Less Effort Gardening

Even the most enthusiastic gardener has limits on their time and for many people gardening has to come behind all sorts of other commitments. But everyone deserves a great garden and we all want the maximum impact from the effort that we put in.    Many people think that a garden with lots of intersting plants always means a lot of work but fortunately this is not true – if you consider plants and the garden layout carefully.  I call this Less Effort Gardening.  It is very different from the ‘low maintenance’ schemes of  a few years ago which may be suited to planting around car parks but are not the answer for our own gardens at home.

The first thing is to decide what is most important to you in the garden and be prepared to make informed compromises on other features. You might want a perfect, fine textured lawn but if you also maintain a large vegetable patch and grow prize-winning Sweetpeas then it is likely that something will have to give.  And life in the gardne will be much more satisfying if you decide what to focus your effort on.

Coloured foliage photoAnd then we come to plant choice.  A wide border full of colourful plants and flowers can give year round impact with much less attention than, for example, the equivalent area of lawn – no mowing!  Remember that coloured leaves last much longer than flowers and the right shrubs in the right place require attention just once a year.  Hardy perennials grow together to block out weeds and remain in situ for years unlike annual bedding plants.  True, they need cutting back but the new advice is to wait until February and cut all herbaceous flowers and grasses down at the same time.

The key point with Less Effort Gardening is that there is no single right answer.  Each garden owner will apply make their informed choices to achieve the garden that suits their needs, style, interests and available time.  And each person will see the maximum impact in their garden for the effort that they put in.

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Happy Gardening from Alison.