Hedges, or the art of combining utility with pleasant vegetation

the essential
For this new chronicle of the Council for Architecture, Urban Planning and the Environment (CAUE), an approach to plant development with Lucile Dif, landscaper-advisor.

Colette wants to remove her cedar hedge, which she finds banal and drab. But what to replace it with? Located on the outskirts of a village, Colette’s house is close to the countryside. A precious source of inspiration according to Lucile Dif, landscape architect-advisor to CAUE: “Take the time to observe the landscape around you, the hedges that define the fields, the small and large plants that make them up, and the way they fit together. Brooms, pistachios, strawberry trees, hawthorns, laurels… are species that are well adapted locally to the climate and the soil. You could compose with them a variegated field hedge to flourish throughout the year, even greedy, planting fruit varieties”. Colette will also have to ask herself what she expects of him: shelter from the wind? Create intimacy? Attract insects and birds? “If the objective is to filter the wind and camouflage the neighbors, you should choose at least two thirds of persistent or marcescent plants (whose leaves wither without falling)”Lucille adds.

Towards a hedgerow

The proposal attracts Colette. And now ? “Choose plants whose mature dimensions correspond to your wishes, then you won’t need to prune them. Plant them between the stumps of cut thuyas, or in staggered rows, even several rows, avoiding too tight. The idea is that they no longer look like the hedge. limit of a space but to compose it as a massif. It could, for example, create welcoming niches in the heart of the garden and in other places, if it is refined to free the view of the landscape”. Another option is to do nothing at all. “A space left abandoned will be colonized. You can let the species that appear on their own grow and select them as you like. It costs nothing except time.”

What are the benefits for my garden?

“Variation in species reduces the risk of disease and parasites spreading. This hedge will also play a protective role against ravine erosion and against wind. Cedar, on the other hand, does not protect against wind. It is so compact that creates a barrier blockage, which can create quite violent vortices within the garden.” Lucile alerts Colette to the consequences: “A hedge will necessarily create a microclimate. This can be beneficial for an orchard protected from the wind but annoying for sunbathing!”

The CAUE educational garden can be visited during the opening hours of the Maison de l’Architecture et de l’Environnement de l’Aude, 28 avenue Claude Bernard in Carcassonne (9 am to 12 pm / 2 pm to 5 pm). For any information: 04 68 11 56 20.

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