares the idea, take a few minutes to watch a video about the truly amazing Incredible Edible movement.  http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/fr/pam_warhurst_how_we_can_eat_our_landscapes.html

PS The radish picture is proof of how proud we are of our first crop.

15 mai 2013 1 Comment

La Pépinière Cultidelta

cultidelta

This project, designed and planted by Cultidelta, is an experimental garden with indigenous plants adapted for hot dry climates.
I look forward to seeing how the plants manage with no irrigation.

Sustainable planting is going to have to be drought resistant

16 janvier 2013 0 Comments

Need some inspiration?

Need some inspiration

I find Pinterest is a fantastic source

have a quick look at some of the images I’ve collected so far

http://pinterest.com/pensad/favorite-places-spaces/

4 septembre 2012 0 Comments

So you really want to reduce the maintenance in your french garden ? part four


Garden maintenance, the war on weeds, call it as you wish it’s never going to go away.

Here are my top tips for gradually changing your tactics so that you can spend less time working on your garden and more time enjoying it.

 

The follow up to part 3 is to say OK now you have a bed how do I maintain that? The answer is to go back to a good old fashioned mulch. (see article on mulch) I do mean mulch and not the polypropylene film currently in use all over France.

Commonly known over here as “la bâche verte” the plastic weed control fabric is sold as a universal solution to weed control. Please allow me to have a quick rant here. “La bache” is so unbelievably ugly to my mind that its colour alone is enough to banish it from ever being used in private gardens.

In my opinion the success of the “bache” is entirely due to 2 factors. Firstly the general public has seen the film applied to large areas of public landscaping and so seem to believe that it is a professional solution to a problem. I do not agree, it is just a cheap, short term, ugly, polluting, non recyclable product which causes water runoff problems while it prevents some weeds growing for a short while. Municipalities use it because it reduces maintenance costs (costs which have never been an electoral favourite).

It would seem that so many people are still gullable enough to believe that it is a real solution that I guess it sells easily and garden centres are happy to make a quick buck. Even when I write specifications for my clients gardens with real mulch, landscape contractors always seem to want to flog the dreaded ugly “bache”.

Nobody seems to worried about how to remove and recycle it when its useful life is over . Please, please, never use “la bache” in a private garden . It can have its uses in specific contexts in invisible areas but simply in terms of its aesthetics, but who is going to enjoy sitting in a garden surrounded by expanses of green polypropylene?

This is what Greenfrog DONT do in gardens

4 septembre 2012 0 Comments

So you really want to reduce the maintenance in your french garden ? part three

Garden maintenance, the war on weeds, call it as you wish it’s never going to go away.

Here are my top tips for gradually changing your tactics so that you can spend less time working on your garden and more time enjoying it.

 

Ok so mowing still takes up a large percentage of your maintenance time in the garden. A rationalization strategy is needed. Firstly remove as many obstacles to your mowing as possible. Then identify all the spots in your garden which are difficult to mow or require a strimmer to be tidied up after the mowing. Could any of these areas be planted with low maintenance ground cover plants to avoid them being mowed at all?
Very often if you have bought a “French” garden you will find plants shrubs and trees dotted about on the grass. In this sort of situation each and every “obstacle in the grass extends your mowing work time.  I suggest that you go back to the “English” garden concept where plants and shrubs are planted in beds.  Beds of shrubs give you a chance to group the plants for better effect and also create a shape of bed with a contour which is “mowable”. By mowable I mean, an edge that your mower can smoothly get around without you having to stop and do complicated manoeuvers.

Just think of this as rationalisation, make your garden more efficient….

 

 

4 septembre 2012 0 Comments

So you want to reduce the maintenance of your « french garden » ? part two

So you really want to reduce the maintenance in your french garden ?

Garden maintenance, the war on weeds, call it as you wish it’s never going to go away.

Here are my top tips for gradually changing your tactics so that you can spend less time working on your garden and more time enjoying it.

 

A very large part of most gardens in the Toulouse area is made up of grass. I will not call it “lawn” because very rarely does that classification apply to gardens with maintenance problems. In theory grass is easy to manage, you just mow it. Fine but what if your mowing time amounts to half your weekend?  Ask yourself the question: Does it all have to be mowed to the same standard? How about rethinking and allowing certain areas to grow longer. Most people are now familiar with the modern municipal uses of flowering grass areas or “prairie fleurie” as they  say in France. You could allow some areas of the garden to flower then mow them back to short grass level after the plants have set their seeds. The municipalities of France are using this technique to reduce mowing manhours why don’t you? Creating wild flower areas is not difficult there are just a few simple rules to follow and the biodiversity they create is invaluable to insect and animal life. If you would like more info about mowing regimes just send me a message.

 

4 septembre 2012 0 Comments

So you want to reduce the maintenance of your « french garden » ? part one

So you really want to reduce the maintenance in your french garden ?

Garden maintenance, the war on weeds, call it as you wish it’s never going to go away.

Here are my top tips for gradually changing your tactics so that you can spend less time working on your garden and more time enjoying it.

 The war on weeds is permanent. My most successful strategy for winning the war is all about occupying the terrain: here’s my theory: the more space you occupy with plants or mineral materials you do  like the less space will be available for the plants you don’t like i.e. weeds. The tactical approach to this one is to use plants in your garden which occupy the surface of the soil. The obvious choices are groundcover plants. I won’t go into a list of groundcover plants because every single garden is different in terms of orientation, exposure, colour scheme etc. Let me just say that shrubs with a single stem/trunk which have a stiff upright habit occupy only a few cm2 at ground surface level, however a plant like a ground cover cotoneaster has dense evergreen spreading horizontal branches at ground level “occupying” the surface and beating all the competition hands down.

PS. Ground cover plants do need some maintenance too of course but they don’t need mowing 10 times a year.

4 septembre 2012 0 Comments

Mulch

I love Mulch

Quick lesson on Mulch:

 Mulch is to the plant world what a quilt is for you in your bed.

Let me explain. Mulch is a 10cm thick  layer of organic fibrous material like woodchips, compost, cocoa husks, pine bark, BRF etc

This is how mulch works

  1. Mulch acts as a thermal insulation layer just like a quilt. It enables all the bacterial life which is essential for roots to function at reasonable temperatures and avoids extremes of heat and cold.
  2. Mulch also acts as a sponge. It regulates the humidity of the soil below and so keeps life comfortable for the soil bacteria by avoiding waterlogging or drought.
  3. Mulch decomposes to feed the soil. The healthier your soil, the healthier your plants. (which takes me back to the question on the difference between topsoil and subsoil…

Here are a few of the advantages of mulch:

  1. You can make it yourself so it’s cheap and avoids trips to the dechetterie, just use a garden waste shredder. Otherwise you can buy it, but since it’s a byproduct of tree felling you can usually get hold of some locally. You just need to ask around. It is also available commercially in “big bags” of 2m3 delivered to your garden.
  2. It contributes organic matter to the soil and so enriches the soil to feed your plants reducing the need for other fertilizers
  3. It reduces water loss and so reduces water consumption
  4. It insulates plants in the winter and protects the roots from freezing
  5. If it forms a layer which is thick enough ( 10cm) it actively prevents the germination of all weed seeds requiring light to grow.
  6. Its natural texture is light so any weed seed which may germinate on top of the layer if caught quickly enough can be easily and quickly removed with your fingers,  as opposed to letting weeds grow in our local Toulouse clay where weeds are really hard to remove as the soil is either baked hard or sticky mud.
  7. On esthetics: depending on the material chosen the colour can vary widely and the texture too but usually its neutral and naturally discrete in the garden.
  8. it’s a non-polluting material which should be entirely organic , biodegradable and non-toxic in your garden ecosystem.

Ok now the disadvantages

  1. It is not a 100% guaranteed solution to prevent weed growth, but anyone who believes that there is a solution either has a concrete garden or is a big fan of Walt Disney.
  2. It does not last forever; it needs to be topped up every 3 years as it decomposes.
  3. It can be moved around by animals or children or the wind.

 

 

2 juillet 2012 0 Comments

Une fois de temps en temps la grenouille se repose