Get The Dirt: The Laidback Gardener

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Using low-maintenance plants is something Lynn Barber recommends for lay gardeners.

A few years ago I wrote an article about being a lazy gardener. To this day and, I believe, for the rest of my gardening days, I will remain so. You too can have a beautiful garden while maintaining a lazy gardener lifestyle.

The Right Plant/Right Place, the first of nine Florida Friendly Landscaping™ principles, includes knowing your site conditions. Other elements are hydrozoning, consideration of plant size, and simplicity.

The right plant/the right place: Analyze sun, shade, water needs and soil composition.

Lazy watering: Hydrozone—group plants according to their water needs, use micro-irrigation, and harvest rainwater from roof structures for ornamental and non-edible plants.

Cut: Determine the dimensions of the garden, the size of mature plants and the minimum number of plants needed to fill the space. Lazy, smart gardeners don’t plant for instant gratification but for mature plant pruning, saving time, labor and money.

Keep it simple: If you’re too lazy to water during dry spells, plant drought-resistant flowers or wait until the rainy season to plant. If you’re too lazy to rake up leaves or pine needles as they fall, create self-mulching landscape beds. If you are too lazy to plant annual flowers, plant perennials.

Sweat Savers: Repeat your successes and reseed the plants. Remove dead flowers from a plant to encourage flowering and save seeds. Use a timer system to complete 15 minutes of a dreaded gardening activity, then stop when the timer goes off. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Time saver: Wearing gloves. This saves time cleaning your hands and nails.

Maximize your laziness: Use your friends wisely. Create a gardening group with friends. Learn to love volunteer plants (those that grow on their own) and constantly borrow plants from friends and neighbors; asking first is always a wise decision. Divide and relocate perennials: No money spent, save on gas and no need to shop around.

Lazy maintenance plants: Slow growers need less pruning. Wide spreaders mean fewer plants needed. Drought-tolerant plants require less watering. Pest and disease resistant plants require less lazy pest management.

Low requirements and high yields: Includes dracaena, plumbago, firecracker, African and walking iris, thryallis, pentas, firebush, croton and salvia. These are just a few. For more ideas, head over to UF FFL and check out a copy of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design. Page 31 is the key to the information provided.

Look for my suggestions on the limits of lazy gardening in an upcoming post. To view and register for upcoming workshops, visit the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County Events Calendar.

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