Many people love to garden, gardening helps to relieve stress, heals us from the inside out, provides a place of comfort and rest, provides sanctuary for wildlife, provides pollinators a place to thrive, provides food and medicine, and creates beauty with color and texture. But what if you are married to the impatient gardener?
Disclaimer, “The persons, incidents and situations portrayed in this article are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, incidents, and situations is coincidental and accidental.”
Now that I have covered my backside, we can proceed with the rest of the article. You know that you have met people like this before; no matter what you do they are never happy with the time frame that you provide them. If you normally take two weeks to accomplish a job, you plan to work long hours to accomplish the same work in four days because you know they are impatient, they will want the job completed in less than four days. It is just a fact of life; even a three minute egg takes too long. We have to deal with it.
So what happens when our garden is going to take years to fully develop, you know the old Master Gardener saying, sleep the first year, creep the second year, leap the third year? You see the problem, our impatient gardener will never wait three years or more, and some gardens can take up to seven years until all of the plants have matured to their full shape and size. So let’s look at a few ways to create the illusion of maturity and also satisfy the impatient gardener with growth, color, texture, food, medicine, and most of all, “pretty”.
- Use fast growing vegetables for your ground covers and walk ways, this will generate some immediate growth, useful plant production, and in some cases you will have multi color options within the vegetable choices. A few examples would be Asian greens, leaf lettuce, mesclun, bush beans, spinach, and radishes. Walkways crops can be curled leaf parsley, creeping thyme, decorative kale, purple basil, and variegated sage.
- Sow sunflowers weekly in May and June for a successive bloom from late July to frost.
- Perennials as stated above might not look full and luscious until the third year under normal situations, take a little extra care to plant the perennials in clumps using more than suggested for the first few years. This will give you a fuller look to satisfy our impatient gardener, but only you will know that the perennials will have to be separated and relocated when they reach their full growth potential.
- When planting bulbs, remember that planting six of one type of flower will barely be noticeable, sixty will have an effect, six hundred will make a statement she will not forget.
- Remember to plant spring and fall blooming varieties of bulbs, then fill in with your summer blooming species of flowers to maintain blooms through the entire range of seasons.
- Create interest in the garden area by using bird houses, a bird bath, picket fences, garden art, colorful glass objects, solar lighting, a trellis or arbor, and plant species name tags.
- Create an unusual plant shape such as an espalier tree trellis such as apple, pears, or fig. Fruit bushes can be used as low hedges to separate garden plots or areas of interest such as a formal English garden from a less formal wildlife preserve.
- Use succession planting for vegetables to provide continual harvests across the growing season. The enjoyment of that first and last bite of harvest might be the only thing that grants you another year stay of execution when asking for funds to add future plants to your garden.
- Learn to propagate so you can save money by creating several plants from one purchased plant. The Master Gardeners are an excellent source of material and located within your county, look under your county extension agency for a phone number.
- Use containers for patio gardens to add a splash of quick color with annuals, then replant and move the containers to maintain continued interest.
- Use natural materials for walkways, terraces, and areas that chairs and tables can be employed for reading, napping, or just enjoying the sun and nature.
- Maintain areas of turf surrounding the garden area, we would not want a few days of unruly grass to derail our lifetime garden project.
If you can show enough interest and change, even the impatient gardener will have enough fond memories to continue building your dream for the garden area. They are not saying that they do not believe in you, they are simple stating that they do not have the ability to see and visualize what you see as a finished project. Continuing to assist them by providing smaller goals along the way helps them and helps you in the long run.
With personal and professional regards – Vince