Photography: Claire de Virieu





The ecological attitude is above all a wish to consume as little as possible: energy, water, manufactured materials. Grey energy is the quantity of energy necessary for the life cycle a material or product.: production, extraction, transformation, manufacture, transportation, put into practice, use, maintenance and in the end, recycling. Taking into account all these parameters is necessary to reduce the environmental impact. In a garden, reducing grey energy expenditure can be conducted at several levels: limiting the transportation of materials and taking away the waste materials, recycling (gravel or worthless earth used for land-fill, vegetable waste converted into compost), making technical choices (gravity rather than a pump, appropriate lighting). the most important is to make maximum use of what already exists rather than manufacture new products, even if they are ecological.



Automatic watering with porous hoses and drip irrigation is the least greedy in water consumption. Do not hesitate to change the programming according to the weather-forecasts and seasons to limit consumption. There are also rain-detectors on the market, temporarily cutting off the sprinkling programme. They require manual control as they are difficult to regulate.



The maintenance of my own gardens (organic fertilizer, fighting insects and disease) is entirely organic. Leafy trees, bamboo, lawn: add nitrogen

  • In slow release forms in February/March with horn meal (good for the whole season)

  • In short release forms in April with dried blood. When a plant is suffering (from spring to late summer), you can give it a boost with dried blood followed by abundant sprinklings.




Fruit trees and bushes or flowering vegetables: add fishbone powder or bone meal in February/March (good for the whole season).


Preventive treatments (parasites, stains, etc.) : Neem oil in the spring. Organic treatments require a behavioural adaptation. Since these products do not have a persistent effect, they act in a more gentle manner and have to be used preventively and repeatedly to have a demonstrable effect. Gardeners looking after my gardens start out by being disappointed and all end up, if they persevere a few months, by asking me for a new batch of Neem oil. Moreover, Neem oil has a slightly fertilizing effect: it acts like foliar fertilizer, which is ideal for starting plantings with insufficient tufted roots.






The slope, a constraint from the outset, becomes the dominant feature of this garden inpired by alpine meadows

Area: 1000 sq m
Location: Marnes-la-Coquette
Biotope: sun and humidity
Eco-garden: 5/5




[caption id="attachment_388" align="alignnone" width="780"]01-coulisse-eco-jardin 2008: location photo the steep slope of the embankment inspires an Alpine garden.[/caption]