Posted by: briellethefirst | April 8, 2011

Oops, I Just Wrote A Blog Post On Gardening!


Sorry Carla! I got done typing and realized that my Facebook comment to your post was a bit longer than I had intended, so I copied and filled it out. Thanks for the push! So many people look at our gardens and say they really couldn’t do that or have no time, they lack patience… Usually the difference between being hopeless at growing things and a gardening guru is finding the right plant for the right spot and matching the plants to your garden personality.

Sean in a garden pea tee-pee eating a carrot thinned from the edging.

Sean in a garden pea tee-pee eating a carrot thinned from the edging.

Herbs are a great thing to start with because they’re basically weeds, just give them a nice place to live and they’ll pretty much take care of themselves with benign neglect till you find your rhythm. As you get used to growing things that you can use for something other than looking at start tucking in the odd veggie or two. It’s really fun when you work it into the landscaping and is a delightful surprise when people ask “what’s that?” and you prove it really is a carrot holding up the lovely, ferny foliage. Try putting asparagus as a feathery backdrop for a flower bed or artichokes in those awkward back corners.

Alyssum and Nasturtium upstaging strawberries and thyme.

Alyssum and Nasturtium upstaging strawberries and thyme.

I’ve had a lot of success edging beds with alyssum trailing over the edges of the beds, a row of carrots close behind and onions behind that. There’s a pretty variety of basil that forms a mound that looks nice at the corners and filling the bed with flowering herbs and pretty veggies like peas (they make nice tepees in cool months) makes for nice edible landscaping. Lettuce and cabbage come in green and red varieties and make fun alternating coloured edgings, too, giving the garden border a striped effect. Thyme and other low-growing herbs like mint, chamomile and yarrow can grow between stepping-stones. Strawberries are pretty along the side of a bed behind alyssum and thyme growing with strawberries makes the berries sweeter, too. If you don’t have much time for regular gardening just putting in fruit trees, berry and rose bushes, grape vines, asparagus and other perennials can do double-duty fulfilling the usual landscaping requirements but give something back for the work you would still have to do for any other ornamental.

End of the arbour with rope-lights on

End of the arbour with rope-lights on

My grape vines not only look good and give me fruit but also cut my cooling costs in the summer by shading the southern wall of my house and let the sun warm it in the winter when the leaves drop. I love grabbing dinner from just outside the doorstep. You’d be astounded at what desert-adapted plants are useful as well as decorative. I hope to get a harvest from my prickly pear cactus this year and make some of the best jam on the planet. This year the chickens have beat me to most of the stuff, though! Aargh! A whole season of chicken escapes! Good luck on your gardens, I love hearing about other people’s experiences!

Critters in paradise

Critters in paradise

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