Simplyfying: Getting a Handle on Garden Maintenance

I had to take the day off yesterday.  I came home from vacation to a horrific garden mess and I spent the entirety of yesterday in the garden fixing things up.  At least, when I drive up my driveway I need to gain of sense of peace rather than agitation.   I also spent much of that time pondering ideas for making all of it more simple so I can be more settled.   Here is what I came up with for my garden but I am hoping you can share some of your simplifying tips too.

1) I HATE hosta flowers.  And, I have a garden full of hostas….mind you I have never purchased a hosta, they are all the sad cast offs of clients, so I have shoved them every where I can think of.  Many of the places are just right, but the row of them in front of the front wall is just wrong.  They are getting too much sun, and the hideous hosta flowers greet me daily.   They are going.  I think I am going to replace them with a short lavender hedge to match the one on the other side of the driveway. Much easier and much more appropriate.

2) Irrigation.  I have the luxury of living in New England, where if a garden is planted smartly, one can largely avoid having an irrigation system.  But this isn’t true for my vegetable patch and I simply can’t trust that the plants will get what they need from manual watering (the time!!) .  The housesitter didn’t give them enough water and I find it hard to find the time for watering myself.  The irrigation is going in.

3) I’m going back to “Preen” – at least the organic version.   The weeds in the rows between my garden beds and in the cracks between my brand new cobblestone path are enough to make me cry.  And crab grass just sucks.   If I don’t do it, I may have to give up gardening all together it is just too overwhelming.

4) New wish list item – Game Camera.  My parents have game cameras set all around their house.  They get a lot of entertainment from seeing all the garden visitors (coyotes, deer, even a bobcat once).  I have decided that I can’t waste my time and just continue to blame whomever (woodchuck, bunny, chipmunk, deer) for my critter problems, I need to know, with hard facts who I am up against (know your enemy!)….primarily because all my previously successful deterrents are suddenly not working.   Plus I have a sneaky suspicion that a bear might have come through a time or too and it would just be cool to know that for sure.

What have you done in your garden to reduce maintenance….any brilliant ideas?

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

7 Comments

  1. Susan Schlenger on July 22, 2011 at 6:34 am

    I use Preen also. And am also thinking of irrigation! Game cameras…nice idea.

  2. dave bockman on July 22, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Another fan of Preen here, indispensable for sure!

  3. Studio 'g' on July 22, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I have always wondered if Preen is the weed control equivalent of Round-up or other worrisome garden chemicals…I’m not sure, bit I don’t think it is….so glad to see another pro is using it!

  4. Jenn on July 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Oh, the Hosta. One of the things I miss here in Phoenix. Do you have the Royal Standard? It has the most divine scent. (It’s a large bright green leaf, flowers large and white… )

    Sorry to hear you hate it so. I hope if you have the scented you will tuck it out the way somewhere and just enjoy the elusive perfume!

  5. Nate on July 23, 2011 at 8:07 am

    I don’t mind the hosta flowers. I have a bunch that were here when we moved in. On the other hand, I HATE daylilies which are everywhere here in central PA this time of year. I have a bunch out in the front bed that I’m seriously contemplating ripping out next year. Isn’t it funny how there always seems to be that one plant that just gets under your skin!

    Thanks for the tip on the Preen. I’ve been trying to get the place going without too much chemical intervention other than Roundup for the acres of poison ivy. I didn’t know they had an organic version of Preen. I’ll have to look into it!

  6. fencing sutton on July 26, 2011 at 11:55 am

    im going to try preen out

  7. Dave on August 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I hear ya on the watering thing… I myself loathe it. I ended up using low volume micro sprinklers for my landscaping and drippers in my vegetable garden. I have everything on a timer. It all works flawlessly, and I never have to think about it. Check it out: http://www.misterlandscaper.com. Thanks for the great site! Cheers!

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