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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Different gardening styles: neatnik versus the naturalist

This is my neighbor Mid's house. Mid is as much as an avid gardener as I am, but we are two entirely different creatures. Mid (whose real name is Mildred) is a neatnik. In the summer, when the day lily's leaf tips get brown, Mid is out there trimming them off.
She deadheads religiously. She trims and fusses and is constantly tweaking.
Me? I'm more of a naturalist. My garden is filled with natives, and grasses (hey, this was once prairie, they grow great!). Blousy abundance. Stuffed to the gunwhales. That's my kind of gardening.

I garden so that I have interest year around. I want birds. I'm an idiot when it comes to planting...of course, this is a yard which had very little in it in the way of plants or flowers when we moved here in June, 2005.
In the fall, I'm busy bringing things in, pulling frosted annuals, planting bulbs, and trimming away things that don't look cool against the snow.
I leave the chrysanthemum growth to protect the baby growths for next year at the crown. I leave the grasses, Astilbe, Siberian Iris, and sedum growth so that the poke up and look neat. I am thrilled by all the different colors of gold and rust in my winter garden.
Notice that Mid's plantings are perfectly manicured. I do almost anything to avoid things which need constant pruning and trimming. If it needs that sort of fussing, it doesn't belong in my garden.
This is my garden looking south east in the back yard. The green thingy in the front is the pool cover. It was taken just a couple of weeks before Mid's pictures were. I'm now hustling like crazy trying to get things cut down and cleaned up.
Maybe Mid's right...I know that at present, I'm working as fast as I can. I'm sure that the rest of the folks in this neighborhood with their tidy lots are probably aghast at my gardening...but I also know that I have lots of birds and butterflies who have found my little oasis and enjoy it.
Now, if only I could chop up the grasses enough so that they would rot down and that I would have enough compost to deal with the clay soil!

1 comment:

Shady Character said...

The nice people (and I really do mean that) spent yesterday cleaning up their front garden and tree lawn. I, on the other hand, have left the leaves in place as I do every year for free mulch. I just wonder what people walking by think when they see the ruler straight line of untidiness where my garden ends and theirs begins.

Good luck with that clay soil. I don't suppose it's an option to actually till the grass right into it.