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Jul 292013
 

The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It

The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It

Do you ever lament that you’d love to be able to garden more, but just don’t have the time? The demanding pace of modern life leaves little space for the pleasures of gardening. On the other hand, gardening itself could be the culprit: elaborate, traditional perennial borders; water-hungry or disease-prone plants; needy lawns; and high-maintenance plants that require staking or clipping all suck up precious hours.

Simply put, we need to start gardening in a whole new way. In this ins

List Price: $ 19.95

Price: $ 4.30

  3 Responses to “The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It”

  1. 70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Not good for beginners, April 10, 2010
    By 
    Jess R. (Philadelphia, PA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It (Paperback)

    I recently moved to a house with a giant yard. Beyond planting a few annuals every year and growing container vegetables, I have very little gardening experience, so I hoped this book would provide some good ideas about how to start transforming my featureless expanse of grass into something that looked pretty good without too much continuous effort on my part.

    Unfortunately, this book wasn’t really helpful to me. Right from the introduction, the author assumes her audience are people who have previously spent way too much time intensively planting and maintaining formal gardens. She urges the reader to perhaps relax a little and let the lettuce bolt, and casually mentions things like sedums and sedges. Having no idea what bolting, sedums, or sedges were, the advice left me feeling overwhelmed, but I imagine that a more experienced gardener might benefit from the ideas in the book. At least there was a nice list of suggested low-maintenance plants in the back… but no pictures of them!

    There were some contradictions, as well: in the first few pages, it clearly stated that “cottage gardens” were outdated, and yet many of the examples appeared to be (and were even described as) exactly cottage gardens. Also, parts of the book stress using drought-tolerant native plants, while showing gardens that are dependent on irrigation systems.

    Basically, the book features a lot of beautiful, mature, complete gardens planted by professional designers. Gorgeous to look at, but didn’t really give a good idea of where to start transforming my own yard. It also tended to focus on making the most of small spaces, which wasn’t really helpful in my situation.

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  2. 23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Most suggestions require $$$, June 14, 2011
    By 
    Northwest teacher (Whidbey Island, WA USA) –

    This review is from: The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It (Paperback)

    I turned to this book for some help with my giant garden, but found froufy fancy gardens in the elites’ back yards. Crushed ceramic pottery for a paving material? The reason I need low maintenance is in part because I don’t have minions around to work on every detail. I certainly don’t have the bucks to install most of her suggestions. I suppose the pictures are fun to look at, but in this economy and this lifetime, I won’t be hiring the required crew for implementing these ideas.

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  3. 54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Not the only gardening book you need, but an excellent addition to a gardening library, May 19, 2010
    By 
    Gen of North Coast Gardening (California) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It (Paperback)

    You’d think that a landscape designer who also does landscape maintenance would be dismissive of the whole low-maintenance gardening thing. After all, there’s a negative impression of low-maintenance gardens as being dull, static, lifeless places devoid of wildlife or any personal character.

    But there is a balance in a well-designed garden between hardscape (the patios, walkways, raised beds, and other permanent structures), the shrubs and trees that require little care beyond formative pruning and appropriate watering, and the flowers, grasses, veggies and bulbs that invite your personality to shine yet do require more care to keep up.

    Finding that perfect balance is what this book is all about, so when Timber Press sent me a copy to review, I was excited to dig in. This book is an inspiring manifesto that introduces you to gardeners who have found that balance between caring for their garden, and having time to just enjoy their garden.

    It’s not about skipping out on maintenance altogether, because many of the gardens featured have flowering plants, veggies and container gardens that do require care.

    It is about figuring out what really touches your soul in a garden, and thinking carefully about how to edit your “must-haves” down to a few key elements. The end result is a garden that feels lush and bold, yet requires less time to care for and focuses your attention only on the more enjoyable tasks in gardening.

    Some of her advice for creating the new style of low-maintenance garden:

    * Keep it small: a small garden requires less time and resources to care for.
    * Most of the garden is not actually planted in the ground, to avoid weeding. Pavers, gravel laid over landscape fabric, or other usable entertaining areas take the place of lawn, and planting is done in raised beds, troughs or large containers to avoid weeding areas of ground that don’t need to be planted.
    * Take good care of your soil and use ample amounts of mulch to help plants be less dependant on you.
    * Use drip irrigation systems to free you from the endless chore of hand-watering.
    * Use screening to create small, manageable spaces that you can design carefully and maintain with ease. In the screened-off areas of the garden you can place garden sheds, compost bins, and out-of-season planting containers or chairs.
    * Use the screening you create as vertical gardening space to pack more plants and interest into a small area.
    * Carefully edit your plant list to make sure every plant is attractive in multiple seasons and doesn’t need spraying or dividing. Rely heavily on plants that provide year-round foliage interest, and use flowers strategically in places where you’ll really notice them.

    These are just a few of the basic concepts presented.

    Easton then takes us on a garden tour, profiling a number of differently-styled gardens. She talks with the gardeners who created these personal, beautiful spaces to learn how they developed their garden plan, what was important to them in creating and changing their garden, and how they use the garden now.

    Throughout each section, Easton gives tips on how to use groundcovers effectively, avoid invasive plants that can turn into a maintenance nightmare, or get rid of weeds organically. The tips are practical and focused, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a number of bookmarks through the book by the time you’re done reading.

    One thing to note is that many of the gardens incorporate elements that are decidedly not low-maintenance, such as a large plantings of annual Impatiens, or annual vegetables that need refreshing throughout the year. But this is consistent with her philosophy that garden maintenance be about figuring out your priorities and editing down to just the most important elements.

    It’s not about no-maintenance, it’s about choosing the type and amount of maintenance that works for you and gets you the results you most desire in your garden.

    The author also discusses using container plants as a way of reducing maintenance. She points out that if you use drip irrigation and create permanent container plantings of shrubs and trees, container plantings can be a low-maintenance way of avoiding the bending and weeding of gardening in the ground. Container plants do need to be repotted periodically in order to thrive (which can be an intimidating task!), but I agree with her point that the bold look of containers can reduce the number of plantings needed to create a lush, green environment.

    If I have one quibble with the book, it is that some of the photos of container plants she features have plantings that are gorgeous, but unrealistically crammed with plants that will outgrow their pots and overwhelm the things they are growing with. I worry that new gardeners won’t understand that this is inspirational eye…

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