Gardening in Uzès
You wish to enjoy your garden in the Gard ? First you have to learn a bit more about the plants of the region.
God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures. Francis Bacon (1625) Essays ‘Of Gardens’
Rosemary and Thyme, and many more
The rosemary (photo), the plant of the Virgin Mary can be found in almost every garden. Aromatic, with blue flowers when blooming, it is great for planting, and perfect for cooking. The thyme (a member of the rosemary family) is also an ally for the heath as preparing thyme infusion when having a cold is just what you need. It will help you treat and get rid of the colds and sour throat. And in a herb bouquet, the thyme will make a great companion for the laurel.
Then comes the sage, perfect for a digestive herbal tea. Fresh, it can be chiseled on some pasta dishes or for topping a pizza. Dry, you will keep it all winter long and add it to your dressing. Success guaranted as the sage will make its effect when put on a fresh salad !
Speaking of which, there are some salad species living freely in the wild, such as the wild chicory or the dandelion.
Trees and shrubs
It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. Robert Louis Stevenson
The downy oak, the holm oak (the black truffles love this one) and even the white oak or the khermes oak are some of the most common trees in the region, as well as the juniper cade or the maple tree from Montpellier, and the huge hackberry. Much shorter, the strawberry trees can be found in the wild, when the almond trees with its white flowers and the pistachio will be found in some gardens and agricultural exploitations.Then, the aerian alchilea and the strong and tough genista (photo) will have a go in your garden if you decide to.
My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. Claude Monet
Plants and more
Playing with the wind and the sun, here is the green and yellowish euphorbia. As well, the santolina, with is green flower stems and yellow little flowers can be found in the countryside, and your garden. There is too the Centranthus ruber which will give some pinky and red touches in the wild, and the dark blue carnation (oeillet bleu de Montpellier), with its tiny delicate flowers, between blue and purple.
What to grow in your South of France garden ?
«Can the garden save us ? How the power of Nature can change life as we know it ? » Veranda magazine, Tracy Minkin, Feb 2021*
Here is for you to find out :
You can try to plant 2 or 3, and even more, of the various colored oleanders (white, red, yellow, even apricot), some lavander (photo) and South African agapanthus (purple or white), some delicate red sage (a nice combination of red and white) and chamomile (with white petals and strong yellow pistil, photo). Another touch of color could be added with the beautiful blue or pink flowering echinops (photo), loving sunny, dry and hot weather, and even poppies (photo).
For more pink or purple colouring, you can turn to the short cistus crispus (crispus apparently meaning waved), with its delicate blooming flowers. You can even turn to rose bushes. Rose bushes love the Gard. Just have a look at the roses (photo) in the villages around Uzès and you will know what to expect in your garden if you treat them well : Yellow, red, pink, orange, they are offering a wide range of shades.
Another great idea would be to plant flax, which has small and beautiful flowers, and add some scent with jasmin trees. Their persistent fragrance will specially express itself at night or after the rain. To bring some sunny scent to your garden during winter, you can choose without any regret the acacia retinodes. The ever green branches will carry some beautiful and full of fragrance tiny yellow pompoms. It will be love at first sight for sure !
« The garden, a human invention that meets nature at her threshold – provides sustenance of literal, aesthetic, spiritual, and even metaphorical value. » Veranda*
As it will be very hard to find French olive trees (they almost all disappeared many years ago), an option will be to buy Spanish or Italian trees. But if you want to stay with the French touch, try to plant a fig tree or one or two mulberry trees. Their canopy, when fully grown, will give you the perfect shades for summer.
« Heart rate and blood pressure drop within minutes of exposure to natural surroundings like parks and gardens… The scents of blooms from lavender, rosemary… summon mood-elevating chemicals. The scent of roses actually allows our body to hang onto endorphin highs longer, extending that blissful inhalation. »*, extract of the book of Sue Stuart-Smith - The Well-Gardened Mind, Veranda*
Those are some examples of what to plant in your French garden.
Now, feel free to visit some plants nurseries, agricultural cooperatives or garden centres in Uzès or around. There are so many : you will find information, advice and all you need to create or complete your garden.
* Veranda magazine article, by Tracey Minkin