Make the most of square metres!
It's time to start planting summer flowers in containers or in the ground. And it's good for morale!
1. DON'T JUST PULL UP ANYTHING!
Not every young shoot should be removed. If there aren't too many of them in one place, leave them to grow and see how they develop. If there are too many, you can remove some, but not all. This can be done using a suitable tool, such as a claw or weeder, but without doing anything drastic. It would be a shame to deprive your garden of a few poppies, for example!
2. MAKE YOUR OWN NATURAL WEEDKILLER
For once, white vinegar comes to the rescue. Combined with other ingredients, it's incredibly effective when it comes to getting rid of weeds outdoors. For a 100% natural weedkiller, use white vinegar with coarse salt and water. In terms of quantities, the volume of water should be 2.5 times that of the vinegar and 5 times that of the salt. In practical terms, for 2.5 litres of water, add 500g of coarse salt and a litre of white vinegar. Mix everything together and pour into a spray bottle. When it comes into contact with the leaves, the liquid will turn the unwanted plant yellow and then wither, making it easier to remove.
3. A TIP FROM THE PRO
Jean-Claude, a professional gardener, tells us his secret for using this natural weedkiller in the best conditions: "This home-made product is more effective and less harmful to the soil when used in warm, dry weather. And why is that? Because the heat helps the salt and vinegar residues to evaporate, keeping the fertility of the soil intact. So it's best to choose two consecutive days of sunshine to see the best results!
PRACTICALITIES: WHERE TO START?
Some spring perennials have already finished flowering: aubrietes, saxifrages... Don't hesitate to prune them so that they can offer you a second one in a few weeks' time. - It's now time to plant summer and autumn perennials that are still a little afraid of frost on their young leaves. Perennials are a large family of plants including lupins, bellflowers, geraniums and hollyhocks. They always look tiny in their pots, but don't be fooled! Once they're well established in the garden, they'll quickly expand. Already this year, they will be offering us beautiful foliage and abundant flowers. Summer bulbs: it's time to plant them in pots or in the ground. The superb blooms from dahlias and cannas are expected in just a few weeks' time.
IN THE GARDEN
Plant potatoes or deadhead early potatoes. - Butter the peas. - It's a great idea to put flowers among the vegetables! In fact, they play a major role in predator control.
HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES:
- Ornamental tobacco: its very sticky foliage is a trap for aphids and whiteflies, which can't get loose; - Nasturtiums: attract aphids, while they leave peppers, chillies and aubergines alone.
ON THE BALCONY IN RAISED TUBS/GARDENS
Blue and powder pink seem to be the trend colours of the year. If you like these tones, choose from bacopa, lobelia, upright or drooping geraniums, surfinia and nepeta. For annuals that will develop best, choose the plants with the best foliage and few flowers. Once at home, remove any flowers so that the plant can put all its energy into developing its root system. Don't worry, in just 2 weeks' time many buds will appear, and this will continue for many months. - The undisputed king of the window box: the geranium. It may seem rather old-fashioned to you, but there are some incredible varieties available today, in a wide range of colours. And, best of all, it's hardy, flowers easily and requires very little care. It's also one of the few plants that can tolerate full sun; depending on exposure, if the heat is too intense, don't hesitate to give it a little shade.