It’s the end of another month and time to summarize this month’s posts and highlight some of my favorite comments. This month at Ruly we have been discussing strategies to bring more order to your yard and garden. We started off with 5 reasons to love your landscaping.
We covered gardening basics, beginning with knowing how much “free” water (i.e. rain) you receive and selecting native plants that are easier to maintain.
Watering My Garden commented:
i live in rome, italy where the local mains supply is extremely hard alkaline water…collecting and reusing rainwater is essential if i’m to enjoy acid loving plants like gardenias on my terrace!
Isn’t it delightful to know that someone is out there watering gardenias on the terrace in Rome? It makes me smile to think about it.
We also discussed weed prevention strategies including mulching and discussed when there can be too much mulch.
The best time to de-weed the garden and yard is right after the rain. With garden gloves and a dandelion digger and a weed bag, it is fast work.
My four year old now points out all the mulch to me when we are in parking lots at various stores. While driving down one of the main roads in town, I saw this unique mulching technique in the median strip that I thought was rather pretty. The edges of the mulch bed are lined with rocks. It had never occurred to me to use two different types of mulching materials. The designer of this bed cleverly used mulch as a design element.
Foraging into landscape design, we discussed evergreen plantings and noted that at least 25% of your plantings should be evergreens but that too many evergreens make a space gloomy and depressing.
We had a fun post on topiary plantings, showing the artistry than can be created by shaping plants.
We gave a quick pruning lesson to spruce up your bushes, shrubs and trees.
We discussed 5 signs of the perfectionist gardener.
I personally know several garden perfectionists, and I agree, it becomes more stressful than enjoyable. I even have a family member who stays glued to the weather reports so he can fertilize the lawn EVERY time before it rains!!!! And then he grumbles about constantly having to mow it and pay an outrageous water bill so it doesn’t burn up. No fun.
We shared strategies for controlling garden predators like deer, rabbits and birds.
Best line, ” …if you really want to screen these animals out, you essentially need to fence yourself in!” How true. We once tried crushed garlic to get rid of rabbits and squirrels as we were told they were repelled by the smell. Problem was, so were we!
Danny Stewart-Smith provided a soothing and reflective Ruly Mix to help you relax in your favorite outdoor space.
Ruly Ruth discussed the challenges of adjusting to life in the desert both from a landscaping and quality of life point of view. We also discussed 10 reasons people insist on using grass in the desert. After thinking on this list for a bit I would add two more to the list.
11) Homeowners Associations. Sometimes planting grass is not a choice and is required by the covenants of those who live in planned communities. In those cases, getting rid of grass requires a concerted effort by the entire community. The political challenges of effecting such a change can be tough.
12) The Man Factor. Historically, men have been in charge of maintaining the yard and garden. There is nothing feminine about grass. It does not flower. It is not a pretty plant that is cut and used in arrangements. It largely requires gasoline-powered tools to cut it. If you had to pick the most manly plant, it would be hard to beat grass. Would men be willing to use the same effort to plant groundcovers or flowering shrubs? Hard to say.
We reviewed James Wong’s clever book, “Grow Your Own Drugs,” providing medicinal uses for common garden plants.
Guest blogger Kathy Jentz of Washington Gardener magazine provided 9 landscaping design suggestions to use instead of turfgrass in your yard.
Finally, I leave you with a Ruly Challenge for the month. This month’s challenge is an ongoing effort that you don’t need to do right away but can be chipped away at continually:
The Challenge: Locate a list of native plants for your area. Look up pictures of each plant and learn to identify them in the wild spaces near your home. Determine which, if any, of these plants you might like to grow in your own garden.
I am still working through a list of Virginia native plants but it has been a lot of fun to learn to identify some of these plants. I discovered that I really like the Loblolly pine! In addition to having a wonderful name it is also a very interesting pine tree that looks a bit like a cross between a weeping willow and a pine tree. It’s needles are long and a bit shaggy looking. The sensitive plant is also a fun one that closes up its leaves when touched.
I hope that you have enjoyed this month at Ruly and perhaps learned a few tips to organize your yard and garden and keep it looking great. Please check back on Wednesday when we start a new month and a new topic!
I will close noting that today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day to remember those who have lost their lives in military conflicts. Thinking today of all those who were not able to see victory but who made the freedoms we enjoy today possible.