Friday, April 30, 2010

Maintenance Free Gardening (and I have a Bridge!)

Gardening Ideas for Low Maintenance Gardens

I've heard this so much.  "I want a yard that I don't have to do anything."  Impossible - certainly, unless you have a gardener on the payroll!  But  I do have some ideas to make your weekends less 'yard chores' and more 'sit back and enjoy'.

Naturescaping with native plants is the next best thing to 'maintenance free' gardening.

Most 'traditional' landscaping consists of 1) lawn, 2) shrubs, and 3) maintenance.  The lawn needs to be cut, trimmed, and have products like fertilizer and pesticides applied.  The shrubs need to be manicured to keep their boxy shape.  This 'standard' is what we grew up with, and what we feel we need to perpetuate.  The nursery industry encourages us to follow these practices because they have grown lots of these plants and want us to buy them. 

Native plants are quite different.  They have not been cloned.  They have survived the weather. They have adapted to the water availability in the region. Native plants have an immunity or resistance to insects that keeps them healthy.
Incorporating a naturescape into you landscape requires a new way of thinking. 
And that is the idea that 'nature' can take care of our plants so we don't have to'

Initially this means we need to choose plants that grow naturally in the area.  There are many gorgeous varieties from which to pick.   So don't feel that you have to settle for a mediocre garden.

This false indigo, Baptisia and Turtlehead are just some of the gorgeous blooms you can look for.  The Baptisia blooms in the early summer  and has been chosen as Perennial Plant of the Year. The Turtlehead blooms in my yard around Labor Day.  Paired with the Sedum, Autumn Joy, which blooms about the same time, this is spectacular.

Naturescaping with native plants offers other benefits.  Besides using less water, once established, these plants need little supplemental fertilizer.  No need for pesticides or fungicides means less dollars from your wallet.
These plants do not require manicureing, leaving your weekends free from yard duty.  Sounds like a win- win for all of us. 

Critters will take advantage of your generosity too.  Seeds, berries, and shelter will draw songbirds.  Populations of songbirds have dropped steadily in the past several decades - up to 5-10%, per year due mostly from the loss of habitat. Pollinator's like bees and butterflies will visit also. 

The naturescape is the best option to a  low maintenance landscape.  Less lawn care, less watering, less pruning, less fertilizing, less spraying for pests. Native plants, trees, shrubs, and perennials, are available in the marketplace.  A comprehensive list is available through the OSU website: 

Naturescape - low maintenance.   Lawn - high maintenance. Just nature scaping a portion of your yard will free up your time and money.  Do you need your yard to mirror the neighbors, or are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and truly be comfortable?  Enjoy. 


1 comment:

Claudia said...

Blog submission:) I have a hard time with yarrow and coreopsis being invasive! Never, ever purchase gooseneck loosestrife - nurseries say it is fine to use - I've given so much away I could STOCK nurseries!!! Favorite groundcover? My golden creeping Jenny and ajuga behave quite nicely:) Just lucky?