Garden KnowHow

Garden knowhow for your Mediterranean garden on the Côte d’Azur.

TThere are so many things to know and to consider when it comes to gardens and garden design and professional garden maintenance. Get a first overwiew here …

Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Tree and Palm Tree Care  

Trees and palm trees

Trees give your garden its main vertical structure. They add height, serve as focal points and – over the years and with the right attention – they become highly distinctive features of your property.
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Things to consider about trees and palm trees:

  • Soil assessment and soil preparation
  • Selecting trees
  • Cleaning out roots
  • Plant hole preparation
  • Installation of root watering systems
  • Transplanting shrubs and trees
  • Planting container, bare-root and root-balled trees
  • Initial pruning
  • Staking techniques for trees
  • Feathering trees
  • Training shrubs and small trees into standards
  • Protection of stem
  • Wind protection
  • After care & routine care for woody plants
    • Watering
    • Fertilizing
    • Mulching
    • Weeding around trees
    • Dealing with suckers and water shoots
    • Pest & disease control
  • Pruning
    • Thinning out
    • Formative pruning & training
    • Pleaching trees
    • Rejuvenating/renovating older trees
    • Crown lifting
    • Coppicing & pollarding, if applicable
    • Root pruning
  • Propagation
    • Hard & Softwood propagation
    • Pricking
    • Layering
    • Grafting
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Shrub and Hedge Care  

Shrubs & hedges

Shrubs provide the most important structure in your garden. They are quite low-maintenance and fill spaces between trees and lower herbaceous beds. With their enormous variety in leaf colours and sizes, growth, flowering and evergreen habits, shrubs are the ultimate tool to shape gardens from traditional, over classical to contemporary and new ornamental, no matter if you like your garden formal or informal.
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Things to consider about shrubs and hedges:

  • Soil assessment and soil preparation
  • Selecting shrubs
    • Choosing, preparing and planting hedges
    • Early training and pruning
    • Shaping hedges
    • Renovation of overgrown hedges
  • Plant hole preparation
  • Cleaning out roots
  • Planting container, bare-root and root-balled trees
  • Moving and transplanting shrubs and trees
  • Initial pruning
  • Staking and protecting shrubs
  • Routine care
    • Feeding
    • Watering
    • Mulching
    • Weeding
    • Removing suckers and weak growth
    • Removing mutations and reversions
    • Deadheading shrubs
  • Pruning & training shrubs
    • Formative pruning
    • Deciduous shrub pruning (spring pruning)
    • Post-flowering pruning of shrubs in summer
    • Removing shoots of shrubs with suckering habit
    • Pruning evergreen shrubs
    • Fan-training ornamental shrubs
    • Training and pruning wall shrubs
    • Training shrubs into standards
    • Root pruning
  • Renovation and rejuvenating of shrubs
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Topiary and Garden Bonsais 

Topiary & ‘garden bonsais’

Topiary is the perfect solution to get almost living garden art, if you like formal styles. These high-value features make decisive designs in a very unique garden. ‘Garden bonsais’ serve as the informal equivalent in Asian and contemporary style gardens and are works of art of their own kind.
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Things to consider about topiary and garden bonsais (see trees & shrubs):

  • Creating of shapes and new designs for topiary
  • Clipping
  • Routine care (see tree & shrub care)
  • Cloud pruning and routine outdoor bonsai care
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Fruit Trees and Shrubs, Citrus Trees and Vines 

Fruit trees & shrubs, citrus trees & grapes

Growing fruit gives you the invaluable opportunity of combining the joyful with the healthy, the beautiful, the ornamental, the formal and the informal. Who can ask for more? Whatever the reason may be why you want to have an orchard, it’s certainly worth while.
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Things to consider about fruit trees, shrubs, citrus trees and grapes:

  • Design/layout of decorative and maintainable fruit gardens (formal and informal)
  • Site preparation
    • Aspect
    • Ecological set up
    • Walls and shelter
    • Wind protection
    • Accessibility
    • Growth supports
    • Number and type of plants
  • Soil preparation and soil improvement
  • Drainage preparation
  • Installation of root watering systems
  • Choosing fruit trees
  • Standard planting (see tree and shrub care)
  • Mound planting
  • Container planting (most citrus types)
  • Cordon planting
  • Routine care
    • Thinning
    • Fertilizing
    • Mulching
    • Watering
    • Wind and frost protection
    • Pest and disease control
    • Staking and tying
  • Pruning and training of fruit trees and shrubs
    • Formative pruning after planting and first 3 seasons
    • Training for shape and fruit
    • Root pruning
    • Cane training
    • Fan, espalier and wall training
    • (Double) Cordons and pyramids
    • Soft fruit training according to individual specimen
    • Checking fruit and growth buds
  • Nicking and notching where necessary
  • Winter pruning: spurs, thinning, rejuvenation and regulating cuts
  • Summer pruning: checking vegetative growth
  • Renovating and rejuvenating fruit trees and shrubs
  • Propagation through cuttings and layering

Choosing GRAPES

  • Site preparation (see above)
  • Planting grapes
  • Routine care: cleaning of vegetative growth, pest and disease control
  • Cordon training
  • Guyot training
  • Summer pruning
  • Harvesting & winter pruning
  • Propagation through cuttings
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Rose Care 


The rose has been named the Queen of flowering plants. There are few plants that can compete with her variety in colours of both, blossoms and leaves, in growth habit and scent. She is not exactly low maintenance – but which true beauty is? Many say it’s impossible to grow English roses on the French Riviera successfully. Well, that’s simply not true.
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Things to consider about roses:

  • Choosing healthy roses
  • Soil preparation (see shrub planting)
  • Rose preparation for planting (roots and shoots)
  • Planting roses in formal and informal layouts
  • Planting roses in pots
  • Training rambling roses up to walls, arbours and pergolas
  • Training standards
  • Care for ground covering roses
  • Routine rose care
    • Watering
    • Fertilizing
    • Mulching
    • Dead heading
    • Regular clean up
    • Pest & disease control
  • Pruning and training of roses, bush roses, climbing and rambling roses
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Perennial Care 


Perennials are the source of an almost unlimited variety of shapes, sizes, colours, foliage, textures and scents. For every purpose there are perennials: to highlight, to blend, to frame or to create backdrops. Perennials are the designer’s tools to create colourful interest as seasons change. Caring for them is less maintenance as many people think.
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Things to consider about perennials:

  • Choosing plants according to design and site
  • Soil preparation and planting perennials
  • Soil improvement
  • Planting perennials acc. to the individual specimen’s needs (ground-level, raised, shallow, deep)
  • Designing and planting perennial pot arrangements
  • Routine care for perennials
    • Watering
    • Fertilizing
    • Mulching
    • Thinning
    • Dead heading
    • Autumn clearance & winter care
    • Dividing
  • Transplanting
  • Lifting and dividing of perennials in planned cycles
  • Propagation of perennials by division and stem and root cuttings
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Climber Care 


Climbers show their invaluable talent in adding – often flowering – vertical interest, where trees cannot be planted or space is limited, e.g. with walls, trellises or columns. Climbers can create shade in summer while providing light in the wintertime. They are suitable for informal or formal purposes and come into play successfully where structures, like pergolas have to be covered, or even hidden like fences or palm tree stumps.
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Things to consider about climbers:

  • Design, building and set-up of growth supports for climbing plants
  • Choosing climbing plants
  • Planting climbers (see tree & shrub planting)
  • Routine care: feeding, watering, dead-heading, pest and disease control
  • Maintaining container plants
  • Formative pruning and training
  • Pruning established climbing plants
  • Renovation of climbers
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Containers, Pots and Basin Plantings 

Containers, pots & basin plantings

Containers, pots and planting basins are indispensible for their versatility: they can give structure to both, classical and contemporary gardens, and they can be used for longterm or for seasonal planting. With a wide choice of plants there is almost no place where a container garden couldn’t be created, be it rooftops and atriums, patios or around a swimming pool.
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Things to consider about containers, pots and basins:

  • Planning and layout of container arrangements
  • Soil preparation according to plant needs
  • Planting of long-term and seasonal interest container plants
  • Training and pruning of long-term container plants (small standard trees)
  • Routine care for container plants
    • Watering
    • Feeding
    • Cleaning and grooming
    • Deadheading
  • Routine care for trees, shrubs and woody plants in containers
    • Feeding
    • Cleaning
    • Pruning
    • Root rejuvenation
    • Re-potting
    • Winter protection
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Grass and No-Grass Lawns 

Grass & no-grass lawns

For many a lawn is the essence of a garden. Set up and maintained correctly and with constant love, it can be a nice, though high-maintenance, feature in a contemporary garden, in one of our “new ornamental” designs, or it may tie together different flower borders in a more traditional setting. While a classic lawn never is cheap or easy-care, there are good alternatives for the French Riviera, that create the same interest – while requiring much less unsustainable gardening.
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Things to consider about lawns:

  • Planning and layout of grass and no-grass lawns
    • Play areas
    • Sports areas: putting greens & chipping areas
    • Flower rich grass areas (meadows)
  • Choosing grass types
  • Mixing grass types
  • Soil and site preparation
  • Installation of standard and sub-soil (root) watering systems
  • Installation of lawn drainage system
  • Installation of lawns:
    • Turfing or sowing,
    • Protection and aftercare of newly established lawn
    • Weed control
    • Sanding
    • ph adjusting
    • Levelling
    • Creating slopes
    • Building green steps
    • Firming
    • Raking
    • Fertilizing
  • Routine lawn care
    • Mowing
    • Removing of clippings
    • Removing of leaves
    • Edge trimming
    • Fertilizing
    • Aerating (slitting or spiking)
    • Scarifying
    • Top-dressing
    • Rolling
    • Weed control
  • Renovating lawns
  • Installing substitute patches
  • Repairing edges and hollows
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Irrigation Systems 

Automatic irrigation systems

Never has responsible watering been more important than today. Water should never be the reason not to have a garden. Because with introducing the right irrigation system to a garden, every plant receives the right amount of water at the right time.
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Things to consider about automatic irrigation systems:

  • Planning, choosing and administration of set-up of water collection systems
  • Planning, choosing and setting-up of automatic (micro drip) irrigation systems
  • Water wise planting techniques
  • Adjustment of micro drip systems according to needs of individual plants
  • Seasonal control, adjustment and repair of irrigation systems, cleaning of filters and nozzles, adjustment of programmed watering cycles etc.
  • Installation of root irrigation systems for trees and woody plants
  • Installation of misting systems
  • Installation and administration of web-based irrigation controllers
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Soil Improvement, Drainage and Water Evacuation 

Soil improvement, drainage & water evacuation

Soil is the ground on which your plants will grow – or thrive. Where soils are poor, clayey, rocky, shallow, and slow draining and where they contain little to no organic matter and soil biota, plant life and its performance will be limited. It is possible to change that!
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Things to consider about soils, drainage and water evacuation:

  • Identification and testing of soil types
  • Testing of soil’s drainage properties
  • Improvement of soil structures through
    • Digging
    • Rotavating
    • Punctual drilling and
    • amelioration of soil by

      • Compost
      • Mulches
      • (green) Manures
      • Fertilizers
  • Planning and administration of/or installation of drainage systems, soakaways, lawn drainage systems and means of storm water evacuation (e.g. swales)
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Pests, Diseases & Plant Disorders 

Pests, diseases & plant disorders

The best garden maintenance cannot completely prevent plant problems or infections of plants every once in a while. But it’s good to see them coming, and it’s even better to have – where possible – ecologically responsible treatments at hand.
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Things to consider about plant pests, diseases and plant disorders:

  • Prevention of plant problems (plant choice, soils, garden hygiene)
  • Disease analysis and – where possible – organic and biological treatment of plant problems
  • Attraction of wildlife and natural disease controls
  • Techniques of hand weeding, weed prevention and weed control
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Tools and Work Areas, Composts 

Tools & work areas, compost areas

Gardening can be great fun and having a functional, well organized work area or professionally maintained tool shed, can even add an attractive feature to your garden. A compost area though, will serve as your source of a healthy, first quality soil, where happy plants will thrive. >> [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]

Things to consider about garden work areas and composts:

  • Selection and acquisition of quality gardening tools
  • Techniques of repair and maintenance of gardening tools
  • Planning, installation and furnishing of complete garden work areas
  • Planning, set-up and maintenance of functional and odourless compost and leafmould systems
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Frost and Wind Protection 

Frost & wind protection

Wind protection will be considered right from the start when we design a garden. But with already established gardens there sometimes still is the need for additional wind and frost protection.
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Things to consider about wind and frost protection:

  • Installation of correct temporary plant insulations
  • Frost barriers
  • Mounds
  • Temporary or permanent wind protections and/or wind breaks
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Herb and Kitchen Gardens 

Herb & kitchen gardens

There are not many plants which can be enjoyed as much as herbs and vegetables from your own kitchen garden during the warm season. Not only deliver kitchen gardens, tasty, healthy and great food in a sustainable way, they also add special interest to your garden, an interest of the finest quality. They give children and guests an opportunity to learn and interact with plants and wildlife and they can be extraordinarily beautiful – formal or informal.
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Things to consider about kitchen gardens:

  • Planning, layout and installation of formal and informal herb, kitchen, vegetable and fruit gardens
  • Designed borders, beds and parterres
  • Decorative raised beds
  • Stylish vegetable plantings
  • Choosing suitable and healthy plants
  • Drainage preparation
  • Soil preparation and planting/sowing of herbs, salads and vegetables
  • Protected planting of invasive herbs
  • Construction and/or setting up of growth supports
  • Planting and maintenance of climbing vegetables
  • Routine care and maintenance
    • Clean up and cutting back
    • Dead heading
    • Watering
    • Feeding
    • Mulching
  • Autumn clearance
  • Maintenance of soil fertility
  • Weed and pest control
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Water Gardens and Water Features 

Moving & standing water features & water gardens

Water features have been special attractions since there are gardens. It is moving water, a stream, a pond, a small fountain or a pool surrounded by lush exotic plantings, which adds the sound of the south and the sparkling of carefree and serene holidays.
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Things to consider about water features:

  • Design, layout and installation or administration of construction of moving and standing water gardens & water features (ponds, fountains, spouts, streams, waterfalls, water courses, bog gardens, natural & wildlife ponds …)
  • Musical fountains and water featues
  • Choosing plants
  • Planting of water, bog and moisture loving plants
  • Routine care: water quality, cleaning, thinning out and dividing of plants, autumn and winter care
  • Propagation of bog and water plants
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Rock Gardens  

Rock gardens

A water wise garden doesn’t necessarily result in a dull and dry landscape. Especially when dealing with steep or terraced properties, rock gardens can establish a large piece of art, be it classic Mediterranean, more contemporary with scattered art and stunning light effects for the night, or even Asian with amazing specimen trees.
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Things to consider about rock gardens:

  • Layout, planning and administration of rock garden constructions
  • Choosing plants
  • Scree and dry rock river plantings
  • Gravel beds
  • Plants in pavements
  • Raised beds
  • Planting in natural stone walls and built dry stone walls
  • Container planting
  • Building crevice gardens in natural and artificial walls
  • Routine care for rock gardens: renewing top dressing, cleaning, weeding, feeding
  • Propagation of rock garden plants through division, basal, softwood, leaf and root cuttings
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Cacti, Succulent and Desert Gardens 

Cacti, succulent, desert & xeriscape gardens

Cacti and other desert plants are so graphic they just seem to be made for minimal modern and contemporary garden designs. While cacti usually also require an amendment of the soil, they are probably the lowest maintenance choice for your garden. Together with elegant materials or bold rocks they make perfect xeriscape gardens.
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Things to know about cacti, succulent, desert & xeriscape gardens:

  • Planning and layout of cacti, succulent and desert (xeriscape) gardens
  • Proper soil, compost and planting preparation with emphasis on drainage
  • Choosing succulents for formal and informal cacti gardens
  • Adapting succulent planting for containers, raised beds and rock gardens
  • Planting cacti and succulents
  • Routine care: ventilating, watering, feeding, cleaning and re-potting
  • Propagation of cacti from leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, pad and stem sections, offsets and divisions
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Planting Annuals and Biannuals 

Annuals & biannuals

For smaller areas in the garden, special interest situations or temporary and showy effects, annuals are the right choice. No matter if you are celebrating a jubilee, a wedding or just need some ‘extra’ colour spot for the season, annual plantings can be used for many different design purposes, from traditional French border designs to cool and innovative ‘new ornamental’ parterres.
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Things to consider:

  • Soil and spot preparation
  • Planting layouts for annual beds and borders
  • Sowing, pricking and planting of annuals
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Bulbuous Plant Care

Bulbous plants

Whereas in northern locations bulbs can be a problem, as most of them need to be taken out for the winter and stored properly, in Mediterranean regions the only issue could be a not freely draining soil and water logged surroundings.
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Things to consider about bulbs:

  • Choosing bulbous plants
  • Soil preparation and planting
  • Planting layout for bulbous/mixed beds and borders
  • Set up of ornamental bulbous containers
  • Routine care for bulbous plants: lifting, drying, cleaning, sorting, dividing and storing bulbs
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Propagation

Plant propagation

Why always buy plants, when there is time to wait? There is a time for every concept: sometimes you wish for a perfect solution right away. For other situations, propagating plants can be the perfect solution to slowly but steadily fill up beds in your garden with plants that are already there, especially during the winter time.
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Things to consider:

  • Softwood and hardwood cuttings
  • Seed harvesting
  • Sowing seeds & aftercare, pricking, transplanting
  • Layering, Air-Layering & Stooling
  • Division
Green Parrot Gardens | Garden Maintenance | Conservatories, Greenhouses and Indoor Gardens

Conservatories, greenhouses & interior gardens

While conservatories and greenhouses seem to be for plant specialists, they are becoming more and more popular. That’s not a mystery. Imagine you could have a true tropical paradise on the Mediterranean, with plants that don’t do +5 to 0 degrees Celsius. The solution is a greenhouse!
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Things to consider about greenhouses:

  • Assessing plots for greenhouses on a property
  • Choosing and ordering or design of conservatories and greenhouses
  • Administration/Preparation of construction site for greenhouses
  • Administration of delivery, set up and technical furnishing of conservatories (irrigation & feeding systems, ventilation, heating, shading ect.)
  • Choosing suitable greenhouse plants, layout of greenhouse and tropical planting schemes, set-up
  • Soil and compost preparation and planting of greenhouse plants: orchids, epiphytes, hanging displays, tropical plants etc.
  • Maintenance and routine care of cool, temperate and warm greenhouses
    • Humidity
    • Watering
    • Feeding
    • Shading
    • Ventilation
    • Cleaning
    • Renovation
    • Pest and disease control
    • Re-potting
  • Propagation by division, rootstocks, runners, offsets and bulbils, cuttings, leaf-buds, leaves, layering, air layering