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Realistic gardening


Indoor potted garden

“Simple living” often includes having a garden. Having a garden can mean many things from a substantial plot to a small area with a few shrubs and a small water fountain. No matter how large or what kind, gardens all too often go from simple to overwhelming and what started as a pastoral dream can soon turn to a money and time consuming pit. It reminds me of a feature called “Intersection of Naturalism and Minimalism”. Yes, there was a disconnect between what kind of garden COULD be had and what kind of garden OUGHT to be had, was pretty bad. Some people out there want lush lawns and huge beds of colourful flowers – in the middle of the desert! I think it is important to consider what is appropriate to the garden and terrain. I also remember one of the scene in ‘Alice in wonderland’ where the white roses were being painted red. Something about tasteful being replaced by sustainable. All joking aside, however, a minimalist approach doesn’t have to mean turning your garden to asphalt or concrete.

Designed Gardens For Gardeners That Actually Garden.
There are those over-achievers and really affluent- some do get into the weeding, prunning, watering, deadheading, and other nurturing and maintenance elements, but for the most part they hire helps, lacking the time or inclination to keep up even on a ready-made garden. They want the ambiance of a garden with none of the work or responsibility (other than, perhaps, financial) that it entails. This does not reflect badly on them: it really is a full-time job to maintain these large picturesque gardens, especially in the decided non-English, non-French climates.

Contemporary style patio with corrugated metal siding, bougainvillea vines and lighting

Romanticism And Low- Maintenance Is Not Realistic.
There are those who think that the idea of the romantic – styled gardens they want were also low – maintenance, who want to put in the garden themselves, even the hardscape elements, but want the layout, the proportions, specifications, and plant list in order to save a lot of trial-and-error, that costs time and money. They need to be brought back to the reality that the romantic style and low maintenance don’t present the same picture and are opposing styles.


Low- Maintenance And the Minimalists
Low- maintenance ideas are good- the idea of creating patios, walkways, and sitting areas of pea gravel with borders and inserts of pavers. Done right, the gravel stays put, drainage is no problem,and any weeds that shows up are easily popped out. The right kinds of shrubs and trees can provide a lot of impact as well as habitats for birds, bees and butterflies. Careful selection of perennials that give ‘year round interest’ in an ‘easy-care’ way. Basically, low- maintenance ideas are rooted in the principles of minimalism and using more native species in planting. These principles of real low-maintenance gardens are more valid than ever in these days of tighter budgets and more realistic priorities.

For Starters
These days one would recommend that a new gardener should start with a priority list before browsing magazines and books for ideas. You want to be certain your garden is going to fulfill your true needs, and not what a marketer lured you into wanting. The first thing to list is why do you want a garden? Is it some place to sit? Is it for food? Is it an important element of your psyche? Is it intended to raise the value of your property?


Climate, Sunlight And Soil
Next would be understanding your climate, sunlight and soil. The most dedicated gardener in the world cannot grow most plants, especially vegetables, if there isn’t enough hours of direct sunlight or decent, well-drained soil. Is there enough rain for the kinds of plants you want to grow?

Really low-maintenance

Design Elements For Purpose
Next would be to list the elements that will achieve your garden’s purpose. If the garden is for entertaining, is there enouhgh level ground or patio area for furnishings, are insects at a tolerable level? Will you need privacy screens, lighting, or some kind of shade or windbreak? Does the intended garden have good drainage or is it a mud puddle when it rains? Will you have to bring in decent top soil in order for anything to grow?

All of these elements will involve time, effort, and/or money, so they are important to consider. Decide what is the bare-bones minimum you can tolerate or afford for the garden to serve its intended purpose, and go with that. Only add to it after you have proven to yourself it is just right and easy for you to take care of what you already have. And never ever believe the photos in the magazines. Just don’t, Okay?


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