I love the idea of gardening but with my brown, brown, thumb is hard. However, good advice and a very forgiving climate may help to turn my brown thumb a little greener.
When we were buying our house, I stopped one day just to admire the surrounding plants. Fall was coming and the trees were already changing to the marvelous foliage colors seen in New England. It so happened the previous owners were finishing up emptying the lot and so, I got the chance to talk to them. Lucky because
the mother in law of the previous owners was there and she gave me some quick but valuable advice that proved true – and was a very practical way to start my gardening experience. Here are the snippets of advice as I recall them:
1. If you pull the plant stalks and it comes out easily, it is a weed. If it’s hard to pull, it is a tree/bush/plant you may want to keep. It sounds very generic but I found it stands true in most cases. (She also must be much stronger than me because some weeds were damn hard to pull.)
2. After the first frost (or as soon as you can in early spring), is time to cut the foliage of your hostas to the ground. Don’t be afraid, they are very resilient. I found out it is better to do it in late autumn because the dead foliage tends to pool the water of rains and melting snow. The same advice applies to irises, too.
3. Clean dead brunches (once per year or even more sparsely) from the center of the Arborvitae where the brunches intertwined but, otherwise they require practically to no maintenance. Easy!
As a brownthumber, I know I can – eventually – succeed in at least one aspect of the gardening: cleaning the garden and keeping the weeds at bay. At the very least I can give them a good scare. Our yard, is surrounded by an interesting mix of overgrown vegetation. Huge weeds, large trees, bushes, flowers, grass, vines, ivy and a lot of Multiflora Roses (that plant is so aggressive it is considered a noxious weed).
Cue the music of It’s jungle out there.
How I imagine the garden was created: It looks like the house had an owner that really knew what they were doing, one owner that had no clue whatsoever and an owner who said ‘fudgit’ and did nothing.
The owner who said fudgit, let the Multifloras and the other weeds become huge. It looked luscious and rich from afar but now it is a lot of work to tame the jungle.
The owner who had no idea what they were doing, planted the Multifloras in the first place, at random spots and added wrong trees (like Black Locusts).
The owner who knew what they were doing, added a line of Arborvitae on the north side of the yard, used as both privacy fence and windscreen. We are slowly expanding that natural fence.
They also planted Rhododendrons (it means Rose-tree in Greek) as foundation plants on the north side of the house, providing extra protection against the cold. Rhododentrons are evergreen (helps insulate against cold winds and snow), love wet ground – in our case there is no need to water them and absorb the ground humidity leaving our basement’s walls dry on that side.
Plus, they bloom beautifully!
Now the house has the Newbie Owner (me) with little knowledge and big plans to get my own tomatoes. And garlic. And Greek Oregano (that’ll be quite the project in humid New England but I have a plan). I just have to do a lot of cleaning first.
Meanwhile I am actively pinning every good howto and gardening advice I can find online. Check out my often updated “Gardens, Plants, Trees” Gardening Pinterest Board for ideas you might like!
How about you? Any major yard projects planned for this year or done recently?
ps. We made the memes with my husband using these free online editors and Gimp.