Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Mature Garden...

A Repost Dedicated to all of us who overdid this Christmas~

An interesting thing about the mature garden is the fact it usually has at its helm a mature gardener. Sometime during the evolution, major changes are in order as the passion of unbridled youth becomes somewhat diminished with the passing of decades. Rows and rows of carefully planted and tended perennial and annual beds plus standard vegetable patches must make way for a garden friendlier to the capacities of the gardener as age approaches. Obviously once the knees, back, and hands become aged, crawling around toiling and transplanting, hand weeding, pruning, and hoeing looses much of its charm.

Almost overnight, particularly after a year of too much rain and too much grass and weed-growth, it becomes perfectly clear that 'downsizing' is not only desirable, but a necessity. It is now that flowering shrubs and wispy grasses, once looked upon as simply 'filler' in the garden, begin appear in the forefront of the gardener's mind.

If the lovely selection of shrubs is reviewed, it becomes evident that one can have scented and flowering beauty all season with very little effort. One of the nicest things about shrubs is after flowering they continue to look splendid for the duration of the season, some with berries which appear from the flowering, some with simply exquisite foliage.


The Viburnum species are a marvelous addition. They flower early and fill the garden with the first breath of spring and following flowering they still appear attractive dressed in their verdant finery of bold and interesting leaves. For a late spring bloomer, some Spirea would be a nice addition. With her sweet little clusters of flowers and the tendency to survive extreme temperature, this gem survived the Oklahoma dust bowl and makes a lovely focal point. Later, the Heavenly Bamboo or Nandina would bloom and look divine. With the cream-colored flowers replaced by berries which turn scarlet by Christmas, they have long been a staple in Southern gardens. A few Crape Myrtle would add texture, color and a stunning flowering display for all of August through September. If cut back in the early spring, they will bloom as a shrub rather than become a tree. If the tips are trimmed after the first flowering, they will flower again. Pyracantha makes a perfect Halloween display. The list is endless!

If one decides to downsize and rethink the gardening efforts, look around at the gardens that have already done it for inspiration. In many gardens
flower beds have given way to a host of shrubs, grasses and easy-maintenance lawn and yet the level of sophistication is striking. Friends of ours with a fabulous Koi pond inspired us. Situated within a patio setting, their pond is full of fish, blooming water lilies and outstanding grasses, surrounded by shaded places to sit... and relax. With the gentle splash of the waterfall, they have created a serene and peaceful air within their garden. It feels unhurried, appears self-maintaining to a degree... and compared to weeding and hoeing, how hard can fish be?

My Fish~ very easy maintenance!

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