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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Low Maintenance Gardening

Picture of Dead Nettle

Gardening is a hobby for many people. To have an attractive and beautiful garden, there is no magic. Time and care is needed if you want your plants to look their best. For many families, especially those with very young children, life is a constant race against time. Apart from work, school and socialising there may be ballet, swimming, football and all manner of other extra-curricular activities to be fitted into the day. The fact is that many of us do not have so much time to pay much attention on the garden, yet we wish to have our plants to look beautiful. We want to feel proud of having an attractive garden.

1. Layout and Plants Choice
Aim for an uncomplicated natural layout, as anything too formal demands a great deal of attention to keep it looking trim. Avoid annual bedding plants, that need to be dug up at the end of each season and instead choose plants that will take care of themselves. Bulbs and perennials are plants that are easy to maintain. Numerous plants such as anemone, dead nettle, periwinkle and geranium, can spread easily much human assistance.

For easy garden maintenance, choose shrubs, especially evergreens, which naturally grow into an attractive shape and eliminate the need to spend hours clipping and training. Plant climbers that are self-clinging are preferred to those that are twining, so that you do not need put up trellis or wires then tie them in.

Picture of Hyacinths

Lawns are relatively high maintenance areas because they require regular mowing, but the open space is very useful in a family garden. Containers look lovely, but they should be kept to a minimum as they are labour intensive requiring constant watering in dry weather. Avoid soft fruits and vegetables which require a lot of attention too.

A busy family life leaves little time for gardening. Choose plants that are easy to maintain. Make your garden simple. Make it your family activity, have children to help out in gardening and you will have more fun.

Picture of Geranium

2. Watering
If you find watering a chore, install a self-watering system or use one that's permanently in position and just needs turning on at the tap. There are many systems from which to choose, some based on sprinklers, others on drips from a nozzle, yet more from pipes through which the water slowly oozes. Sprinklers are probably the least effective for a border in terms of water wastage. Drip feeds are more economical with water than sprinklers.

Picture of Periwinkle

3. Feeding
The easiest way to ensure new plants don't go short of nutrients is to incorporate a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer into the planting area. These will ensure a constant supply of nutrients for several months.



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