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Patty McHugh

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been taking advantage of the nice days to garden, although I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed these days. I’ve been an avid gardener for 40 years but lately I’m feeling some physical limitations. My love of plants and flowers, along with my manic desire to ‘have it all’ is my downfall. My thoughts are turning to trying to make my garden a little easier to manage. Somehow, hiring someone to garden for you takes all the fun out of it! Thankfully, there is much we can change and still have a beautiful garden to be proud of; to-wit:
• Strive to make easy-to-care for plants the backbone of your garden. Assess the plants you already have in your garden. Which ones require little help from you and still look healthy and happy? Plant more of them. Planting en mass can be very attractive and create unity.
• Remove the spindly, old or sick-looking plants that look that way at some point every year, despite how much effort you put in to keeping them healthy. We all have them. Sometimes that rose you got from your favorite aunt just doesn’t like your garden – don’t be sentimental about it. Out!
• Remove some of the plants that are too close together, giving the remaining room to thrive.
• Many of the flowering plants in our garden are annuals and perennials. You might want to think of making these potted plants that are easier to get to (i.e., without bending). Keep the pots close by making it easier to water or pinch them. Perennials that are woody and not flowering abundantly should be looked upon the same as annuals and replaced. Young plants are not very expensive and grow fast. Perennials that have been in the ground for several years can be a beast to remove.
• Consider more evergreen plants with little leaf clean-up, or more succulents.
• Do your research. I don’t know how many times I’ve planted something that was so invasive, self-sowing, or spreading that it took considerable effort to finally eradicate. Oh, how I lament having planted bulbs that make hundreds of little bulblets that remain in the soil for years after you’ve removed the mother bulbs!
• Keep it simple and, above all, mulch to keep weeding at a minimum.


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