This Week's Podcast — A Rebroadcast: Happy Medium — Kerry Ann Mendez
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There are many reasons one might have to downsize the garden. But the main reason might be the fact that we are all getting older and caring for a big garden may become a bit too much to handle. Some people move to townhouse communities where maintenance is covered in the fee and rules do not allow residents to even move a pot or trim a blade of grass. That could be a little more than frustrating.
Are there ways to reduce maintenance without giving up the garden (or giving in to weeds)?
My guest, Kerry Ann Mendez, had to shrink her garden after her husband had a serious accident and couldn’t pitch in like he used to. She also found herself with a new fulltime job. Well, if you know Kerry, you know she’d turn that experience into a book, and she has – The Right Size Flower Garden. Kerry tells me about hard pruning and even getting rid of problem plants. “Plants are not pets or children,” she says.
And as for the advice on making the gardening easier by growing “easy” plants, ones that take over, she warns about that. People attempt to give away plants that they usually have too much of. Just politely decline the offer. “I might say, thank you I already have plenty of that plant.”
I point out that there is a big movement to reduce lawn, but Kerry replaces areas of perennial gardens and fills the newly stripped beds with grass. Doesn’t grass turf require maintenance and in many cases water and perhaps fertilizer? Kerry laughed. “Well, my grass lawn isn’t Kentucky Bluegrass.” It is a mix of clover and whatever else grows there.”
The message I took away from our talk is that the right size garden is the one that fits you – the gardener. It’s whatever you are capable of or interested in handling. You don’t have to strip away everything – just find that happy medium.
Join me again next week for another edition of Ken Druse – REAL DIRT, and look for my latest book: The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change.