Well, My Gardening Friends, another year is upon us!
Having just finished up some last minute nursery orders for spring I am enthused about some of the new plants coming out this year. Many are low maintenance, compact plants-- some are even fruits-- that can be used either in containers or small garden areas. These fruit varieties of blueberries, raspberries, & small fruit trees offer high yield and their compact habit will allow gardeners to work them into finished landscapes.
Gardening in containers has been a growing trend over the last few years—containers are popular because they are easy to maintain and can fit into tight areas. Last year we planted quite a few containers with mixed vegetables and herbs to show people what they could do in their yards or patios. We plan to do more this year and will possibly add some fruits to the AS&L Container Garden as well!
|A Maine Standard: Blueberry|
This time of year is the time I like to plan for some projects for the coming season; whether it involves renovating a particular garden, moving plants that have become to large, or focusing on areas that have become tricky because of water issues or maintenance. I have one spot that I have been thinking about for a few years and NOT tackled it (short of putting down landscape cloth to suppress the weeds until I can REALLY deal with it). This area has sandy, verrrry well drained soil with a lot of sun and wind exposure, AND a lot of snow which falls from a steep roof in the winter. So you can see why I have procrastinated so long about this spot!! Ideally, I want plants that will tolerate these conditions as well as naturalize the area to help keep the weeds at bay and to stabilize the soil.
Recently we had the annual MELNA trade show in Augusta. One of the key-note speakers was talking about some of the plants that I think would fit the bill for me. In particular Grow Low Sumac “Tiger Eyes” that has lovely yellow foliage. I will also use Spirea Sorbifolia, it has large, beautiful, billowy white blossoms and nice fall foliage. Both of these are forgiving and can be cut back if they are damaged by snow; they also naturalize well.
There are many other overlooked and quite nice plants that are drought tolerant and “low” (NOT NO) maintenance. Such as, Paniculata Hydrangea which has varieties that grow large, others that grow small, and many in between! They also now come in many colors often changing color both with the blossoms and the foliage throughout the summer and fall.
It is also good to consider plants that offer fruit and seeds for wildlife. It’s a “win win” situation; birds and wildlife enjoy the plants and we, in turn enjoy watching the birds and wildlife right in the garden! Aronia (chokeberry), Ilex (winterberry), myrica (bayberry),sambucus (elderberry) are just a few fabulous plants for a wildlife garden!
Just remember that even those challenging spots in the garden there are plants that will not only survive but thrive there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you visit your local nursery, we’re here to help. Remember we love to talk plants!
And, don’t forget to take the time to smell the roses—there’s beauty and peace there if we simply open our eyes and minds to it!