Y'all please welcome Val Easton, here wade into the oh-so-tricky discussion over low-maintenance gardens. Don't gardeners want to garden? Isn't that the point? What say you? Say it with enough eloquence and spirit in the comments and we'll send you a copy of Val's book. Okay, here's Val:
Since Garden Rant is “flabbergasted at the idea of a ‘no maintenance garden’, I feel pretty lucky they let me on here to offer up a free copy of my fresh-off-the-presses book “The New Low Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It,” from Timber Press
Okay, this title wasn’t exactly my idea anyway. Turns out authors don’t get to pick their own titles anymore…that’s up to the marketers. I preferred “The Simplified Garden: How to Love Your Garden, Save Your Back and Get a Life”, and not just because it didn’t set me at odds with the Garden Rant Manifesto….
Can we agree that just about any garden has the potential to be at least lower maintenance? Maybe not maintenance free, but also not the great devourer of time and resources that so many of us are tied to tending….
And in that spirit, we’d love to hear about the stupidest, least necessary, most high maintenance task you’ve discarded along the way to enjoying your garden….an autographed copy of my book awaits one liberated gardener.
To kick start your maintenance memories….here’s a short list of things you never, ever, need do again:
· Double-digging, which used to be held up as the mark of a superior gardener (and one with an aching back) has been proven to damage the tilth of the soil. Better to simply layer compost and mulch on top, and let it filter down all by itself to improve the soil.
· Dig a deep hole for new plants. In fact, they suffer from soil amendments lovingly mixed in around their roots. This can stunt a plant’s growth long term– it needs to buck up and get used to the native soil it’ll be growing in. So dig a nice wide hole, no deeper than the root ball, and back fill with native soil. Really. You still need to water the plant in.
· Use a leaf blower. Raking leaves is good exercise and blessedly quiet… don’t worry about getting every leaf up. Your garden is outside, for goodness sake.
· Put pebbles, or the shards of a terra cotta pot in the bottom of a container to help drainage. Nope, not ever. Nor any Styrofoam noodles – just good soil all the way through is best. Water pools up where one material meets another, so sticking stuff in the bottom of pots is a sure way to drown your plants’ roots.
Let us know the best decision you’ve made to simplify your gardening life ….
Me? I’ve banished iris or any other perennial that needs dividing at the blink of an eye, and whittled my rose passion down to a single specimen (‘Westerland’) that’s so iconic, so deeply fragrant and ruffled, that it mutes my rose lust.
An autographed book awaits the cleverest/funniest/most likely to be widely imitated entry…..can’t wait to hear from you….