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Low-maintenance plants give gardeners a break
Many homeowners consider it a point of pride to have a nicely manicured landscape. Southern Gardening is one of many sources of information to help gardeners with maintenance tips and plant selection.
But sometimes, especially at the end of a long, hot summer, the home gardener loses landscape momentum. As I admitted in last week’s column, I’ve found myself in this position. To tell you the truth, it bothers me even though I downplayed the situation.
As I was listening to a podcast from blogger and virtual mentor Michael Hyatt, I had a moment of landscaping insight. While Michael doesn’t blog about landscaping, what he said made perfect sense to me. It’s OK to have a loss of landscape momentum.
Landscaping and vegetable gardening activities all have to deal with the seasons. We plant. We feed. We water. We harvest (hopefully). Then, sometimes we just have to leave the ground fallow.
This break lets us recharge our batteries and plan ahead for the next year. So it’s OK to lose a little landscape momentum, because it will come back.
Now, I’m not advocating that we completely leave our landscapes to lie fallow. But we can plant some really low-maintenance plants this fall that will carry us through to spring and allow our landscape batteries to recharge.
I’ll write more in depth in coming weeks about specific varietal selections, but here are some suggestions to get you thinking and looking. Garden centers are already starting to carry these fall and winter plants.
Two of my go-to selections for easy fall and winter color are ornamental kale and cabbage. They offer so many different colors and leaf textures to add landscape interest, but I have to admit that I like the red-colored selections best. While both are good choices, ornamental cabbage has a more uniform look compared to the kale and forms round, semisolid heads.
Another option is the old-fashioned viola, also called Johnny jump ups. These smaller relatives of pansies are a great choice for either landscape beds or containers. The flowers are held high above the foliage and come in a wide variety of colors. I like that violas readily reseed, and I enjoy the places these plants will literally jump up in the landscape.
One of my very favorite cool-season bedding plants is dianthus, especially the Telstar series. Telstar dianthus grows 8 to 10 inches tall and wide and tolerates low temperatures. The Telstar dianthus is a great partner with either pansy or viola. These pairings can maintain interest from fall through the following spring.
So consider planting some of these plants to provide landscape interest without a lot of hassle for the gardener. Give yourself a rest and get your garden mojo back for next year.