Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's Up with Time Anyhow?

I often hear people say they want to garden but don't have enough time. I will NOT say you don't need time to garden because you certainly do. You notice though, people don't say they don't have time, they just say they don't have ENOUGH time. So here is the key to gardening and time-manage your time wisely and garden within the limits of your time.

Duh! Right? Sounds so easy but I do know it is NOT easy managing time. Even if I didn't passionately garden and spend most of my free time in the garden, I would still have difficulty managing time. We are only given such a limited amount that each and every day has to count but you can garden in some way if you wish to-despite time limits. My gardens actually require less time than one would think. I walk through them in the morning and evening. On my passes I pull weeds, prune and whatever else that needs to be done. I have a lot of gardens so these walks take me about 15-30 minutes. Less than an hour a day. The gardens are much LESS time and maintenance than the lawn. As much as I love grass, my goal is to minimize it because of all the time, money and maintenance-just think mowing! Yuck!

Oftentimes the off putting factor preventing people from committing to gardening is the upkeep of the garden. It does require a long-term commitment and sometimes we don't want to commit. That is OK. If you still want to garden or like to garden indulge your desires with reading gardening magazines, or houseplants. I can assure you, neither will require much weeding!

Even houseplants require a commitment-you do occasionally have to water them. I have a secret, I HATE watering houseplants. I grew up in a home where my mother had tons of houseplants in every window of the house and on every flat surface. She grew the most beautiful houseplants and so I do grow houseplants because of these memories. The good thing about my houseplants is I can move them outside in the summer. I don't have to go and buy those standard ferns everyone seems to want to hang on their porches each spring. Why not try houseplants and be different from your neighbors? You save time because you don't have to go and buy the ferns-but you still do have to water. I can't help you there. That being said I do love ferns. Here is a secret I have learned. If you grow the Boston ferns and their cousins, instead of bringing them into the house where they drop leaves all over the place, put them in your crawlspace if you have one. Come spring (not before big freezes please), remove them and it is usually like they were just put under. Mine are still green and intact. I have wintered my ferns over in this way for six years. See, saved you some time and money!

Anyhow, gardening is a hobby which takes time but with creative use of your time and honest evaluation of your capabilities and desires anyone can find the time to garden.

The picture above is of another type of my favorite plant, the eupatoriums. I already discussed the chocolate eupatoriums. This is Eupatorium purpureum, aka Joe Pye Weed. It grows to about 6 feet in my garden and blooms in the fall. It is a butterfly magnet and I love this picture. I have sometimes seen the 'Gateway' variety of Joe Pye in stores down here but they are more common up north. Don't let that fool you, Joe Pye grows great here in Tennessee and grows wild in the mountains. It is a wonderful plant which I think is much underused. I got mine from mail order catalogs and I also handcarried plants down from Maine. I thought at first it did not take until one day the weeds got a head of me and the "Joe Pye Weed" bloomed! Apparently I had been pulling the Joe Pyes, so beware when weeding.

in the garden....


  1. The first year we moved into this house, I could not wait to get 4 hanging ferns for our rocking chair front porch! I learned real quickly that sweeping up the fern mess everyday was not for me. The second year, I went with Spider Plants. They did well and at the end of the season I pitched them into a pile in the woods. They came back the following spring! So I dug them out of the woods and put them in the ground near a stump (I found it on the roadside where it had fallen out of someone truck on the way to the dump. I made the Saint help me get it home) where they keep returning each year! I now find the Wandering Jew plant in green color and get them. They work well and show up better then the purple ones with our brick background which I have tried also…

    I still cannot live in the Deep South without a fern or two. We cut down two trees in the back near our patio and I had the Saint leave a few feet of the stump for placement of ferns. The ferns would fall over with the wind and my mom made a suggestion for that one. Remove the hangers. Place floral wire in the 3 hanger holes and twist wire around three nails in the stump! They never fall over again. Only problem is, I put trays under the plants and on really rainy seasons, this can be a problem. But this dry year has not been a problem. The problem can be attracting mosquitoes in the standing water… Believe it or not during this drought I have only watered them about twice a week and they are beautiful!

    I always hate leaving the ferns to die in the winter. They usually last until mid to late Nov here in GA… I will try your suggestion on wintering the ferns in the crawl space of the house. Our crawl space is really low but I will give it a try anyway. Will I need to water them at all in the winter months? I will send you pictures of this years ferns on the stumps…

  2. I have spider plants on my porch! What a coincidence! I like your mom's idea of the nails and coat hangars. I love ferns too but they can get old since everyone has them.

    Do leave them under the crawlspace. Make sure they are moist when you put them down there and I might check mine about once or twice in the winter to see if they need more water. Usually not. Try it! I think it should work for you.

  3. I was telling the Saint about the idea for the ferns and we think we may take it a step further and put the Wandering Jews under there also to see if they make it over winter too! Will save us about $50 next spring if they all survive!