Monday's Visual Treat - Day 1/ Gardens To Cultivate



Because I received so many happy emails after posting ' Beautiful Flowers That Make Me Swoon,' the focus of last week's visual treats, I decided to write (or blog) about the different types of gardens cultivated by many of us; namely:  the dry/sunny garden, the wet garden, the shady garden, the urban sidewalk or street garden, and lastly the container garden.  I hope that the daily postings will be informative, enjoyable, and perhaps motivate the non-gardeners and timid among us to try something new and different such as starting a few potted plants, visiting a public garden or park, or making an appointment with a garden/landscape designer or landscaper/gardener to discuss fall plans for the integration of a garden to your existing home. Besides being thoroughly enjoyable, stress-relieving and life-enhancing, an ice-breaker or conversation starter, it adds mucho dollars to your property value--so there!!!

The dry, sunny garden receives lots of sun and calls for plants which are quite happy to spend long hours baking, as well as growing in a soil base which either dries out quickly, such as one which is rocky or sandy, or does not receive plentiful rainfall or frequent watering from an irrigation system/hand-held hose/green plastic watering-can.  An exposed, windy site adds to the the loss of moisture and the smart gardener/designer should consider windbreaks in the form of sturdy shrubs and trees; the smart placement of low walls or large container-pots (either in a better-quality plastic/synthetic materials/metals/glazed ceramic as these dry out less quickly than clay); the selection of drought-tolerant or native species quite adaptable to the existent conditions; and a thick cover of finely-shredded mulch or leaf-mould helps to prevent roots from drying out.  An alternative to the layering of mulch is to cultivate a low-lying, spreading/creeping plant(s) to provide cover from scorching sun and deflect evaporation/moisture loss--some examples of these are creeping sedums, herbs such as mints, sages, and shorter lavender/rosemary/thyme types, basket-of-gold, dianthus, and native grasses.  Between June and September, pretty much from North Carolina to Maine, it is quite hot and usually dry with a few variances in humidity due to elevation and/or proximity to ocean or large body of water.  Irrespective of your zone, I lump all these areas into one, which I designate 'WYEG' or in its entirety 'WYEGIDSADNDOTR,' meaning Water Your Entire Garden IDaily Sections And DNot
Depend OThe Rain.

Seriously, check with your extension department, local plant-center, nursery, or garden club, online wild-flower or native-plant directories listed by state or region, as an extensive list of suitable plants is easy to obtain or download; additionally, plants from the Mediterranean area, most bulbs, roses, and annuals from Central and South America will flourish, as well as be forgiving of temporary lapses in your watering duties.  If you are in the DC metropolitan area, be sure to visit the US Botanical Gardens located near the US Capitol.  Wonderful experience, beautifully designed and maintained theme gardens, and a gift shop!!

Enjoy the week and the attached photo of a Mediterranean-inspired garden.



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