Planter of wild flowers

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Wild flowers that grow along the roadsides, weeds that happen and ask for a piece of soil, beautiful flowers, sometimes medicinal , often honey are waiting for you! Just observe, collect some seeds at the right time , and hop – it changes the everlasting pot of petunias !

Hey, by the way, do you know where the term “weed” came from? From the Latin adventicius, which means that adds , additional, coming from abroad . ”  So we have all kinds of good reasons to consider weeds as harmful, and to try to get rid of them …” – example taken from the almanac of the French Farmer – 1932, editions La Terre nationale, p. 83. Fun, right?

The idea of ​​gardening with wild plants came to us in the middle of the Friche Saint Sauveur in Lille, an area of ​​23 hectares in the city, abandoned for more than 14 years. The wasteland is a former freight station whose few buildings have been converted into a place of exhibition since 2009 – the famous Saint Sau , which Lille people know well. What they do not always know is that behind these sheds lies an area where nature has regained its rights! Between the old quays abandoned, we find pell-mell a small Mediterranean cricket , probably brought there by the nearby rail, and it r? Plu – when we tell you that it does not rain that much in Lille ! – aLizard of the walls , in short, an opportunistic wildlife that settles in, and that’s good news. And obviously, the flora is not left under the Buddleias quite invasive, hide fields Calamint, silvery cinquefoil, Molènes, Lagure oval and pretty Blackstonie perfoliée … for example!

In short … We looked at this flora around us, dumbfounded, and we said to ourselves … And if, of these wild flowers found everywhere, we also made planters?

According to a Paris-Nature inventory made in 1995, 362 plant species would naturally be present on the borders of the Seine and canals in Paris intramural. There is plenty to do !

Some basic tips!

  • Pay attention to the ground : most savages also have their favorite terrain! It is generally advisable to mix loam and some compost or compost: in general, savages will often have relatively poor soil , which is often the case with bins.
  • For watering , you should be quiet: here too the savages are less fragile than their cult sisters. Unless, of course, you put buttercups, meadow flowers, in your planter in full sun …
  • Be careful with the size of the containers ! Some savages grow up quickly, and will not like in too small bins! Observe them in nature, to avoid finding yourself with a tasty grass – certainly pretty, but can reach 1 meter – in a pot of 10 cm.

Benefits to wildflowers!

  • Reduced maintenance . Most wildflowers are much more resistant to everything, and for good reason!
  • By doing well, you can arrange to have blooming blooms , and even foliage out of season.
  • You make a gesture for pollinators : many marketed flowers have grown to pesticides . We do not necessarily realize it, 
    but bio is not about us …
  • You save money Seeds, plants, fertilizers, water …
  • And you take the opportunity to learn stuff. She is not beautiful for life?

Some disadvantages to know

  • Nature does not care about aesthetics (even if it’s often beautiful, but in a nutshell: it’s not its goal, your flowers will have less shimmering colors , less exuberant, less blooming than your neighbor’s. So what?
  • In pots, some will like, others not. It’s up to you to try and observe , and take the time to do it.
  • We have no other ideas in fact, we went around the disadvantages

So, what can I put in my planter?

A bit of everything, the idea is to go glean , in most cases to harvest seeds. If possible near you . The following list is therefore in no way exhaustive! But it’s just to give you ideas .

As an example, Sorinak showed us his finds, including the image of header, poppies , dill , and blueberries !

Pell-mêle, we can find:

  • Wild geraniums – which will please in a shade with a beautiful foliage.
  • The stellar whose roots are superficial, will be well potted.
  • The campion , there are several colors – also called companion!
  • Of dandelions , obviously. Besides the leaves are eaten! Be careful, the dandelion likes a relatively rich soil.
  • The speedwell rustic is a seed plant that loves the poor soils.
  • The achilée , in the same kind, indestructible.
  • The borage , a year which will tend to reseed spontaneously if she likes.
  • In the shade, a ground ivy can do its little effect!
  • Buttercups – the famous golden buttons ! To grow in a pot that will keep you moist enough, the buttercup hates the dry land.

Sorinak also found rampant bugles, which in one season gave this:

  • In a medium-sized tray, clovers – Trifolium pratense – with their pretty pink flowers will marry with daisies – Leucanthemum vulgare – or centauries (Centaurea jacea sl) …
  • If you are the type to forget the watering, do not forget the thistles !
  • The houseleek grow naturally in the walls: rock tireless plants, they provide surprising miniature landscapes in massive rock gardens or dry boxes. 
    The flowers in corollas are very spectacular, usually pink.
  • Finally, to sow, harvesting the seeds when you can: poppies , nigelle fields and adorable wild sylvan !

A pretty Malva sylvestris that will have nothing to envy the petunias of the neighbor! A photo signed blackpictures .

Acquire help

Two last things! Watch out for protected species. Especially in neglected areas, wastelands, railroad edges, you can meet rare and sometimes protected species: do not touch . In case of doubt, take the advice of an association, there are hundreds in France who will be happy to help you. Be careful too, some plants can be toxic . Again, a helping hand from an asso can be beneficial !

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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