Ah, finally home from a hard day at work. Finally out of the traffic that is so often at a standstill. You are now away from the nagging boss, ringing telephones, the barrage of e-mails from customers. Now is your time for peace and tranquility. What better place to be than your own backyard? But wait, your backyard is plain, dull and boring. How many colors do you see? How many different kinds of plants and wild life do you see? Then you start thinking, maybe I should do something to fix up my backyard.
You are sitting and pondering about what you should do or how to do it. What if I put some flowers here, or some bushes there? I wonder what it would like if I put some big containers with grasses or tall growing flower over there? Your mind starts running wild with ideas. What’s new? What are some ideas that people have come up with that I would have never thought of? You go and buy some gardening and landscaping magazines at your local store and you see some of the most beautiful ideas.
So now you are thinking, will this idea or project work for me? Do a little research on your ideas. Say you would like a certain kind of flower. You might want to find out all about that flower so you know if it would fit into the scheme of things including the time you can and want to devote to it. For instance, if you want to plant flowers that do not require much care, check with your local greenhouse on those types of plants.
There are many themes for planting a garden. One of my favorites is an aroma garden. I love soft succulent smells and an aroma garden is one of the most therapeutic things you can do for yourself. You could create a small winding path out of brick, stone or shredded mulch and take a slow stroll and just inhale all the wonderful smells and enjoy all the wonderful sea of colors that you yourself created. You can say, “I did this all by myself.”
You can also add plants that attract butterflies, birds and other wild life for you to enjoy. These kind of plants usually require more watering than the average plant as they need to be more succulent as to nourish the butterflies and birds. You could plant a trumpet vine plant that will attract humming birds. The humming bird is the most enjoyable bird of all to admire. With their acute speed and spectacular coloring I can watch them for hours. Watching the butterflies should be the most relaxing of all. They are so graceful and colorful too. And with all the studies that are out today, colors and smells can do so much for your mental psyche.
The sound of running water has it calming quality also. You could set up a fountain. If you have a large enough area you could set up a pond with a fountain in the middle or you could create a small stream created with rocks so you have the sound of rushing water. If you have a pond you could add frogs or Koi fish. If you enjoy wildlife having water available at all times will bring them in. Not only for your personal enjoyment, but also for the benefit of the animals.
This is just a few ideas of the multitude of ideas out there. After you have done some research like we do for our clients, you will be amazed at all the different tips, tricks and ideas that you have to choose from. Got ahead be a little daring. Think of your garden as nature’s canvas and you are the painter. Play with it. Mix and match colors. If you don’t like something you can always re-plant it next year if you are not happy with the plants that you have chosen.
Remember one thing before you get started — design around your lifestyle. If you are constantly on the go then keep things simple that require minimal maintenance. If you have a little extra time and enjoy gardening or find it somewhat therapeutic then you may want to include a few higher maintenance things in your game plan. And when all else fails, you can always call a pro to help you out or at least steer you in the right direction.
Question: Jimmie, I enjoy your column and web site and have learned a lot. I have a huge perennial garden and was wondering how you add compost, fertilizer, black dirt, etc when the plants are so close together and I can’t work the soil for fear of disturbing the plants. Thanks for your time, Pam K. in Prosper.
Answer: Hi Pam, Late winter/early spring is a great time to do this as the plants have died back to the ground and you don’t have branches/leaves to contend with. Mix aged manure/compost (I really like the Back to Earth compost brand available in most high-end nurseries) into the top portion of the soil, not disturbing the root systems. You can also follow with some mulch at this time to keep the weed populations down. Early spring (just before your perennials begin to leaf out) is good to begin with a first application of fertilizer (especially if not adding in aged manure/compost mixture). A mild 5/10/5 slow release fertilizer applied in a ring around each plant with an additional two applications at six-week intervals. Late bloomers will need an additional application in late summer. Broadcasting the fertilizer will also work as long as it doesn’t land on any leaves or in buds. Be sure to always water after fertilizing.
Until next time… Happy Gardening!
Send your landscaping and gardening questions to Jimmie Gibson Jr. at http://www.absolutelybushedlandscaping.com or in care of the Prosper Press at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jimmie is the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company. He is a resident in Prosper. His landscaping and gardening column runs every other week in the Prosper Press.