Friday, July 23, 2010

Leave leaves, and other reduced maintenance gardening tips...

On Barbara Eisenstein’s blog “WeedingWildSuburbia”, in her post today titled “But is it really low-maintenance?” in regard to native (lawn replacement) gardening she invited other native gardeners to share their thoughts on creating a low-maintenance garden. Here are a few of mine:

Embrace seedheads! Many, like buckwheat and sages add interest, even soft colors when there isn't a lot else going on in the garden. (Less work if you don't cut them right off, and seeds are probably food for somebody!)

(Seedheads of Salvia clevelandii 'Allen Chickering' at Theodore Payne Foundation.)

Space plants far enough apart so they can grow to full size. Most natives don't need a lot of pruning, shearing, and shaping -- some don't tolerate it.

Drip tubing for native plant establishment: now you see it...

Now you don't...

(Recently installed mostly native garden – THEME: “Woodland meets Sage Scrub”)

Create interest, even drama, with foliage contrasts, interesting plant combinations, rock and other features. When the whole picture is engaging, who cares about a few untidy bits?

(Salvia mellifera 'Green Carpet' with Artemisia californica at Theodore Payne Foundation.)

To me, the naturally occurring litter is not so objectionable as are piles of grass-clippings and hedge trimmings. Much less sweeping and raking to do when you leave leaves!