Garden Rant readers are savvy – thanks for all the great ideas. We
have a winner! Laura Bell's thoughtful, practical advice rings so true to
the spirit of "The New Low Maintenance Garden":
"This sounds like the opposite of what most folks
would think, but I simply replaced the low-/no-maintenance plants my home's
builder put in with plants I enjoy maintaining … or don't care if they look
messy. For example, I removed the flax & photinia which have a high maintenance-to-joy
ratio & replaced them with shrub roses, and fruit trees & shrubs. Sure,
there's still work involved, but it's picking, eating or preserving the fruit,
and minimal pruning – & I use as much of the trimmings from that as is
possible for compost, or trellises, hiking sticks, doll houses & crafts.
Going organic cut out so many "chores" it was a revelation. I still
spend the same amount of time in the garden, but now it's enjoyable, the kids
can be right beside me no matter what I'm doing and they often want to join me
in my tasks because they can see Mom is smiling while she works."