Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Easy Gardening

I was just out in the yard picking lily-of-the-valley blooms. They smell so good! I put a vase of them in the kitchen, and you can smell them across the room.

You might wonder how someone who has homeschooled for years has time to garden. The trick is to only buy plants that are not high-maintenance. I planted a few lily-of-the-valley plants nearly 20 years ago, and I have done nothing to them since. They grow on their own, spreading a bit each year, so that now I have a large patch of them.

How do you know if a plant is going to be high-maintenance or not? Easy----plant it and see. It may die on you right away. Or it may live, but it doesn't look so good, and a little research reveals you're supposed to fertilize it all the time, prune it, water it at prescribed intervals, etc. That's not going to work. Don't do the things you're supposed to do, and if it dies, good riddance.

The plants that survive are my favorites, and I have lots of them. Every summer I have hollyhocks (top left). They are awesome: they grow tall, with lots of blooms. They drop seeds for the following year so you don't have to do it.

In the second photo you'll see daylilies on the left and oriental lilies on the right. Both came from plants given to me by friends years ago. The orange daylilies originated with a few small plants from my former boss. Now they are not only in the plot you see in the photo, but also across my entire back yard fence, about 75' feet worth. The oriental lilies came from my neighbor. She has since moved across town, where she started a garden in her new yard. I don't have to do anything to these lilies except thin them out every so often (like every five years or so).

We have two huge lilac bushes whose blooms can be seen and smelled from the upstairs windows. I planted them when they were maybe two feet tall. We have gotten so much pleasure from them over the years.
On the side of the house I have a big patch of four o'clocks. Like the hollyhocks, they reseed themselves each year. They are work-free! But how pretty they are.

Finally, what would I do without my clematis vines? They are so beautiful, they climb by themselves, and their flowers are gorgeous. The one by my front porch climbs up to the garage roof with no help from me. Then it bursts into blossoms. See the purple flowers in the top left photo, just to the left of the porch? That's clematis.
We have our house on the market, and once we move, I will have to start over again planting my favorite plants. At least now I know which ones are low maintenance!


melissamarkham said...

I love lilacs. I have a sprout from a bush that belonged to my parents. It has grown over the years and is probably three foot tall or so, but so far, there isn't a bloom in sight.

Creeping myrtle and phlox are also low maintenance plants and are great for hillsides. They really take off and cover things up!

Sherry said...

Love your garden, Barbara. Thanks for sharing the post and the pics. I love daylillies, and don't have near enough of them! I feel the same way about irises, and greatly enjoy the beauty and hardiness of both my heirloom and newer varieties. I have a wild rose that is low maintenance, except that it must be controlled or it would grow all over. Monkeygrass, of course, is an easy filler/ground cover.

I enjoy your blog. Thanks for visiting mine.

Jane said...

What lovely flowers! Leaving my flowers behind is always one of the worst things about moving. This is probably our last summer in this house, but I'm still planting more and putting in a vegetable garden. I've spent tooo many years living in limbo waiting for the next move.

Janet said...

You have a beautiful yard. I am SUCH a horrible gardener. My grandma accuses me of being a plant murderer. I'm afraid she's right.....:-)

Barbara Frank said...

Melissa, I love lilacs too! Ours are so tall we can see and smell them through the second-floor windows.

Sherry, you must collect irises. I would love to learn more about them.

Jane, I'm so glad you stopped by. I like your attitude about your garden. We're on the market but we still planted tomatoes a few weeks ago. Where do you think you'll be moving next?

Janet, I gave up houseplants because I couldn't keep them alive. My outdoor flowers survive because I'm not outside enough to mess with them too much.