I can sorta relate to the people looking for low maintenance plants and landscaping. I for one love being outside, watching things grow, tending plants, dividing, staking, deadheading…. even weeding. About the only thing I really don’t care for is watering, so when it’s spring and I have a list of projects to work on and halfway through start to think it’s more trouble than it’s worth….. well it might be time to hit the lawnchair with a drink. In a sick way I sometimes look around at my fellow suburbanites and think their yards look just as good as mine, but then I remember it’s unlikely they have a couple dozen different iris coming along into bloom, and they probably don’t even have any more than one or two snowdrops. That helps my mood and I go through and finish the day with a smug grin, quite pleased with myself all over again.
The late tulips are still holding out, these (probably “Dordogne”) mixed in with all the others keep the patch colorful even after the rest are over. Unless Sunday’s high winds beat them silly, they should last another week.
I think what beats me down is the lawn maintenance. If you want to talk high maintenance a lawn is right there on top. Part of that is my fault, I’m stubborn and insist on using a corded electric mower instead of something bigger, stronger, and faster. It’s not the most manly mower, but from someone who’s always wandering the yard looking at his flowers….. well, the mower doesn’t help.
Something that’s mostly no-maintenance is fothergilla. It doesn’t need pruning, blooms with these nice white bottlebrush flowers, is presentable all summer, and come fall puts on a nice show of glowing reds, yellows and oranges. The blooms don’t last long for me, somewhere around two weeks, but that’s plenty. You miss it when it’s gone, which in my opinion is better than a plant that wears out its welcome.
Round around July the lawn starts wearing out its welcome. Mowing in the heat stinks and I look forward to the summer sun and drought sucking the green out of its blades. As long as I mow on the long side it just goes dormant, and the summer vacation from mowing is much welcomed, since mowing clearly cuts into pool time. But right now I need the flush of green clippings since they’re my number one mulch for the vegetable garden. I use them and some leftover chopped maple leaves to smother the grass and weeds that are buried in this new bed.Most of the weeds and grass will die, and hopefully by the time tomato planting weather rolls around (2 more weeks?) I can carefully dig down to soil level, plant the seedlings, top the bed with new clippings, and admire my avoidance of actually digging up this patch of hardpacked gravely “soil”.
Since I don’t have enough better things to do I actually transplanted some of the grass from the new bed into the former bed-turned-new-pathway (lower right of the picture). I’m a big sod mover. I hate waiting for grass seed to sprout. People will disagree, but I like grass paths through the garden. If you noticed, mine are edged with fancy pink marble sections. Some people have compared the look to “deep south cemetery”, but it’s the best use I could think of for the stone we pulled off the house front. Maybe it’s the second best…. we also have a pink marble compost bin.
In the orchard our new “Freedom” apple has even put out a few blossom clusters. I should of course nip them off so the tree has more energy to establish, but I don’t care. For all I know the tree could die tomorrow, so I’ll enjoy the blooms today.
Speaking of dying tomorrow, we have a frost predicted for tonight. I brought in a few succulents and four or five early summer plant purchases. The rest of the stuff is on its own. Planning for low maintenance gardening means not sweating the small stuff like late frosts. The cold weather veggie seedlings will tough it out (strong sun would damage them more than cool weather).