Mr and Mrs Louis Gastrez from Mons have to manage a large lawn area. They often hear about reasoned mowing and want to know more.
For decades, the lawn had to be regularly and perfectly mowed.
Not one grass taller than another and, what a horror, certainly no “weeds”!
The use of fertilizers, phytosanitary products and mainly selective herbicides was commonplace.
Those times are completely and definitely over!
Watering a lawn, an ecological heresy
In recent years, hot and dry summers have become more and more frequent and it is certainly not over. In the gardens, the plants suffer all the more because very often they are not species that are particularly resistant to such severe drought conditions. The grass also suffers and becomes straw-colored. Watering a lawn has become a complete ecological heresy and we must therefore find alternatives.
Differentiated mowing, an alternative
Differentiated mowing consists of mowing only the paths that will allow access to crucial points in the garden such as the vegetable patch, the chicken coop or the compost to name but a few examples. This mowing therefore requires a good initial reflection to trace these “mowed paths”. This mowing technique also involves adjusting the cutting heights depending on the location of the garden. Examples.
In the pleasure garden, mowing is a little more frequent without mowing at ground level, which is harmful for the lawn, while in the orchard it is quite possible to mow the grass only at the harvest times.
Don’t let it all grow
There is no question of being invaded by brambles or nettles except in the wild areas of the garden.
Care must also be taken to remove any woody plants that have appeared by natural seedlings. The insertion of native plants (poppies, cornflowers, chrysanthemums, centaury, etc.) along the mowed areas is entirely possible, either by sowing or by planting.
A reserve for biodiversity
The tall grasses form an interesting reserve for biodiversity with its micromammals and insects.
Many pollinating insects and other allies of the gardener make it possible to have a well-balanced garden and generally these gardens pose few problems since the interactions between unmowed areas and the others are beneficial.
In calm waters: The small lens is a floating plant
The little duckweed (Lemna minor), also called frog grain or bourrette, measures less than 0.5 centimeters in diameter. It is a herbaceous plant on which it is very difficult to differentiate the stem and the leaves and the whole is called a thallus. Its single root can measure nearly 10 centimeters which is fabulous compared to the size of the plant. As it is a floating plant, the root in question does not seek to settle in the mud but serves above all to capture nutrients that will feed the plant. Even though the little lentil blooms from time to time, it is very difficult to spot the flowers as they are almost microscopic. Duckweed essentially multiplies by budding of the thalli. Each young thallus separates very quickly from the mother plant to live its own life and this is how our Lemna sets out to conquer aquatic surfaces. The small lens marks a clear preference for calm waters. Thus, they are very commonly found on the surface of ponds, ponds, quiet streams and water gardens. The only thing that strongly puts Lemna off is a hastoo pronounced acidity of the water (pH less than 5). The plant floats freely, in the wind, on the water and sometimes covers it with a continuous green carpet. We then have the strange impression of being faced with an expanse of lawn while we have a pond covered with lentils! When the beautiful season comes to an end, the Lemna thalli die and sink to the bottom of ponds, ponds and other bodies of water. Fortunately nature is well made and each thallus at the end of its life protects within it from small buds which remain very much alive during the cold months. When the fine weather returns, the water temperature gradually rises and our little buds rise to the surface to give birth to new little lenses. As an indication, 100 water lenses can give life in one year to more than 2,500 young plants. Enough to cover large areas!
Summer plant: the Japanese anemone generally flowers from August to October
The Japanese anemone quickly develops a strong rounded clump composed of dark green leaves, slightly hairy on the underside and bearing very visible veins. This normally deciduous foliage can be semi-evergreen in relatively mild winters. The flowering of these beautiful anemones occurs during the second part of summer, generally from August to October. At the time of flowering, “classic” Japanese anemones can reach 80 cm to 1 m in height for a spread of about sixty centimeters. For abundant flowering, it is important to install these very hardy perennials (they resist to – 25°C) in partial shade or in the sun, except in hot situations. Well-drained soil that keeps a good coolness in summer, rich in humus (loam, perfectly decomposed compost) suits it perfectly. Absolutely avoid: soggy land in winter because it quickly causes root rot and calcareous soils. Ideally, planting is done in autumn or at the very beginning of spring at a density of 4 plants per m². Failure ? Perhaps her ability to become somewhat intrusive when she is enjoying herself in her new surroundings. There is nothing very complicated for the maintenance of these plants: faded flowers must be removed regularly so as not to exhaust the plants and at the end of flowering cut the deflowered stems at the base.