Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardening in No Time

By William Hageman

RISMEDIA, May 17, 2011—(MCT)—Face it, gardens can be overwhelming.

What do I grow? Where do I put it? What plants look good together? What if I screw up and nothing grows?

But, says Tessa Evelegh, gardening is therapeutic, and too good an experience to be simply dismissed or fretted over.

“There’s the sheer thrill of putting in little baby plants and seeing them explode into a profusion of color over the season,” Evelegh says in an email from Britain. “And then you feel like just the cleverest person in the world, even though you know full well that it was just, say, half an hour’s work and a little TLC with the feeding, watering and deadheading.”

Her background is that of a photographic stylist. She has taken her skills and love of gardening to write “Gardening in No Time: 50 Step-by-Step Projects and Inspirational Ideas.”

According to Evelegh, her goal was to give people recipes for easy-to-do garden projects that would work and create instant impact. The following are Evelegh’s responses to some important topics that all gardeners deal with.

Most people are pressed for time, yet most people enjoy gardening.
(The book is) designed to be achievable for people with no gardening experience, but I’ve tried to come up with impactful, almost graphic ideas that more experienced gardeners can also glean inspiration from. And yes, even if you’re a keen gardener like me, time is often of the essence and it’s easy to resist doing those front pots, for example, because you think you’re going to need an afternoon to do them. But it doesn’t need to be like that. If you’ve thought out what you want to do, it really can be only half an hour for the reward of a summer of color. These “recipes” do the thinking for you, but the projects are also there for inspiration, and some people will love to adapt them to create something unique of their own.

What to do with containers, baskets, impact plants, etc.
The key to creating impact is to either plant bold groups of colorful plants, or create impact by introducing some kind of structure. A container does this, but you can be more adventurous: I’ve used an old painted basket chair or a wheelbarrow. The art is to use clever color combinations, or make a statement with the container.

I’ve also put in ideas for people who don’t have time for the TLC bit, and need a gardening version of a point-and-press camera. Drought-resistant plants, such as grasses, bamboos, succulents, are good for this. And you can still do something dramatic, such as a spiral of polished pebbles and blue grasses.

Adaptable projects, whether you have a small yard, a big yard, an apartment balcony or whatever.
There’s something for everywhere. Even if you only have a patio, you can create unexpected statements like using a potted pear tree. I always think it’s lovely to add a bit of wit, personality and fun. The pear tree, although dwarf and not likely to ever grow very big, was still young and a bit spindly, so I hung a huge heart shaped candleholder on its branches, spiked with a pear. Fun both with and without the pear. If you have larger gaps to fill in the open garden during the growing season, you can “cheat” by going down to the garden center and buying several of the biggest, most flamboyant plants you can see and pack them into the gaps.

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