Native plants and favorite garden variety

Have you started a garden or are you maintaining an established plot on your property, be it flowering or vegetable or…vegetal?

No matter what area of France you are currently inhabiting, if you wouldn’t mind sharing I’d like to hear from you about the native plants in your area, or your ‘gardening bible’ if you will, or other resource for reference, and/or what gardening tools you’ve brought with you.

What gardening tools have you found were expensive or harder to get?

What is your favorite…native plant, gardening tool, resource for gardening in France? Do French gardening experts have online blogs, that you know of?

here are 3 links to various Gardening Sites…

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Thanks. I love Rustica, maybe I should subscribe if there’s a hardcopy version.

Are these ones that you find you use a lot for gardening?

Is there a farmer’s almanac for France?

I got a gardening magazine regularly when we first arrived… helped me with my French language… and I found it very useful…

When you get here… you could do the same… or just investigate the tips/hints on the various Web Sites…

There are loads of them to choose from…

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I agree, there are loads to choose from. Thanks! Just trying to get advice on culling the herd (of resources), I guess. :slight_smile:

It’s great when someone on SF knows a special twist or whatnot. So many knowledgable people.

My favourite subject! I could rabbit on for hours so be careful!

My best resource is looking at neighbours’ gardens and watching what they do and when. However since we’re in eastern France at 2100 ft altitude I doubt our experience of plants will be much use to you.

Good things we like to do are visiting plant fairs, where you can get to meet fellow gardeners. And we’ve got to know our local nurseries (not that there are many in our patch). There’s also a local botanical group as we have stunning wildflowers and about 40 different native orchids. In general we’re happy to live somewhere where there are no other incomers…except we misss the UK passion for gardening. I get rustica and L’ami des jardins delivered which helps a bit.

Things we struggle with are not being able to get peat free compost and rubbish tools (sorry France, but apart from sarclers they aren’t much good).

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Hello Mary
Here is a link to a friend’s site that you may find interesting …

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Thanks for the link Ann… it does look interesting…especially as it promotes jardinage naturel. We are committed to 100% bio in our commune…

We also belong to our local CPIE - national organisation link here

Lat year we also joined in their open garden day - bienvenue dans mon jardin au naturel which was hard work but good fun. LInk here


We have loads of native plants in our garden, bracken, nettles, brambles and dandelions - all grow like weeds :persevere:


Well done Mark… you are doing your bit for the environment… my sort of gardening too… :grinning:

Actually, a neighbour goes gathering dandelion leaves to eat… have you tried that?

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Have you?, not known as pissenlit for nothing :joy::joy:

Only mixed in with other salad leaves…I don’t buy it, but have eaten it when out and about… no bad effects, so the mix may have contained the antidote :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I visited Les Jardins d’Ordesa ( to buy fruit trees - not only do they have some old Limousin varieties, but they are also very friendly, and not sparing with advice - where to put fig trees, what grows well in the area, even had quinces and medlars (and made me taste the latter). It’s always worth finding a good small nursery like this rather than heading straight for Delbard or the garden section of the supermarket - you will get a lot of good advice and local knowledge. We also got help with managing to get the (quite large) trees into the car and tying the boot down well enough to be just about legal to drive away.


Oh, and I forgot; look out for Troc’plantes. We have two or three near us - plant swapping days with some professionals and a lot of keen amateur gardeners. Also a permaculture guy who is at several of the vides-greniers and sells comfrey (superb fertiliser plant) and herbs, and again, is a mine of information on all aspects of gardening.

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Troc’plantes sounds great, although I doubt there is much demand for the pittospermum tobira seedlings that seem to self seed everywhere here on the south coast, 13500. Pittospermum tobira here seems to be a bit like griselinea in Ireland, I don’t think it’s native but I can see a few in every garden that has a low enough wall to see over!
There is a lady with a great herb stall at the market in Arles who runs a herb nursery near Aix which I plan to visit when it opens to the public in the Spring.
The only tool I have brought with me is my Felco secateurs and since then have bought a lovely pruning saw in a Botanic garden centre, the brand is Bahco, it has a lovely wooden handle and is double toothed, makes short work of all those pittospremum tobira branches that try to put my eye out!

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Hi Jane,

Please, do ‘rabbit on’ as you say. You sound really knowledgable.

Anyway… I just wondered: what are ‘sarclers’?

Well I’ve been gardening for a long time…

Sarclers are weeders, and many different types here so as well as hoes (pousse-pousse) you have binettes and lots of other shapes for upright and kneeling wedding that I forget the specific names of. It’s very much personal taste, and what weeds you have and where. Although having said I like some of the french ones, my favorite is still the Japanese razor hoe.

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Sell comfrey! Blimey, we give it away to anyone who passes the door…lovely plant/lovely fertiliser but grows like topsy.

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Here in the Charentes, it’s been dry (as it has been everywhere). We have a pond from which I pump some water to try and keep things alive in the garden.

One plant I noticed in the lawn looks like chamomile, and I wonder if anyone grows this in their lawns. It smells wonderful and the blooms are small white daisy-shaped flowers.

I’d love to hear how gardens are going, and lawns, these days? Wherever you are located in France?