Wednesday, April 24, 2013
PONOKA NEWS Page 23
Gardening styles for every lifestyle
By Amelia Naismith
As people become busier, low maintenance, busy lifestyle gardening becomes more popular. Gardeners with less time to spend with their plants can use groundcover and bark mulch with planted trees and shrubs rather than more traditional gardens. “The groundcover and the bark mulch prevents weeds,” said Tine Roelofsen, owner of Bobtail Nursery. “It saves a lot of labour.” However there are other plants that can’t grow over rock or the mulch, they need a cleaner environment. Petunias are a flower that requires more upkeep. “You have to clean them once in a while . . . deadheading,” said Tony Ruijsch, owner of Arbutus Nursery. Million bells are similar to petunias, but since they don’t seed they require less work. Million bells grow from cuttings. Gardens that requite a lot of pruning are much less low maintenance.
Chemical free garden fabrics Landscape fabrics are used to prevent weed growth while still allowing air, oxygen and water to flow to and from the soil. Landscape fabrics are a chemical-free way to prevent weed growth, endearing them to eco-friendly homeowners. Landscape fabrics, once laid, also are a far less laborintensive method to prevent weed growth and homeowners can expect to perform little or no maintenance. In addition, many homeowners prefer landscape fabrics because they can help the soil effectively maintain moisture during dry periods, when gardens might otherwise be highly susceptible to drought. Once put down, landscape fabric can be covered with mulch to add aesthetic appeal.
To keep gardens healthy and looking neat, perennials need to be cut back each year and diseased or broken limbs must be pruned. “My rule of thumb is don’t prune until you see your first buds,” said Country Gardens and Greenhouse owner Carmen Sim. Perennials include tulips, irises and ornamental grasses such as karl foerster and eldorado. Container gardening and square foot gardening can be a time saver but transferring them at a later date comes with its own set of challenges, such as starting too early and not enough sunlight. “Even putting them in a really sunny window, the sunlight gets dissipated,” said Sim. Gardens can also save time in other aspects of life. Those who grow herbs don’t have to go to the grocery store for the purchases and herbs have many medicinal and beauty uses. Certain flowers, such as pansy petals, can be added to salads for colour and taste.
Tine Roelofsen, owner of Bobtail Nursery, is a knowledgeable resource of low maintenance gardening. Photo by Amelia Naismith
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April 24, 2013 edition of the Ponoka News