Wednesday, April 17, 2019
I have a confession to make: I am a lazy gardener. Plants bring me joy. Weeding, watering and pruning do not. If you're like me and would rather let nature do most of the work in your yard, here are some spring gardening tips that require minimal effort.
Don't mow your lawn. Does this count as a gardening tip? I'll let you decide, but no homeowners' association will ever get me to mow the beautiful carpet of wildflowers that is on my lawn right now. Pink and white daisy fleabane, native oxalis, vervain, wild blue phlox, wild onion flower, crimson clover and lyreleaf sage. These wild blooms provide food for pollinators, and they're pretty to look at. The best part is that you don't have to lift a finger; however, if you prefer a tidy yard, designate a small patch of lawn near the back to go wild and uncut. Call it a mini-meadow.
Learn which weeds are worth your time. If I see grass growing in my garden beds, I'll pull it. Grass is boring. But I've learned not to waste my time ripping up cleaver (that sticky, velcro weed that likes to grow in exposed soil) or chickweed. Not only are both of these weeds edible and highly nutritious, but they die back naturally once the weather starts to heat up.
Plant (forgiving) perennials. Perennials come back year after year. They get bigger and better and stronger with time. As a lazy gardener, I look for perennials that are drought resistant, heat tolerant and independent (aka, hard to kill). Some of my favorites are yarrow, coneflower, shasta daisy, salvia and butterfly bush. Not only do these guys grow up to be big, bushy and beautiful, but they also attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Look for perennials at your local garden store and transplant them right into the soil.
Let your plants go to seed. If you grew greens like collards, lettuce or kale over the winter, chances are those plants are sending up delightful little flowers right now. Soon those flowers will turn into seed pods. Seed pods are free vegetables. Let them dry out, then crunch them up and sprinkle those seeds right back into the soil. By the time fall rolls around, you'll have volunteer greens plants popping up. Look for other vigorous self-seeding flowers, herbs and vegetables like dill, marigolds, zinnia, chamomile, carrots, squash and tomatoes.
Lazy gardening is all about letting go of the reins and allowing nature to fill in the gaps. It's about asking the philosophical question: What is a weed, really? There are no straight lines or hedges in a lazy garden. There is a lot of experimentation and observation. Give lazy gardening a try today: Pour a glass of lemonade, and go enjoy the wildflowers in your lawn.