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Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

Posted by rouge21 5b (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 15:26

In another thread in this forum woodyoak wrote: (I've completely run out of space so can't do new areas unless I rip out an existing one!)

I have peered into the future considering the nature of the work to be in our residential garden.

Specifically I have a virgin garden that I 'constructed' late this past fall, awaiting me this spring. But after this there will be no more garden expansion on our property (basically it is not feasible to expropriate any more lawn). This saddens me as it has been my experience in the 5 years that I have been an avid, rabid gardener that it is the building of a new plot and then populating it with new and interesting plants that gives me so much satisfaction. But now I can see the time when it will be almost exclusively maintenance on our property (2014).

For those of you that have gone through this cycle of (gardening) life how has it been?

When you are very much in maintenance mode do you find it (much) less fulfilling than that sexy expansion ;)? How do you spice things up?

(I really would consider moving....getting a larger property but my much better half would have no part of it).

I look forward to hearing from newer (anyone else feel like I?) and experienced gardeners alike.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 15:58


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

No, that never happens, not even in a tiny garden. Of course, you cannot keep adding stuff indefinitely but there is constant change going on. Once you have grown something and had it for a couple of years, there are always going to be other, newer plants or styles or themes (you get to give a lot of stuff away which makes you popular with gardening mates). You are not implying that your garden might ever be 'finished' are you?( laughs at delusional fool)


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

Thanks for that campanula and in fact I gave away many plants just this past summer. And no for sure I am not saying the garden will be finished but I hope I enjoy the different type of work which will necessarily occur once no more new garden can be created.


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

i was always building a new bed.. in late spring..... to lie fallow until either fall transplant season.. or spring planting ...

moving things around in fall.. so the older bed could then be reworked ...

NEVER consider your garden static ..

ken


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

To scratch the expansion itch, you could make friends with other new gardeners and help them through the process of getting beds started.
You could adopt a public space (with permission from the appropriate bureaucratic agency) like a grassy traffic triangle, and start there.

I live in a rural area with large yards and have moved 5 times in 30 years, so I honestly have never run out of space to add beds.


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

nhbabs you are clever as in fact I have been 'guerrilla gardening' for several years now (establishing a perennial garden in the public park directly behind our property). It has helped lots in giving me my gardening 'fix'.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 19:10


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

There is a lot of satisfaction in refining the garden too - shaping the beds and spaces to add impact; refining the plantings by eliminating the ones that are no longer approprite in a more tightly defined space and concept; considering the need to add or alter built structures or hardscaping; considering the relative proportions of groundcover, perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees, seeking a more optimal distrbution; and so on... There is always something that needs improving and your 'eye' gets more critical, so the 'slackers' are less tolerated! But I do fanasize about starting over on a different 'blank slate' at times.... :-)


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

You could also do some stelth-planting on the neighbors side ;-) They won't notice the sudden appearance of a garden bed in their yard would they?! Nawwwww..... ;-]

I happened to post a similar question on another forum awhile back. It is a bittersweet moment for sure ((at least for me)) when you realize you have conquested as much garden space as you can. For so many years we all lust after those "mature" and lush gardens, we never stop to think about what it will be like when we reach it ourselves.

I do tend to overhaul certain areas every few years when something bites the dust or starts to look ratty (etc). That always opens up some new possibilities. Still, it's not like creating a brand new bed with a total blank state.
CMK


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

NEVER consider your garden static ..

Of course.

And for sure moving plants around is something I have been doing each year. 'Shuffling the deck' can be fun.


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

'woody' and 'CMK' thanks for those responses...they are helpful.


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

'Shuffling the deck' can be fun.

==>> yes ... but my concept went beyond that a bit.. renovating a whole bed.. rather than picking a few out ...

i know you have that blank palette in that back corner.. why not fill it with what you have.. but for perhaps a new corner conifer ... and then revamp where it all came from ????

then you can rework.. expand.. perfect soil etc.. in the old bed ...

ken


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

i know you have that blank palette in that back corner.. why not fill it with what you have.. but for perhaps a new corner conifer ... and then revamp where it all came from?

For sure a good suggestion Ken. However this "blank palette' is mostly unlike any of our other gardens in that its aspect is significant shade.

But even so the plants in the existing gardens were I think well chosen and have yet to 'wear out their welcome'. Unless there is winter kill or non performance this summer most all will remain where they are.

(I do envy you Ken for the significant amount of property you own for which you can allocate to garden. Now that I think of it how much of your property can be easily watered?)

This post was edited by rouge21 on Tue, Jan 22, 13 at 8:55


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

CMK wrote: You could also do some stelth-planting on the neighbors side.

You know me well! I did just that spring summer 2012. (If I remember I will post a picture of it this season).


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

i grow hosta in shade ... in sand.. under irrigation ...

the other 4 acres ... sand.. has trees.. which includes the subset conifers ... and as such.. do NOT need watering .. once established .... plus iris and daylily .... and weeds.. lol .. [they never need water.. only roundup ...]

i dont know.. if you are just talking with me.. or missing my point altogether ... either is fine.. lol ...

renovating a bed.. has nothing to do with wearing out your welcome.. etc ...

and shade tolerances are questionable .. for the most part ... you can freely experiment.. and re-move things based on lost vigor ... but things do NOT really die in shade.. so fast that you wont see the loss of vigor ...

i am really struggling here .. you are excited about the potential of your empty bed ... but the title seems to bemoan that the future will just become maintenance ... and all i am trying to say.. is you can continue to have 'expansion' ...by trying to use what you have in new methods .... which can be summed up as.. LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR BOX ....

ken


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

And all I am saying Ken is that none of my existing beds need 'renovation'. Several times a year I apply home made compost, aged manure and mulch. These beds ooze health as made evident by the vigour of the plants within.

Of course I know that regardless of the age of one's garden there will always be quality work that will need to be done. I was just looking to hear what other GW members experiences have been that have progressed similarly i.e. from frequent garden expansion to now the 'maintenance' of a more or less mature garden. Simply put do they enjoy their garden just as much; do they like the new tasks as much as those associated with earlier garden expansion.

And now that I think about it Ken, given your large property, you may not have gone through this change in (garden) life.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Tue, Jan 22, 13 at 14:11


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

Hi Rouge,

Well, I can certainly understand your love of creating new plots and populating them with new and interesting plants; I'm the same way. However I just have an average size yard so my garden, like yours, is just a residential garden. What I have done, for the last several years, is to use a large part of my garden space for those wonderful long blooming annuals. I do have some perennial plants in the garden, as well as along fence lines etc., but the bare ground garden area usually contains mostly annuals.

Growing annuals allows me to start new each year. I love starting the seeds early in my basement under lights. There's never a year that I don't experiment with something new. This year, for example, I'm excited about trying to start Leavenworth Eryngo seeds. If I succeed, I know exactly where I'll put the plants in my "new" garden.

I guess what I'm saying to you is ... Why not use at least part of your garden space for annuals? Growing annuals will require that you clear the space each year and start new. You'll have something new (and sexy) every year and you'll be able to enjoy much longer bloom times as well. Don't get me wrong, I love perennials, but I do find growing them a bit boring next to growing new and exciting annuals each year :-)

Art


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

Art, for sure a great idea. And just to tweak your suggestion slightly I think I will expand my use of containers containing annuals.

And while you have me thinking...after planting many spring flowering bulbs the past two falls, depending on how spectacular these look this year ;) I may continue with more bulbs.

Thanks all of you for your worthwhile input.


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

LOL. Rouge, you are my kind of gardener. Yeah, I planted a few extras on my neighbor's side. He didn't mind. Too bad most of them gave up and died, lol. I would very much love to see your stealth garden if you have pics.

I tend to feel the same. Spots of the garden can look good for years before "something happens" to make your opinion of the area change or there is an obvious need for overhaul/improvement. It is in those interims that a gardener kind of twiddles their creative thumbs (not to say those thumbs are idle with all the maintenance that needs to be done)!

Knowing there is no room left is especially hard for those gardeners that love collection or composition. For those that collect plants it is a sad fact because that means they are not able to get all those cool new varieties or plants of their favorite group that they can never have enough of. It is hard for those that like composition because there is something enriching about the artistic/creative part of designing totally new spaces. Sure there are swap outs here and there and tweaks in the design, but it is nothing like a brand spankin' new space!

Art gave a great idea about annuals. I tried that awhile back, thinking that may satiate my "must plant something new but have little space" dilemma. Turns out I have a love/hate relationship with annuals. Some years I like them and others I am sick of having to re-buy them or go through all the hastle of seed starting (yeah, sometimes it IS a plain hastle!). Veggie gardening is another alternative- you can try out new ones every year, plus you can EAT EM'!! I have fun with that.

I'm thinking I may do a bit of container gardening next year. There is still some spaces that I can cram potted plants into ;-)
CMK


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

CMK wrote: I would very much love to see your stealth garden if you have pics.

"My" guerrilla garden in the public park is larger in area than any garden I tend on my own property!

(I will post a picture or two in the near future...thanks for your interest).


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RE: Was expansion and soon to be maintenance

We don't stay young forever and if you're the one doing all your own gardening one can't expand forever without up keep getting rather difficult. As for myself It's always been about that coveted plant for a special spot. Building a back bone of long living plants. Adding fillers to complement add grace and movement. As their all beginning to grow and fill in I've asked myself the same question. Will I be just as pleased when the challenge of getting that spot that just isn't working to become pleasing to the eye. Will I enjoy the beauty and be happy pulling weeds, adding compost, deadheading, ect. There will always be a plant to add and a death in the plant family here and there. How much will I miss the challenge? A spot that needs height and softening. Fun


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