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Less is More in Gardens Too
by Monica Resinger
My flowerbeds weren't giving me the look I wanted. I couldn't pinpoint
exactly what it was I didn't like. I planted, planted and planted more hoping
that English cottage garden look.
I had always hoped to have beautiful flowerbeds like the ones you see in
magazines, but my gardens didn't turn out that way. To be honest, I enjoyed
more when I first put them in eight years ago. This should have given me a clue
to what was wrong, but it still took me a while to figure it out.
What did my flowerbeds look like? A simple description for it is like a wild
jungle. I have always looked and studied over pictures in books and magazines
and have always thought more was better. I crowded plants in wherever there
was room thinking this would give me that English cottage garden look. Well,
maybe at first this worked because the plants were small. Now, the plants are
large and overcrowded. It just doesn't look good; in fact, it looks like a
Lately, I have noticed that the gardens I'm attracted to are ones where the
soil is visible. I'm not sure if it's being able to see the soil or individual
plants that I find most pleasing, but I do know these gardens look much better
than my tangled jungle. I finally figured out why my flowerbeds didn't look
good! They're too crowded. I know, it's so simple.
So I began pruning, thinning out, dividing and weeding and there's a drastic
improvement. The plants look healthier which I'm sure is from being able to
get water, nutrients and oxygen from the soil that was once too crowded to get
anything from. You can see the beauty of each individual plant rather than
seeing a mixed up jumble of leaves and flowers. Each plant is highlighting the
others rather than getting lost in a jungle.
Now I'm not saying there should be five feet between each plant, I'm simply
saying there should be a little room for the plants to show themselves off and
for the soil to be visible. You can either go by recommended spacing
requirements found with purchased plants or in gardening books, or you can
the plants so they barely touch each other, if at all. Keep in mind that
perennials will come back bigger each year, so give them a little room to grow.
If your gardens are looking like a jungle, here's some tips to get them back
in shape. Get a pair of clippers, a pair of gardening gloves, a shovel, a
wheelbarrow and a rake. Take a look at each plant and the ground in the garden
analyze what needs to be done. Clip any dead branches off shrubs and prune
them to a desirable shape. Divide and re-plant any large perennials. Cut off
dead flowers or foliage off all plants. Lightly rake dead leaves or debris
covering the soil. Weed. If one plant is growing in front of another so you
can't see the other, prune the first plant down so you can see the other plant.
Finally, give the garden a healthy dose of water. Now sit back with a glass of
iced tea and enjoy the clean, healthy look of your new garden.
So, the moral of the story is `less is more.... in gardens too.'
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