Thursday, December 29, 2005

An Easy Garden

If you are looking a garden that is easy to care for, then here are some of the factors you should consider. Sit down and think about these questions, being honest about your abilities and desires.

Does your garden have features that you do not care to maintain? Roses are beautiful, but they do take work, such as cutting them back and covering them for the winter. There are other beautiful plants that may be more work than you want. If so, then admit it. Either do not buy them or give them away if you already have them.

Will you be starting your garden from scratch? Here is a word to the wise. Even if you are an experienced gardener starting over in a new area, do not overdo it the first couple of year. You do not know what kinds of unanticipated problems will occur, such as storm water drainage or a blocked sun. Keep it simple in the first few years of your garden and add on slowly.

Do you hate pulling weeds? Okay, if you absolutely hate it, then find another hobby. If it is just too much in certain areas, think about adding a gravel path or gravel edging to the garden. You can still use the area if you want to later, as is not the case with adding a deck or patio walk, but you will not have to worry about weeding everyday if you have gravel down.

Are you obsessive about the grassy edges of your garden? Some people want the edge of the grass to be perfect, which means they spend inordinate amounts of time working on trimming the grass. You can stop this cycle by getting a mowing strip or a layer of sod for that area of your garden. You may find that it is more attractive and easier to maintain.

Keep in mind what you can do to make your garden easier to maintain. Ultimately that may mean getting rid of your garden, or at least portions of it, but if you do not have the time or energy to keep it up, you are better off making drastic changes. For example, there are raised bed decks, or you can build one yourself, that are made for rock gardens. Many people put down a rock garden and then do not want to weed it. Try these raised beds so that you can cut back on the weeds in your garden.

If you have a vegetable garden, you could consider changing it to become a container garden. Conditions are more difficult to maintain in traditional gardens, but the vegetable garden will allow you to control the sunlight, growing area, and water more easily. If you have trouble with your veggies, pick a few with shallow root systems and switch to a container.

Ponds are beautiful, but only to the people who do not care for them. Before you put a pond in your yard, think about it carefully. First, the standing water attracts mosquitoes and other pests. Second, they are tough to clean. If you are looking for an easy garden, then a pond is not a good idea for you. Instead try adding a fountain. It will add the serenity of water without the hassle of clean-up.

Hedges can be a pain as well. One way to deal with hedges is to purchase hedge plants. They sit in their own container and are easy to manage. Another choice is to put a small fence around your garden instead of using plant hedges. The garden will still look elegant, but it will not require the kind of care that hedges need.

Get rid of any plants that you cannot grow properly. When you have plants that you do not recognize or that you cannot find information about, do not be afraid to get rid of them. It is better to have a beautiful garden with little variety that a multi-plant garden with dying plants.

If you do not have the time or energy for a traditional garden, never fear! There are plenty of options for you. Try to find plants that will be suitable to your no-maintenance needs. Look for alternatives, such as replanting annuals every year. Do not give up on your garden. Just be realistic about it.

By Julia Mercer

No comments: