Behold Bryan County’s laziest gardener. I’m thinking of asking our friend Sherry to make that an official competition title for the Master Gardener’s annual Spring Fling. I have some serious skills in the field of laziness, and I have the pictures to prove it.
Several years ago I wrote an article about gardening styles. I put it on a page that you can access there on the left, but read it later. I can honestly say that my style has stayed the same over the years, but some of my methods have changed dramatically. I credit my years here on the prairie for that.
I have long accepted the philosophy that a weed/grass/wildflower is simply a plant found in the wrong spot. We think we are “all that and a bag of chips” as my granddaughter would say, because we can generally force plants to grow where and when we want them to, regardless of Nature’s intentions. When I lived in the city I was much more inclined to do just that. I was more of a “make a plan, sketch it out, make it happen” kind of gardener. Now I’m more of a “let’s see what happens” gardener, and that suits my lazy soul just fine. I thought about that as I worked in my flowers this morning. In years past I would have cleared the flower bed, added more top soil, sketched what I wanted to grow, and where, then purchased seed or plants and carefully put them into their new home. This morning I was content to remove some of the grass and weeds, scratch at the soil between the perennials and throw out a handful of seeds. I also made a note in my head to move some daylilies to the back of that bed as soon as it is safe to move them.
I have taken laziness to its ultimate with my seed scattering. I mean honestly, who digs seed holes in nature? Answer: animals and water. And they are both pretty sloppy. So I scratch the soil with my hoe, throw the seed around, and sprinkle with water. Done.
My seed mixing is also the result of calculated laziness. I used to plan and plot and prepare for each flower. If a plant failed to thrive where I placed it, I felt like a failure. What had I done wrong? How could I correct it? What did I need to do to make that flower grow there? Now I simply don’t care. I leave a lot of planning to the plants. I buy the seeds I want. I divide them into two groups- sun and shade- then I mix all of the sun seeds into a bag and all of the shade seeds into a bag. I throw the sun seeds into sunny beds and the shade seed into shady beds and “see what happens”. If a plant fails to thrive I hardly know it. If it does well, but I don’t like it in the spot where it chose to grow I can always move it. If it does well and multiplies, or makes seeds, even better.
I can play around with seeds and annuals and take risks and let my garden evolve. I invest a little more money in perennials, so I’m more careful with them, but I still try to be a touch lazy. I stay with tried and true perennials that are likely to do well in our heat. I don’t try many fussy plants, or plants that are clearly better suited to other climates and conditions. I don’t want to waste my time and effort constantly coaxing a plant along.
I like “free” plants, so I seldom turn down the offer of plants or seeds from other gardeners. If it does well in someone else’s garden, chances are it will do well in mine. This is only my third year here, so I need all the free help I can get until my own plants become more established and I’m able to take cuttings and seeds from them.
I used my lazy skills in the vegetable garden this year. I had some grape boxes that I’ve been dragging around for thirty years and they are getting a bit old. So I used three of them for little planters. I have radishes in one, basil in another, and sweet peas in the third. To fill them I simply put paper in the bottoms, placed a bag of soil in each box, and slit the bags open. Pulled back the edges and cut them off. Used a fourth bag of soil to top off the other three, and then planted.
My last lazy lesson is, don’t be so worried about a few weeds and grasses. Like I said, they are only “bad” because they are growing where I don’t want them to grow. After all, this wasn’t a bare spot of ground to begin with, so actually I am the intruder. I am the one who needs to work to defend what I want to grow. Everything else out here is just doing what it did for a hundred years before I got here!
If you need proof of my lazy wisdom I give you the example of the two plants I studied this morning. The white one is a plant I bought at Lowe’s for $2.50. The yellow one came up wild beside it. There are lots more in the pasture! Now I think it is quite ironic that the two are so similar and growing side by side. I can’t see any obvious advantage that the store-bought one has over the other in terms of beauty. Can you? Sometimes Mother Nature is just a whole lot smarter than I am, but I’m trying to learn her tricks. I’m too lazy to do anything else.