Friday, June 01, 2012

The Lazy Gardener

I've been whining about weeding a lot lately, but a new rechargeable battery powered (lightweight!) weed whacker has really solved that problem.
So here's the thing...
In my high school year book, someone or some group anonymously made a list of 10 year predictions about different people.  For me, the prediction was:  "Will still be trying to get out of work."
That stung.  I didn't even remind myself that I'd held paid jobs from the age of 14 or worked at our home business for many years before that.  No... it just made me feel lazy.  I was also well aware of how many times I'd rushed through my school work to knock off the afternoon and go swimming in the river with my friends, so accepted the slap and "owned it" for many years.
It took a long time to realize that doing less work while accomplishing the objective is most certainly one of my strengths, and employers over the years valued it.  That's sort of the point, isn't it?  Nobody every says, "let's make this as hard as we can", do they?
It should come as no surprise that when it comes to gardening, lazy is how I roll, too. 
Probably 95% of the plants we've put in are perennials that only require that we give them room to grow.  The only annuals we put in each year are holy basil, culinary herbs, some white sage for distilling, and rose geranium for drying.
The garden itself is mostly on either side of the split-rail fence that borders the tree farm that surrounds the house.  It is a long row, and each year we take out one of the conifers that originally lined the fence on the inside to provide more space and more light.  Usually, that tree goes home with someone to decorate at Christmas.
The first year, the ends of the fence were planted with elderberry bushes and the gate was flanked with a vitex and some mountain mint.  We put in a half dozen blueberry bushes that would eventually need to be replanted inside their own fence for their own protection.  I got a package of sunchokes at the grocery store, chopped them up, and raked them into a corner.  They've (of course) thrived behind the ever-spreading chamomile that I rescued that year from a construction site nearby.  The thyme, chives, and oregano that were planted that year have become enormous and the echinacea has multiplied extensively.
The next year, the fig tree came to join us, and it resides next to the wild black raspberries that I've decided to stop trying to bargain with.  They can have that side of the house if they want it so badly.  Valerian, balloon flowers, and a particular non-spreading variety of Japanese knotweed went in, and the butterfly bush started to spread.
This year, we beat the groundhogs!
Wild black raspberries are more stubborn than I.

Somewhere along the line, along came the gooseberries, currants, and serviceberry.  We also got some pawpaws, but that's never going to grow, I'm afraid.  It comes up each year, and doesn't do a thing.  The rows of different kinds of lavender are interspersed with St John's wort, comfrey, elecampane, sage, horehound, monarda, and anise hyssop.  There's also a hardy patch of goldenrod that was encouraged to stay.
Red currant is loaded this year.
Gooseberries will soon turn purple and delicious.
Persimmons this year?  Yes, I think so!
Serviceberry - if they ripen before the birds get enough of
the neighbor's cherries, I might get some of them.
Last year, I put in a sour cherry tree and a persimmon tree.  A wee patch of stinging nettles went in, but needs to find a better permanent home.  Horseradish and witch hazel came to live here, along with some butterfly weed and bottle gentian.  The volunteer mimosa that sprouted the year before was guarded and will probably bloom shortly.
This year, the side yard was planted with daylilies so that we can eat the buds in spring and early summer.  New additions with be some perennial poppies and hyssop.
Down below on the farm, dozens of bayberry bushes, rugosa roses, and hazelnut trees were put in.  Part of their purpose is to provide food for the once common pheasants and partridges that my brother-in-law often raises from chicks to release back into the wild, which is a hobby of his, although they don't seem to stick around too much.  I'm hoping  some wild turkeys will stumble across our place and decide to stay.

Grosso lavender is almost ready to be woven into wands
There is still the mowing, hand-weeding and occasional watering (although with perennials, they get over that requirement the second year.
So... in the end, I'm okay with the prediction.  Little by little, I've completely surrounded myself with food producing plants that require almost no work.  Mostly likely someone has coined a phrase for this kind of gardening.  I just do my own thing and follow my own tune.  Works for me, but you know... I'm lazy :-)


Tree Service Queens said...

I don't mind de-weeding my garden.. After all I get to see all my beautiful crops and flowers shine brighter then ever before once they're out of the way. The lil pests.

-Oscar Valencia

Anonymous said...

It makes me smile that you actually plant stinging nettles...where my parents live, there's no need at all to *plant* them (my mother would probably shout "off with his head" if you did), they are everywhere! I spent most of one summer as a teenager figuring out how to pull them up/out without getting stung - and this after they were taller than 5'10" me. Sadly I had no idea of their medicinal value then.


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