This is the time of year when we promise ourselves that we’ll make a change and start being better at something. For all the garden lovers and homeowners out there, I would like to suggest five New Year’s resolutions to consider implementing for 2011. It may seem a bit tacky or rude, but making recommendation to clients for their gardens is part of my daily routine, so in that spirit I present five New Year’s resolutions for the home landscape.
Repeat after me, I resolve to:
1 Severely limit or completely eliminate chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides! Seems like a no-brainer right? Not so fast. A quick stop at any garden center or big box nursery section reveals a plethora of chemical “solutions” (read: problems) for just about any problem (read: symptom). We have come a long way in the last few years my friends, but we still have a ways to go.
2 Start a compost bin! This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lower your trash output and provide you with material to build soil health. Enough said!
3 Come to terms with my lawn! This one should have dozen exclamation points after it. As homeowners, Americans have developed an overactive adolescent crush on large expanses of lawn (read any symbolism you like into that one!). Lawns are boring, vast, resource sucking spaces, not meant to be tucked into every corner and under every tree. Now before you banish me to the Arctic Circle, I am not anti-lawn. When sculpted into the landscape, with enough room allowed for personal use and cared for organically, lawns are a beautiful functional part of any well designed landscape.
4 Not be afraid to stretch my garden’s legs! A quick drive through any suburban neighborhood reveals a major aesthetic problem with today’s landscapes, “The Foundation Planting”. UGH! Your yards are bigger than you think people and there is no need to shove all the plants in your garden up against the house in a bed that’s six feet deep. Expand the planting beds, and for this you’ll need to eliminate some lawn (see previous suggestion), but by doing so you will achieve a better balance in your landscape and the house will not look like it’s holding its breath trying to fit into a small space.
5 Experiment with foliage! (not what you’re thinking) There is a vast array of foliage color, size and texture in the plant world and it is here that good planting design begins. Mixing and matching plants with interesting foliage will provide year round interest, and any blossoms will just be icing on the cake!
Well there you have it, five simple resolutions that will make your landscape environmentally friendly, sustainable, and the envy of the neighborhood. Please consider any or all of them for your garden for 2011. Now, I’m off to build a worm bin!
Happy New Year, and please share your gardening resolutions for 2011, love to hear them!