"Your garden looks terrible."
I am aware. I'm embarrassed to even admit I have a garden. One would never guess that underneath those weeds, a garden exists! But, that's life. Sometimes gardening gets put on hold.
If you have to be an on-again, off-again gardener, like I have been over the last couple of months, it can become quite discouraging to see all your hard work disappearing under a sea of weeds.
So, how do you whip a garden back into shape?
Well, this is how I'm going to do it:
I can't see where the grass paths end and the weedy beds start, so mowing and string trimming will be first on the list. It makes a big impression, and looks like I have accomplished something. And the neighbors will be happy. So, mowing comes first.
|Madame Berkeley surrounded by lantana and calibrachoa (million bells)|
It seems that every grass that's been invented has taken up residence in my flower beds. Along with numerous other weeds. I will slowly and methodically go bed by bed pulling weeds and removing grass. Actually, the beds that are established and have been weeded well for several years are not bad. It's the newer beds, where the weeds are fighting to gain their territory back, that look so very horrible. Since the weeds grow so fast, I won't take the time to cut down dead daylily stems, deadhead roses, or cut off dried yarrow blooms. I will concentrate all my time and effort on weeding first.
|Hosta in front of pink crape myrtle bloom|
3) Go around again.
When the beds have all been weeded (whenever that may be!), I will then go around bed by bed again, doing the maintenance chores I didn't do when working in these beds before. This includes all the cutting down, cutting back and dead plant removal that I didn't get to before.
4) Go around again!
This time, I'll do one last weeding, and finally finish the mulching that I started this spring. This step always seems so easy, but it always takes longer than I expect. Hopefully, I'll get finished before next spring, when I'll start this chore again! ;)
|Sunflowers in a container. I've been waiting all summer for them to bloom!|
Do I have any other advice?
Yes! Don't forget to stop and look for the beauty in your garden. A bloom here and there, even if they are surrounded by weeds, are still gifts from your garden. Take the time to find these joys.
If you have help, enlist it. If not, do what you can, and remember that just as gardens are not grown overnight, getting one back into shape will not happen overnight, either. But that's part of the beauty of a garden. It will wait patiently.
|Rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)|
So, it seems that the gardener is not the only one that learns patience. The garden practices it, too.
It's a never ending process but yes, patience is a mutual virtue between the gardener and the garden :)ReplyDelete
Patience is a definite trait of a gardener. Patience for a plant to mature. Patience for a garden to mature. And now patience to get to all the tasks that build up when you are away from the garden. Your garden has great bones. It will come back to its glory days, patiently.ReplyDelete
Oh so very true! I like that you are looking for the blooms! That is great advice for living your life as well! Looking for blooms instead of the negative! And boy do your blooms shine!!!ReplyDelete
It's the heat that gets us down here. I go like gangbusters untilReplyDelete
June, then the heat gets so bad there's only time for a little watering in the mornings to keep everything alive til October finally arrives. In the meantime, the Bermuda and weeds are thriving, while the rest is just hanging on. Hang in there. You'll get it sorted out, and have lots of "meditation time" while you're at it. :~)
I've been out of town and have returned to a jungle. I really did not want to go out there!ReplyDelete
But I re-staked my sunflowers this morning. They had gotten tall and top heavy and were touching the ground. It's kind of like wrestling with an okra plant--fuzzy, stickery and not pleasant at all.
But I was rewarded by a cool sight of a dragonfly flying with it's grasshopper victim. A bit morbid, I suppose, but I was fascinated by it. It's a sight I've never seen and made me respect the dragonfly even more.
So there will be times to see things as you work your way through the garden. I hope you find a bit of joy in what you discover (and uncover!).
Patience and a plan, that's impressive Holley! You are well ahead since I generally work without either one of those. Beginning with the easiest beds might help you see quick progress too.ReplyDelete
Please remember to take care of yourself as we are seeing some of the hottest, most humid days in quite a while too.
Holley - Take out the BIGGEST weeds first. That will be like mowing. From the street, things will look orderly.ReplyDelete
Gardening is a never ending process but sometimes, when we have been occupied elsewhere, it get out of hand. I am always worried about that but most important is to see the bright sight of the garden, the beauty of flowers and even weeds can be nice. Happy gardening! (Here it is too hot, about 35 degr.C. pffff)ReplyDelete
Some summers are just like that. I'm impressed with your orderly plan and know that you'll be very happy after you've accomplished each step! I hope you enjoy the process too.ReplyDelete
You can be proud of yourself having a whole scedule how to manage your garden. I always am a little chaotic. Starting weeding seeing a dead roseflower, start cutting and do everything half. That's not the easiest way to get things under controle. I think I have to do it your way in the future.ReplyDelete
Have a wonderful day Holley
Poor you - I have been there so many times before. The only thing I would do differently is edge the lawns before you weed. A well-edged lawn reduces the need for weeding since your garden will look so well tended that no one will dare to question your taste in plants (ahem weeds). The other suggestion I would make is to ask you to take it slowly. If you haven't been gardening for a while, you may not be match fit and the last thing anyone wants is to hear that you have injured yourself through over-exuberant gardening. Good luck!ReplyDelete
You have a great plan. My mantra is one bed at a time. I think we have all been there.ReplyDelete
I don't mean to sound critical of Mr. Holley Garden, because I know he must be a wonderful person, but perhaps there was a more tactful way for him to phrase that...? :) Your plan sounds very well-adjusted, as one of my friends would say. Don't forget to include time for a glass of ice-cold tea in there!ReplyDelete
A great lesson, thanks!ReplyDelete
Have you considered groundcovers in the beds as a way to suppress the weeds? I've been trialing different groundcovers in my Tennessee garden and have found several that do a good job -- much better than mulch -- of keeping weeds under control. In shady spots, for instance, Sweet Woodruff is a champ (http://www.gardenofaaron.com/2013/07/groundcover-review-sweet-woodruff.html). And in sun or shade, Hardy Blue Plumbago plays a similar role (http://www.gardenofaaron.com/2013/07/groundcover-review-hardy-blue-plumbago.html)ReplyDelete
Good luck restoring your beds to their former glory!! :)
Good luck with the weeds, it takes one a lot longer than one thinks to get the job done. Then the main thing will be to keep up the maintaince. Perhaps Mr Holleygarden could help out there?ReplyDelete
A garden needing to be whipped back into shape is a very worthy chore and great therapy!ReplyDelete
Smart woman to create a battle plan. :o) I just pulled a massive clump of sedge grass out of the middle of a daylily. I'd been wondering why my daylily had such upright foliage. To think I'd been watering an fertilizing this dumb weed all summer. Thank you for your comment on my blog. I can't imagine how painful that must have been.ReplyDelete
spent my garden day, pruning and weeding and tidying. Tomorrow we have another estate agent coming. And my priority is in the garden. I'll whip round the house in the morning!ReplyDelete
It sounds like you have a good plan. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Enjoy your time in the garden!ReplyDelete
What beautiful pictures for a garden in such distress. Boy, do I feel for you looking at all the work ahead of you. But just mowing and trimming will improve things a lot, even before you get to the weeding.ReplyDelete
Sara Stein wrote that mother nature looks at our lovingly tended flower borders and says "it's a nice meadow but it needs more grasses" And she's good at improving things for us when we are away.
Very good advice! Welcome back! I hope you had a nice time away. My garden "rooms" vary -- from relative order to complete chaos. I'm ignoring the chaos for the time being because I don't know where to start. ;-)ReplyDelete
You're in my Blogger Spotlight! :o)ReplyDelete
Well---even a Gardener cannot spend every moment in the garden. We do all have a LIFE, don't we? SO---we just try to enjoy what we have and try not to worry about what would make it all look more perfect... Who cares anyhow?????? haReplyDelete
Lol this is exactly what I should do in my garden. I gave up on weeding for at least 15 more days. There is no use in doing it. I don't have the time to do it properly and it seems that the weeds are helping my plants to survive high temperatures we're having. Guess I'll have use your plan after we get some decent rain :D :DReplyDelete
How perfect your words are for me as my garden has been on hold due to work. So I will be doing the same although it will take me through fall and not be done as well as I would like, but i hope to start it again ins spring and hope to get a better handle...my garden has been patient indeed...more so than me, but the critters have enjoyed it the most.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately you have the hard part of gardening ahead of you. Sometimes things get away from us.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
I think we are all too critical of our gardens anyway! I'm sure a visitor wouldn't even notice the weeds... or is it really that bad?! Enjoy getting things back into shape - it's time well spent!ReplyDelete
It is amazing how quickly the weeds can reclaim the garden. Sometimes only a week away can make such a difference. I totally agree with your plan, it is my plan too.ReplyDelete
Gardening is just like going to the gym. It takes months to get in shape, and the minute you stop going, it's as if you've never been at all. You are much more ambitious than I am - I pull out only the worst offenders.ReplyDelete
I really like Sarah's analogy! So true! This month I am tackling an area of the garden I have avoided/neglected for years. It contains a large patch of goutweed and a few dead shrubs that will have to be removed. For this huge task I am taking a similar approach to yours. I am going to go slowly, working from the front to the back of the bed. Hopefully hubby can help me with the shrubs. It certainly will be an exercise in patience!ReplyDelete
I hope your garden recovery goes well Holley. Sometimes a break is good for the soul and the fresh approach you may even give you a whole new persecutive on your garden. Have a wonderful weekend!
I wish it wasn't, but my garden is permanently messy. To avoid distress, I try to remind myself of something I a gardener I admire said: 'I enjoy the process!' I guess I'm in too much of a hurry to get to the end product!ReplyDelete
I agree with the mowing - no. 1 for smartening up a garden. I would normally start at the back of a bed that needs clearing/renovation - then you can fork over to get rid of compaction and won't tread on what you've just cleared.
As a reader, I was wishing for some illustrations of the "mess" you must deal with, just as I wish I had before pictures of my old garden as well as the showy shots. You probably do not want to document it now when it is distressing, but I bet you will be glad to compare progress with pictures of how bad it was. I am saying this to myself, too, as I continue wrestling with the weedy lot I call my new garden.ReplyDelete
You're much more methodical in your approach to garden clean-up than I am. I think I have gardening ADHD - I start one task only to be distracted by another and flit from one thing to the next without finishing what I began. I'm not that way in other parts of my life so I don't know what it is about gardening that flips the switch. In any case, my garden has also reached its summertime messy stage - and I don't have the valid excuse of having been absent. When you're through practicing in your clean-up strategy in your garden you're more than welcome to pay a visit to mine :) .ReplyDelete
Such encouraging words & helpful tips. Just what I need!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I feel much better now that I've read your timely post! Our garden was beginning to look very sad, indeed. We finally hired help one weekend and boy, does it look better! We don't have as many lovely blooms as you have, though. The garden seems to be just hanging on, waiting out the heat. I appreciate your advice; it's wise to seek out the beauty that's still there awaiting discovery.ReplyDelete
Holley, I would like to finish weeding as well. But sun shines after rain and weeds grow faster. What to do? Thank you for advice! I love the rose Madame Berkeley!ReplyDelete
This iceberg rose is great! I'd love to have it in my garden :)ReplyDelete
Weeding is not much fun, but at least you can see a difference immediately so it's somewhat satisfying! I always intend to lay mulch straight away so I won't have to do it again so soon, but usually the weeds grow back faster than I lay the mulch on them :PReplyDelete
My tip for weeding is to pick a weed (the first one on my list is bindweed), then just go around the garden zoning in on that one weed. You'll get into a rhythm and start pulling them out while on auto-pilot.ReplyDelete
Love that you made a list and have a plan! it can be discouraging sometimes and so hard to start when you don't know where to begin. I"m sure your garden will look weedfree again in no time.ReplyDelete
That gardening is a practice of patience is something I think bears repeating because gardening magazines -- and even botanical gardens that we visit as tourists -- always make gardens look like static, finished "things." I came here by way of Casamariposa... and I am very glad I did because your honest description of what it means to be a gardener affirms my own gardening practice... Life gets in the way, very often, so my garden moves between groomed and unkempt/groomed and unkempt all year long. You make me feel much better about that reality!ReplyDelete
Thank you for these advices. I needed them as I was for a vacation and my garden has become a jungle. I will surely find some lions and tigers!! :-)ReplyDelete
Good plan! Most gardens can tolerate on-off gardening as long as the off part doesn't last too long and they get watered - my garden being a good example of such!ReplyDelete
That brought a wry smile to my lips, as I am about to embark on pretty much the same programme of works. The great thing is that as you mow and weed, you get to reacquaint yourself with the garden, and get surprised all over again by the beauty. An excellent description of what I would term real life gardening!ReplyDelete
Haha! I love this!!!! I felt the same when I got back and returned to a jungle!! I thought the garden looked dire! Dead foxgloves everywhere and foliage galore - so much so I can't even walk along some paths! Love your plan for tackling it, 'go around again...go around again' :D Yep! That's pretty much what I do too! Its sooo enjoyable though. I try not to see it as a chore but as an excuse to potter and relax. To lose myself in the jungle!!ReplyDelete
It doesnt take long for the thugs to take over in your garden, does it? I like your plan! Over the years, I have found that restraint helps a lot too! Instead of adding a new bed and more plants, I try to edit what I have and reduce if possible so that I can keep the upperhand!ReplyDelete
Love your last line, "So, it seems that the gardener is not the only one that learns patience. The garden practices it, too." Didn't realize it until now, but it's true (thank goodness) cause my garden needs a LOT of patience this summer :)ReplyDelete
Oh girl I have been such a lazy gardener this year and it shows it, and it does not take long for those weeds to get started as you said. Your blooms are beautiful and the flowers are not seeming to mind it. :)ReplyDelete
Such an interesting post, Holley. Sometimes the garden looks terrible to me, and sometimes it looks OK, and that depends more on my mood than on what it actually looks like! Going round and round, as you say ... it's a process, not a product.ReplyDelete