Yes, I have a secret. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything about my own gardens this year. That’s because I have a dirty, little secret about them.
Here it is. For the past year I have done nothing in the garden besides cutting back my neighbor’s wisteria before it overtook my studio windows and pull one giant weed. I really mean nothing. No supplemental water, no mulch, no deadheading or cutting back, no planting, no weeding, no deer spray, no nothing other than what I mentioned above.
Why? I wanted to see just how little maintenance the various gardens could takebefore they looked truly awful. Why? This is what happens to my installed gardens more often than not with unskilled labor taking care of them. That and all of the shrubs are pruned within an inch of their lives.
Here’s what happened. The two gardens that were largely perennials and grasses look like hell. The two that are mixed-shrubs, trees, and perennials look fine–a little blowsy but fine. I do (honking my own horn) attribute the success of these two gardens to good design.
I will have hell to pay later on and the Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and the wild onions will need a hard taskmaster next year. My gardener friends are appalled, but my neighbors still stop when I’m outside and tell me how beautiful the gardens are. So now my secret is out.