I love quick & easy gardening. Putting out plants and flowers, or getting out in the yard on a beautiful sunny day, turning more and more of the grass (which my son hates mowing) into beautiful garden beds full of lush greenery with pops of colourful flowers. It just screams summer to me!
However, plant life does not feel the same about me. They don’t like how busy I am, how I sometimes forget to water or clear the weeds. And vegetables? I’m either planting too early, and they get cold, or planting too far into the heat and humidity, and they wilt and die. Green thumbs I do not possess, despite years of effort.
So what’s a wanna-be gardener to do? Here’s my 5 Simple Tips for Quick & Easy Gardening when you don’t have time, or a green thumb.
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1. Potted Flowers
This is my quick & easy gardening go-to every year for instant beautification! From geraniums on the front porch, to ferns and potato vines on the back deck, pre-planted florals are my favourite for ease and simplicity. Yes, they might be more expensive than planting yourself, but when I can make a quick trip to the garden center, come home and plop my purchases into plastic pedestal pots on the front porch, or hang a basket on the awning in the back, it’s done and done!
Why geraniums? These ones can tolerate the hot sun, and they forgive me when I forget to water for a few days. Just trim the dead stuff, give them a soaking once in a while, and new blooms will follow all summer long!
The pots also serve as the base for my Fall and Christmas outdoor decor. Just pluck out the dead geraniums in September, and stick in fall flower picks, pumpkins and corn stalks!
2. Perennial Beds
Around my front porch, I dug my first patch of garden, 12 years ago. Our house was one of the first built on our corner, and we had a dirt construction site for 2 years before finally getting sod, so I was soooo excited to plant! The same perennials have grown and thrived here every year, with only a little love in the spring, and an occasional water through the summer. Catmint, Russian Sage, a couple Purple Salvias, dotted with some daffodils and tulips in spring, that are just giving way to alliums (or what I like to call my purple puff balls).
I can’t say it enough…I love Hostas! They are the perfect “set it and forget it” plant. I hardly ever water these babies and they grow to gigantic proportions in the side yard garden bed.
Spring this year came late (we still had snow and frost in early May!), so I was a bit concerned about the latest garden bed I made last summer, with new hostas and purple salvia, but a few days of rain and warm sun, and just look at how they have popped right back up. I love the contrast of vibrant green and natural mulch!
(Now if I could just save the poor Pin Oak tree in the middle, which has been dying a slow death for a few years now, despite our best efforts and the tree guy’s expertise. We haven’t given up yet, but it’s getting fewer buds again this year, and the leaves are already starting to turn orange, and it’s not even the end of May. Sigh.)
This is my secret to simple, beautiful gardens. I stock up during the first frenzied sales at the garden center, and buy at least 5 bags of natural mulch (the dyes they use to colour mulch aren’t all that good for your plants…or your hands). After some quick clean up of trash and last year’s dead wood (I suck at fall maintenance), I spread a layer of new mulch in all the garden beds, and voila! Looks brand spankin’ new again! Plus the contrast of the bright green against the natural mulch is just eye-catching!
Mulch is also a great way to inhibit weed growth, and helps retain moisture during those swelteringly hot days. I only have to water a few times over the whole summer. That’s quick & easy gardening at it’s finest!
5. Lawn Fertilizer
The boy does not like me for this one, as it just makes his job of mowing the lawn more frequent. But I am diligent about fertilizing the lawn every 4 to 6 weeks from the time the snow melts, until it lands again (which seems to be getting ever closer each year…hello climate change?) I hate weeding, and dandelions grow rampant around here. As long as we maintain the fertilizer routine (which takes a whopping 15 minutes), and every few years do some over-seeding with grass seed, our lawn is lush, green and mostly weed-free.
Until we expand on all the garden beds, reducing the amount of grass we have to mow, fertilizer is what keeps the lawn looking green and lush.
That’s my tips for quick & easy gardening. Do you have a green thumb when it comes to gardening? What tips would you add to the list? Leave a comment below and let me know!