Ivy, bindweed, nettle, clover… and so many others. How to curb them – without chemicals, of course – why love them? Each plant attracts a different species of animal. Nettles are a glaring example, serving as a pantry for superb caterpillars and butterflies that eat little or nothing else. The vulcan, the peacock, the little turtle and the map are closely associated with nettles. Always give up a little piece of wild nature to fill all the little critters that inhabit your garden, and encourage them to stay there. Even the bindweed, this unloved, attracts a pretty twilight butterfly: the bindweed sphinx.
► The bindweed, why not give it a place?
Ah, precisely, the bindweed, what a plague … but, it is so beautiful! There are no miracle recipes to get rid of it, apart from manual lifting. And again, because it only takes a small piece of root remaining in the ground for the plant to start again. The worst ? It is when the ground is jostled, turned over, dug, and that the root breaks into several pieces, each giving a new plant. It is necessary to pull it out when it becomes tangled in raspberries, tangles in perennials or climbing roses. Where it becomes very painful is when it mixes with convolvulus, ipomeas and other volubilis, the foliage being quite similar. But, at the bottom of the garden, why not give it a place? The foliage flows between the hedge shrubs, the large and lovely corollas flutter, attracting pollinating insects …
► Ivy, love it without crossing the line
As for ivy, we can only love it! Sometimes, moaning… It accepts all kinds of exposure, all climates and it is one of the rare plants that can live both outdoors and indoors. It is especially in winter that this plant, one of the strongest in the plant world, reveals all its attractions. It is precisely this solidity that is scary, because ivy can be invasive. It’s up to you to watch it so that it doesn’t overstep the line. It lends itself to many uses, thanks to its ability to grow in difficult situations, both attacking a wall or a tree, as well as playing ground covers. The birds nest there, feeding on black and round berries (toxic to humans) in winter and the insects and larvae that frequent it. In the house, he takes part in the decorations. And it is a plant full of medicinal properties, always to be used externally: compresses, baths, poultices …
► Nettle, an exquisite savage
Nettle, it is adorned with all the qualities: for experienced gardeners, and for gourmets! The others only see a nasty stinging grass. What a pity for them. If you have a well-balanced garden, nettle invites itself. Its multiple uses make it an essential wild girl. It is an exquisite edible, nutritious and regenerative plant, especially in spring. Put what you cut and don’t eat in the composter to help the compost ripen. Keep a few leafy stems (no flowers and no seeds!) For mulching the vegetable garden. Put a good handful of chopped leaves at the bottom of the planting holes of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, to protect them from mildew. And concoct liquid manure and other magic potions. Fermented or not, these mixtures help to preserve our health and our environment; they are not miracle cures. Being above all stimulating and strengthening, these preparations allow plants to better resist diseases and pests. Rich in nitrogen, trace elements, iron and magnesium, nettle is a good fertilizer, as a basic supply. It stimulates the microbial flora of the soil and vegetation, and strengthens the immune defenses of plants.
→ PRACTICAL. Let’s open the garden shed