sending out an S.O.S.

overview of garden

This garden is perfect for someone who adores gardening and wants to spend at least a part of every day out there tweaking and grooming it. Trouble is, no matter how enthusiastically potential tenants claim to be just such someones, it never quite works out that way. The latest crop (delightful young business guys) could care less about the garden, and perhaps it’s for the best: we know it’s up to us…but what to do?

rock path and retaining wall with bergenia

There are some nice “bones”here, like the stone paths and retaining walls…this one with bergenia blooms spilling over the edge (after the blooms are spent, the plants get ratty and must be cut back).


Having spent years tucking bulbs here and there, spring is awash in little surprises like these anemones.

melianthus major

My first plant splurge was a Melianthus major from Gossler Farms. Amazingly, it took hold and spread to form what one might almost call a “grove”. My several attempts to dig up a piece of it to transplant to our current garden have come to naught.

pavers in central area

I don’t know if you noticed in the last shot, but around and between all of these “special” plants is lots of open ground…an open invitation to weeds. I just spent two full days doing nothing but weeding and am about halfway there. Part of our solution is to use pavers in the central area. I think we probably need to put down landscape cloth, mulch heavily and then find a good ground cover to use between…any ideas or other suggestions?

another overview

I begin to empathize with landlords who make uninspired choices, but I’m sure with a little help from my blogging friends we can find an elegant path to lower maintenance. Please help!

6 thoughts on “sending out an S.O.S.

  1. This is indeed a tough one, isn’t it Ricki? From the photos it looks like you’ve got a wonderful garden here and it deserves to be lavished over. Obviously the ideal situation would be to have a long-term tenant who loves to garden.

    Unfortunately I’m not very well-equipped at present to offer any inspiration. Probably a thick mulch is the best idea. Unless you don’t want to keep the garden at which point you could open it up to the Master Gardeners and they could dig it all up and repot for their sale. This seems pretty drastic though.

    I bet someone else will have a much better idea. 🙂 Great photos!

  2. Oh I hear your pain! I have a property that I lease back home, the tenants never seem to be garden lovers and over the years I have watched a beautiful garden become neglected and left to die, to then only be dug up and never replaced. I have had to let go as I am too far away to tend to it myself. At first I would even offer a discount on the rent and have a gardening clause in the contract so that they had to maintain it. There is a lot to be said for cookie cuter gardens…lol!
    A patio sounds like a great idea to combat many of the weeds. Also, to expand on Grace’s comment, have you thought about seeing if there is a local garden club or some similar club that may be interested in helping out as community service? Good luck Ricki!! Cheers Julia

  3. I can’t imagine trying to keep two gardens looking good! What a lot of work. Would you ever consider putting down gravel? With or without landscape fabric it really does help to keep the weeds down, well unless you’ve got a plant that seeds around a lot…

    I liked the idea of reduced rent for garden care, but of course “care” is subjective.

  4. Grace~Hmmm…some variation on that Master Gardener idea combined with Julia’s thoughts might work. I wonder about a community garden of sorts. Thanks! That idea had not occurred to me.

    Julia~Being too far away might actually lead to better decisions. As it is, I quite enjoy the time spent there, if it were not for the neglect of my garden at home.

    Loree~I so admire your use of gravel, but when I tried a swath of it some time ago I found it hard to groom, what with all of the fallen leaves and volunteer seedlings (yes, there seem to be an inordinate number of those.) I might try it again, though, especially as a filler between pavers.

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