Gardening Advice You Will Not Find Here

My philosophy on advice is pretty simple. I listen to it, if I have the time, and use it, if it seems to apply to my own situation. If not, I try to find something that will work for me.

When I look for advice, who do I find credible? I prefer someone who is successful at doing what interests me and the more successful they are the better.

So, in case you are considering reading any writings in this blog of mine, let me tell you upfront what you will not find here, in case you really are looking for something I either do not do, or do not do well, or would find appalling to even consider doing.

I have no neat manicured lawns drenched in god-knows-what chemicals. Nor do I have neat manicured lawns grown organically. Frankly, the only reason we have any lawn at all is my husband wants it, and is willing to mow it, albeit a trifle intermittently. This semi random mowing constitutes the bulk of our “lawn care” if you want to call it that.

I enjoy finding dandelions and wildflowers in the grass too.

I did heavily mulch some large grass areas when they got infested with my uncaring neighbor’s knapweed, a noxious weed in this area. This stopped the germination of new knapweed. It also wiped out the grass for awhile, but it came back on its own in about three years, without the knapweed.

Most people would prefer their weed problem to my solution, so be forewarned. But the grass is thicker there than it used to be, so it seems all right to me.

You will not find plants in military precision rows, measured to the millimeter between them. I have no desire to strangle my gardens that way, although other people manage to grow highly productive and attractive gardens using that method.

Actually, I lack normal rows altogether, preferring wide swathes which curve and ripple through my yard. I plant these ribbons and geometric shapes of slightly raised soil with masses of flowers and sometimes vegetables, which usually creates a riotous tangle of blooms.

Military types tend to regard my gardens with a mixture of horror and awe. Horror because of the randomized nature of my plantings, and awe because they bloom so prolifically.

When the poppies get going, I have lots of cars stopping or driving by slowly. People I do not know come from miles around to look at the gardens.

I mostly try to cooperate with nature and assist my gardens so they thrive in spite of the challenges of my location and climate. So if you are looking for ways to stomp your garden into submission with toxic chemicals, topiary shaping, or other horrendous deformations of nature, I will not be of much help.

I will not be offering advice on tilling, other than the fact that I think one should avoid it whenever possible. I mulch instead, massively. If you want to know what mulching with grass clippings can do for a short season windy site with poor sandy soil, I do know something about that. My angle worms have been thriving since I quit chopping them up with tillers, and leaving the soil exposed to the drying wind and sun.

I am glad almost all my plants like the mulch. I will confess, however, that rhubarb can be killed even with slight mulching. Whatever one’s philosophy, nature will provide a glaring exception to keep one humble.

Fortunately, whatever one’s philosophy, nature also will try to keep things growing anyway. This is one of the great safety nets of gardening. Sometimes plants thrive in spite of our errors, stupidities, and ineptitude. I am deeply grateful for that fact.