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Designing "Less Labour-Intensive" Gardens

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Topic by MsDebbieP posted 05-09-2014 06:00 AM 4321 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

05-09-2014 06:00 AM

Jroot pointed this out today (May 9/14), reminding me of other conversations from the past (either here at GT or in my own head) about how to make one’s gardens less labour-intensive.

For some, this might be important because of time restraints (something that affected me this spring) and for others, it might be physical limitations, including “just getting too old for this stuff”, (something that my knees are telling me this spring). And then, there are those that want to see the beauty of the garden spaces without having to do any work to create or maintain it.

With a few minutes of spare time (not really, just needing to do some online networking like “old times”), I thought I’d start a conversation about how to design or adapt a garden space to reduce the amount of labour required to maintain it.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)



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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

05-09-2014 06:19 AM

  • planting perennials saves a lot of time/energy—that includes fruit trees/bushes, asparagus, dandelions, etc

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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jroot

5121 posts in 3503 days
hardiness zone 5a

05-10-2014 04:45 AM

Got a few dandelion plants that survived the winter. .... unfortunately.

I agree the perennials is the way to go. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to bloom for long periods, hence the desire for some colourful annuals.

Grasses make a wonderful statement. I have several varieties of ornamental grasses. They are cool to watch in the breeze.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

05-10-2014 05:50 AM

Dandelions: some day I am going to dig up and dry the roots … apparently they are anti-cancer and anti-cholesterol (the bad variety).

Perennials: I agree … I guess the trick is to select the right mix of perennials so that there is always something blooming throughout the gardens.

Grasses: that is what I was thinking for this year—plants lots of grasses. They look great throughout the winter, giving the landscape something to look at rather than “sticks in the ground” (trees/saplings). I love the pathways that my gardens make throughout the growing season but yuck what an ugly mess it looks like in the winter… grasses would keep that flow of the paths visible.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3693 days

05-19-2014 07:47 PM

finding a garden that isnt labour intensive for those who are still alive is a matter of walking through a grave yard where birds sing and there isnt a living human soul

thus the chance to toil through soil where life is on the right side of the grass

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

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Iris43

3811 posts in 3503 days
hardiness zone 5a

05-22-2014 07:27 AM

Ha, ha. I think you have a point, Greenthumb!

I have mostly perennials and the garden still requires quite a bit of attention. (I don;t like to call it work bc I enjoy the activity) The weeds still grow. Perennials require splitting up and replanting. And, of course, one is always acquiring more/different/free-from-friends plants. :D

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

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Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3136 days
hardiness zone 5b

05-31-2014 05:19 AM

More and more, I am relying on perennials and annuals that self seed. I restrict my annual plantings to my favorite foods like tomatoes, potatoes and corn. I am trying to always cover the soil, either with a thick layer of mulch or thickly growing plants. I am embracing “messy” over neat and clean gardens using the chop and drop method. Also, I am trying not to let myself expand the amount of gardens that I already have….that is actually my biggest challenge every spring.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

05-31-2014 05:32 AM

and this spring I am embracing the weeds … I forget what they are but they are everywhere, ... in some spots there are making a naturalized look that is quite pleasing. In others, they are blocking out the wanted plants and these spots will have to be cleaned up.. maybe tomorrow.

(I smiled at the “not letting yourself expand the amount of gardens”

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3693 days

06-02-2014 07:38 PM

if it weren’t for weeds in some gardens
there would be no colour : )

many might consider the colour in the forefront to be a weed, but i think not

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

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Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3693 days

06-02-2014 08:00 PM

the fruit from the blossom of a weed often become the food of guests rarely seen

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-03-2014 03:04 AM

nice.
embrace the weeds.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3136 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-03-2014 05:02 AM

First embrace and then eat the weeds!

(Lovely photos, GT)

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

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Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3693 days

06-03-2014 08:24 PM

i weeded the lane-way trees recently and relaid the stone
couldn’t walk for 3 days and was worth the pain if i was lying down, by lord sweet thundering, the weeds are hard on the “body”, 2 days of picking stone and weeds is like prison boot camp but at some point along its path, the weeds, are the least concern unless its poison ivy or something just as nasty : )

thx rad,

sometimes weeds can wait to die another day : )

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

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MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3873 days
hardiness zone 5b

06-04-2014 04:28 AM

the pain kinda puts things into perspective doesn’t it!

(chuckling at the “embrace the weeds and then eat them” )

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3693 days

06-14-2014 07:41 PM

all things counted by numbers

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

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Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3693 days

06-14-2014 07:45 PM

and lunch ; )

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

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McKennon

2 posts in 1245 days

09-23-2014 01:28 AM

I have to admit that managing the yard is not as easy as it typically sounds. It is usually portrayed as being a fun and relaxing activity that anyone of any age group can perform easily. However, if you have more than just a few shrubs, then you are in for a physical challenge. Do not be afraid to call in a garden clearance team of professionals who would help you willingly to clear off whichever is deemed necessary.

-- McKennon Farell @ http://housesclearancelondon.co.uk/

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EricColbert

4 posts in 1228 days

11-26-2014 12:01 AM

I’m loving how encouraging everybody is here about tackling the work load of a garden. But it’s true to a certain extent I guess? It’s the work that makes the fruit of the garden that much sweeter ;) Looks like I shouldn’t complain as much about mine to the wife and really just stock up on tools and solutions in my storage shed! Haha!

-- Eric Colbert - http://supercheapstorage.co.nz

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