I am going to start on a tangent here; talking about household chemicals and our desire for germ-free and clean houses. Societal ‘norms’, the expected modus operandi condition us to behave in a certain way, and on the whole this is good. However it is also a good thing to step back occasionally and take stock of why we do things a certain way and reevaluate whether there is a better alternative. This article on the best low maintenance garden tip might not be quite what you were expecting… but by reading it I hope you will take a step back and reevaluate why you garden the way you do.
How often do you see messages on cleaning products that state it will “kill 99.9% of all known germs” or “germ-free”
Advertisers use messages about ‘killing germs and bacteria’ to keep your family safe; it encourages you to buy their product.
The message rammed home is – being clean and immaculate is good and so is killing germs!
So what relevance has this to do with gardening?
The problem is this, the constant barrage of imagery and messaging in adverts has altered our view of the world around us. More importantly, it has increased our physical and emotional disconnection from it.
We use phrases like; “the world outside” or “the natural world”, well outside what? My house? Am I not then ‘natural’ because I am human? This disconnection is reinforced by using phrases like pests and disease, which add to the view that there are dangers lurking ‘outside’ that humans need to deal with as these affect our enjoyment of the garden.
The problem caused by spraying and weedkilling is that this disrupts the natural balance. We take over management of this imbalance, which then means having to constantly work to keep maintaining the garden in its unnatural state.
In essence, chemical interventions create unnecessary work and then you have to work dealing with the problems you create! Which isn’t very low maintenance is it?
The Best Low Maintenance Garden Tip : Reevaluate HOW and WHY you do what you do.
This is very simply a cost benefit analysis for the garden, and it start by you asking yourself some questions.
- Why is it important for the grass to be free of all weeds?
- How much better will our use of the garden be IF the lawn is perfect, green and lush and has no moss or weeds?
- If there are aphids on some plants how is that going to personally cause you a problem?
- What bad things would happen if you didn’t cut the grass
- How would your life change if you decided not to have plants that needed gardening attention like Roses for example
- What is it about a totally weed free border or blemish free plant that improves your life significantly?
OK, so I know these questions are a bit loaded, but the point is this; Challenge why you garden the way you do. If there isn’t a personal benefit gained – why work at it?
Gardens balance themselves over time, if there are pests, more predators will come in and redress the balance. If plants cannot survive where they grow, these will die. The best low maintenance garden tip surely then is to ensure that any gardening effort you make strives to maintain the balance.
This is NOT a short term approach though, gardens that have been subject to this sanitizing approach will in the short term have more ‘pests’ than predators, however in time those predators will come. I have not sprayed any bug killing spray in my garden for over 10 years now and I do not have any ‘bug’ problem. My focus on maintaining the garden is all about balance. If one plant gets too big or isn’t thriving it is cut back or removed. I don’t use plants that tend to be aphid magnets like bedding plants or roses.
Gardens that are good at looking after themselves are by definition low maintenance. Meaning you can enjoy using the garden rather than constantly working on it.