How to start a low maintenance Perennial Garden

Monek Marie
Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

Low maintenance is always nice. There are some good ideas here and a few I would tweak.

I would mix edibles in here and still have low maintenance and I would look at edible flowers to add more use to the garden. Not that beauty and a fresh bouquet are not nice too.

I'm also not really a rototiller person and prefer natural methods is possible and usually us cardboard as a weed barrier instead of landscaping fabric.


  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I believe rototillers make a lot of sense for breaking new ground after you've purchased a new place, or are starting a new garden in a location that used to be lawn or heavy sod. But there is a good argument to be made for no-till methods after you have that garden going and have done the initial soil break-up.

    I've never understand the point of huge, non-edible flower gardens. They look pretty, but so do many edible plants. My apple trees are in bloom right now, my strawberries are starting to bloom, nasturtium flowers are edible, and so on. I would always suggest that edibles be the core of any home garden, with perhaps a few non-edible flowering plants added (particularly in deep shade, where wildflowers may thrive but few edibles would).

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy Non-edible flowers bring in pollinators, and some of them help with pest control. My aloe (although medicinal) is blooming, and hummingbirds love it - hummingbirds also eat ants, aphids, fruit flies, gnats, weevils, beetles, mites, and mosquitoes. Additionally, many so-called inedible flowers are actually edible.

    I agree that when one is breaking new ground, it does help to till if the ground is too hard. Once the soil has recuperated from past abuse, it shouldn't need to be tilled anymore.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My perennial beds are for pollinators and fresh cut flower of the home and for sale. But they are set up a bit different than what most people would put in a perennial bed

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have found that native plants usually are the best way for a low maintenance garden.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    I think a mix of perennial and annual works pretty well (especially if the annual self seeds). I will be trying Echinacea and Calendula this year.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Tave You are right about the pollinators. I tend to take them for granted because I have a healthy pollinator population, including bees and wasps. There is a lot of woods all around our property, with various wild plants growing along the borders, and plenty of dead standing wood to provide space for hives. The lawn is full of wildflowers, including alpine strawberries blooming right now, that aren't much affected by mowing. I don't use chemicals anywhere on the property.

    The previous owners also put in a flower bed, and while I have struggled to maintain it, it still creates quite a few flowers each year. (It is in hard clay with a layer of heavy plastic over it to keep the weeds down, which makes it very difficult for me to dig there. And the weeds are taking it over anyway. Even some trees have managed to plant themselves there, and they have to be sawed back every year.)

    Many people do not have a healthy pollinator population, and would benefit from putting in some non-edible flowers that attract good pollinators. Zinnias are beautiful and appeal to both butterflies and hummingbirds!

  • Sharie
    Sharie Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    My yard is a mixture of all kinds of plants. Pretty plants with flowers, maracuja and other vines, purple kale, nasturtiums to keep the butterflies off my other plants, herbs, ginger, aloes, yacon, lettuce, etc. I love the colors of cornflowers and forget me nots and borage so there's lots of that which reseeds. Feverfew is also awesome and pretty with ferns and roses. Sweet potatoes cover the bare and dry areas where not much likes to grow. It's windy and dry season now which means winter for me. I water every few days just enough to keep things alive but right now it's just maintenance time. Planning a whole new set up and enjoyed playing with this garden for a few years. Perennials are definitely where it's at!