Gardening – People Friendly Plantings.

Gardening and yard work should be fun. If it’s not its time to sit back and make plans to redo your yard.

Lawns are beautiful but if you’re a busy person you may want to plan for less grass and more patio or deck areas. You can also put in easy to care for shrubs, ground covers or group plantings. Use a heavy mulch or stone mulch to cut back on mowing in the planted areas and put in a wide attractive path.

You can put in more ground covers especially if you garden in the shade. The tough easy to care covers are the best if you’re looking for low maintenance. A few examples are English Ivy (Hedera helix), lamium, bugleweed (Ajuga), periwinkle (Vinca minor) and sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) are some possibilities. Another possibility is the low-care ornamental grasses. The selection is varied and some are very dramatic.

Cut back on annuals and perennials and check out some of the no fuss well-behaved flowering shrubs. Dwarf shrubs and slow-growing varieties are available that look good, will fill space and require little care. I use a lot of flowering shrubs in my yard and try to choose the shrubs to bloom at different times so I have color all summer long. Evergreen shrubs or shrubs with colored twigs will give you color in the winter.

Choose plants that give you a big return for the effort you invest in them. Daffodils and the small spring bulbs tend to be long-lived and increase over time. Tulips and lilies are more temperamental, and tender summer-flowering bulbs have to be lifted and toted inside each year. The only problem with bulbs is that you need to divide them every few years or the flowers get smaller and you need to be on the lookout for small rodents who like to eat the bulb. The squirrel is one of the biggest culprits!

I plant my bulbs in old metal buckets I pick up at sales and remover the bottoms. This barrier stops most pests. Another suggestion is to use chicken wire. Make you own little cage for the bulbs.

Herbs are hardy, have great color and textures so are considered people-friendly. Most grow well in containers and can be moved indoors through the winter. They look good, smell great and are easy to care for. Plus, they’re handy to add to salads, soup or to use for crafting purposes. Drying your herbs for fresh herbal teas is also a plus. There is nothing as nice as herbs drying. It’s pleasing the smell and eyes.

The biggest change in my gardens was to bring the garden within reach. I moved gardens closer to the house and started using planters, raised beds and containers. They combine well with deck and patio layouts too and add a new artistic look to your yard.

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Denise

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