Nine years ago, I wrote an article about being a lazy gardener. To this day and, I believe, for the remainder of my gardening days, I will remain one. You, too, can have a beautiful garden while maintaining a lazy gardener lifestyle. Right plant/right place, the first of the nine FFL principles, includes consideration of site conditions. Other components are hydrozoning, considering plant size and keeping it simple.
Right Plant/Right Place: Analyze sun, shade, water requirements and soil composition.
Lazy Watering: Hydrozone – group plants by water needs, use microirrigation and harvest rainwater for ornamental plants, not edibles.
Size: Determine garden dimensions, mature plant size and the laziest number of plants needed to fill space. Lazy and smart gardeners do not plant for instant gratification, but for mature plant size saving time, work and money. Keep It Simple: If you are too lazy to water during dry spells, plant drought-resistant bloomers or wait until the rainy season to plant. If you are too lazy to rake leaves or pine needles when they fall, create self-mulching landscape beds. Instead of annual flowers, plant perennials.
Sweat Savers: Repeat your successes and plant re-seeders. Deadhead for more blooms and to save seeds. Use a timer system to perform 15 minutes of a dreaded gardening activity, then stop when the timer goes off. You’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish.
Time Saver: Wear gloves. Saves time cleaning your hands and fingernails.
Maximize Your Laziness: Use your friends wisely, start a friends gardening group, learn to love volunteer plants and permanently borrow plants from your friends and neighbors. Asking first is always a wise move. Divide and relocate perennials: no money spent, save on gasoline and no need to shop. Wait a minute. No shopping?
Lazy Maintenance Plants: Slow growers need less pruning. Wide spreaders means fewer plants required. Drought-tolerant plants require less watering. Pest and disease resistant plants need less Lazy Pest Management.
Low Demands and High Returns include: Dracaena, Plumbago, Firecracker Bush, African & Walking Iris, Thryallis, Pentas, Firebush, Croton and Salvia. These are just a few. For more ideas, order your own copy of The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design from watermatters.org. Click on resources, look for free publications, add to your cart and this Guide will be mailed to you.
My article next month will present Limitations to Lazy Gardening. More gardening information is available at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/ and http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. To view and register for upcoming workshops, visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/.