Yesterday during a coffee with one of my long term garden clients, we concluded that many times gardening is common sense.
My client told me that I have totally transformed her garden into its current shape with only recycled and re-used plants. All plants in her garden were either there already in some form, split and re-used or given to her by friends or clients of mine.
As the 13th project of my 52 week up-cycle and upgrade challenge I like to describe how this garden came to fruition over time and what we did to keep the costs low.
I never realised the above but she was right. She had not spent a single cent on plants. Over time we did plant a couple of new plants in her garden but all of those were presents for her birthday, Mothers day or Christmas.
This type of sharing used to be the norm. People were happy to pass on cuttings and rejuvenate their gardens in that way. Somewhere along the lines nurseries became popular and started supplying people with plants for their gardens. The exchange of cuttings seem to be a thing from the past…..
My love for re-using and recycling!
One of my passions is recycling and I realised that I have done exactly that in this garden. On my first visit to my client’s house I was shown a large garden overgrown with weeds, some up to the size of a small tree. She needed help in clearing and creating a low maintenance but attractive outdoor area.
In the beginning, it could be a slow process as she sometimes left it too long between my garden sessions. The result was that I had to repeat the same work on the same areas. The weeds in Queensland can be very invasive and due to the climate they grow in a dazzling speed.
In the end I did get on top of it and my suggestion of weed mat and a 10 cm thick layer of mulch worked wonders. Over time we have added plants from a number of sources and the garden has transformed in a lush green paradise that she loves.
Preparing a successful garden!
I believe that time spent on preparing a garden bed is essential. It pays off to remove as many weeds as possible. Add the weed mat and the mulch and the garden is largely under control in the ‘weed department’.
I still go monthly to do a maintenance session but the majority of the weeds tend to grow from her landscaped areas such as lawn and pebbled drainage areas in to the garden beds. The garden beds themselves remain virtually weed free.
This garden is a great example of how to create an attractive garden. It shows that gardening is common sense. The result is a garden that fits the climate, uses minimal water and is built primarily from free plants.
It also shows that it pays off to take climate conditions, type of soil and suitable plants into consideration. You end up with a better garden that can survive more or less by itself.
This may horrify the lovers of dainty little flowers or plants that love acidic soils. Queensland does not really offer the climate and soil for such plants so if you want them you will have to adapt the garden to suit these plants which can be costly. It could mean a lot of maintenance and a high water bill!
Gardening is common sense
More often than not, gardening is common sense. The choice of garden dictates the amount of work and money you are going to spend on it. If you want tropical plants in Europe you may need a hot house or have plants in the house. If you like an olive tree but live in a humid environment you may get diseases. Many plants don’t like frost or are shade lovers.
Take these things into consideration otherwise your garden will be an ongoing nightmare. Essentially we looked what plants were growing well in her garden. Consequently we let these plants dictate what type of garden we would build. The result is obvious!
You may like to create an attractive garden but find it hard to decide where to start. Or you are frustrated with the choices you need to make. In either case feel free to ask for advice. I am very happy to give you some tips to consider and start off with.
I also like to thank my client for letting me show case her garden publicly. it is always a pleasure to work in her garden and to finish my session with a cup of tea, a chat and a piece of her ‘famous’ New York cheese cake.