Most people know K.I.S.S. is an acronym for Keep It Simple Silly (or something very similar). K.I.S.S. is great because you can apply it to just about any situation in life. Horticulture is no different. Sure, some horticultural pursuits, like growing certain exotic ornamental plants, fruits and vegetables, or houseplants, are complicated. But most people can save themselves a lot of time, money, and headaches by just sticking to the basics.
I often tell people that I am a lazy gardener, and it’s true. I don’t want to spend any more time working on my landscape or vegetable garden than is necessary. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy plants very much. However, the keyword here is ‘enjoy.’ Spending endless hours (especially during our hot South Carolina summers) fighting or babying sensitive plants is not my idea of enjoyment. Come to the dark side, be a lazy gardener like me. We have cookies… inside… in the air conditioning.
Being a lazy gardener starts with choosing the right plants. A basic tenet of sound horticulture is putting the ‘right plant in the right place.’ To do that, we must consider the ‘place’ by answering the following questions:
- Do I live in the Upstate, Midlands, or on the Coast?
- Is my yard shaded, sunny, or a mix of the two? What part of the day do I get sun and shade?
- Do I have heavy clay soil or well-drained sandy soil?
- How much space do I have for plants? (Look up, down, and side to side to answer this one!)
- What is my gardening skill level?
Choosing the right plants is easy with the answers to these questions in mind. For an easy ‘right plant, right place’ hack, choose native plants or tried-and-true introduced species. They are typically pest free and easy to maintain. Visit HGIC 1050, Choosing a Planting Location and Native Plants for Wildlife: Resources for Home Gardeners for more information about choosing the appropriate plants.
Following the ‘Right Plant, Right Place’ rule is 80% or more of being a lazy gardener. The remaining work is done through proper maintenance practices. I will tackle maintenance in next month’s blog post.