From Troy-Bilt Newsletter: The Lazy Gardener

From the Troy-Bilt Newsletter, The Dirt…

Agapanthus bloomTHE LAZY GARDENER

by Douglas E. Welch

I have a confession to make.  I am a lazy gardener.  I am far more interested in enjoying my garden than working in it.  Sure, I putter about neatening things up, pruning, weeding, etc., but I would much rather be sitting in my comfy chair, looking through the trees at the feeding birds and sipping a cool beverage than double-digging the flower beds.

Each year, I see the real gardeners preparing their soil, making many trips to the garden center for annual plants in full bloom and then planting it all in neat little arrangements.  This can be the straight rows of a vegetable garden or geometric plantings of pansies and petunias.  Instead, though, I rely on the stalwart guardians of my garden – the perennials.

When I started gardening again 15 years ago, I quickly remembered how much I disliked planting annuals.  Thankfully, the previous owners of our home had a love for perennials as deep as my own.  There were mature, or soon to be mature, trees, roses, pittosporum, huge beds of azaleas and vines galore.  With just a little care these plants would provide me with gardening pleasure with nothing more than a little watering and a little pruning.

This doesn’t leave my garden work-free by any measure, though.  With so many trees, keeping up with the leaves alone is a weekly job year-round.  Here in our Southern California climate, plants can quickly grow out of control.  I have a volunteer fig tree that is currently threatening to take over one corner of the garden as I type.  Irrigation must be maintained.  Pruning crews must be hired and organized for the larger trees on the property.  There are a hundred little jobs, as with any garden.

Still, when I look at this work, it makes me feel more accomplished than planting flowers only to have them die at the end of the season.  Heck, here in our climate, the season is so out of whack with typical gardening schedules I am not sure what I would plant or where I would plant it.  Annuals also require a lot of sun, which is something that is in short supply here.  It is situations like this that have me loving my perennials more each year.

I am reminded of this every year when the bulbs begin their progression as soon as the first rains arrive – usually in January.  Within a day or two of our first significant moisture, the foliage pushes through the leaf litter.  First the paperwhites, then the snowbells and then, finally – and most dramatically – the daffodils.  I plant a few more bulbs each year and the previous bulbs are slowly naturalizing around the garden.  Each year the show gets better and better without requiring lots of digging, raking and weeding.

I admire the annual plantings in other yards and gardens, even if I wouldn’t do it myself.  I do this much in the same way I enjoy our friends’ dogs without ever really needing to have my own.  Nice to visit.  Nice to look at, but a bit too much trouble to have yourself.

Yes, I am probably the epitome of the lazy gardener, but I must place some of the blame on my perennials.  They are my enablers.  They make it easy to do a little bit of this, a little bit of that and then sit back and enjoy the show.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.


Photos: Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society 11th Annual Exhibit and Plant Sale

We were up and out of the house early to head over to the Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society 11th Annual Exhibit and Plant Sale which was held just a couple of miles away at the Sepulveda Garden Center. The show continue on Sunday, June 12, 2011, so check it out if you can.

It was our first time and we were very pleased with the selection of plants for sale and the various displays. It is sometimes amazing what small groups and societies around Los Angeles can do. We have friends who are members of the Del Aire Rockhounds and their gem shows are quite amazing, too.

Rosanne and Joe had a prickly time on this cactus bench…

A prickly seat for Rosanne and Joe...

We picked up a few small succulents to refill a planter we purchased a Joe’s school a few years ago. A few of the cacti had died, but one remained. Our purchases will help to fill out that container again. It was also good to get some advice on caring for succulents as it is one area where I am severely lacking my gardening knowledge.

Here is a slide show of some photos I took of our visit. Click the link below if you don’t see the slideshow in your RSS reader or email program.

View the Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society Slideshow

I Like This – June 10, 2011

    A collection of gardening items I found interesting this week.

  • Growing carrot patterns with DIY seed planting sheets – June 4, 2011 – Great idea. Can’t imagine why I hadn’t seen someone do this before as it is so obvious — once you have seen it done (SMILE). Definitely something to try with the kids.
  • Pretty Perennial Leaves for the Shade – June 4, 2011 – Great collection of shade plant ideas. I am really involved in expanding the garden this year, so ideas like this are much appreciated.

Elsewhere Online: Pretty Perennial Leaves for the Shade from Northern Shade Gardening

Great collection of shade plant ideas. I am really involved in expanding the garden this year, so ideas like this are much appreciated. – Douglas

Here are some foliage plants for the shade garden with pretty leaves. These perennials add beautiful texture, colour and shine to shady areas, even when not in bloom.
On the upper left is a combination of Asarum europaeum (European ginger) in front and Athyrium ‘Lady in Red’ (lady in red fern) behind. I especially like the pairing of shiny, rounded heart shaped leaves of the ginger with the feathery fern fronds. ‘Lady in Red’ has a fresh, light green colour, but the centre of each frond is red when they first emerge. The foliage pairing is appealing all season long, and both do well with very little light.
Read the entire article on the Northern Shade Gardening blog


Wordless Wednesday: Red Rose

Red rose 20110608

A Bandit in the Garden

We had a little bandit in the garden tonight. You can click to zoom in and get a slightly better view.


Free iPhone Garden App – Garden Pro – Today only! (6/7/2011)

Garden pro app

My friend, Mitch, over at Krayton Seminars just sent me a link to this iPhone gardening app which is free for today only. Grab it while you can!

Garden Pro (via iTunes)


App Info:

FREE for today only!

Do you love flowers and plants? Do you work with flowers and plants? Garden Pro lets you take all the necessary information of your flowers and plants, in your hand, wherever you go. The most complete Garden reference with over 1200 beautiful species with lots of info, including… common and botanical names, descriptions, light, water, soil and climate requirements, planting and bloom times, most important care to do and more about flowers and plants you enjoy.


Cleaning up rose bed number 2

After a busy weekend that didn’t allow for any time in the garden, I spent an hour or so in the back garden today after a morning in my office paying bills and processing deposits. This office time is the traditional Monday morning task to insure that all the bills for the week get into the mail.

I have a page long list of things that need to be accomplished in the garden before our big summer party later this month. This will also be a party to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, so I want to have the garden looking as nice as I can — both for myself and my wife.

Today’s task was the Spring/Summer cleanup of rose bed #2 in the back garden, much like I did with the larger bed a few weeks ago. There are 2 large pine trees overarching this bed, so there was a thick mat of needles over the bed. In some ways, this made the cleanup easier, as they matted together and came up almost as one unit. All this went into the leaf pile for a future trip through the chipper shredder and then into the compost bins.

Rose bed #2 Before

Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch (douglaswelch) on
Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch

Rose bed #2 After

Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch (douglaswelch) on
Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch

Just as with Rose bed #1, my wife will re-edge this bed in some fashion. I am thinking of trying a wine bottle edging here, as it is the smaller bed, but we haven’t yet collected enough bottles to complete the circle. Maybe after the party?! (LAUGH)

Hope your garden is doing well! Add a comment and let us know what is happening. You can also Tweet us at @gardenersnotebk on Twitter or drop us a line on the AGN Facebook page.

Event: Encino Cactus Festival To Highlight Fire Safe Vegetation

Encino Cactus Festival To Highlight Fire Safe Vegetation

Image Courtesy LACSS

With the dry heat of Summer soon upon us, many Los Angeles residents are turning to nature for ways to stay cool, limit water use, prevent fire danger and add beauty to their lives.

It will not surprise you then, that Los Angeles Firefighters are among speakers at a special event addressing these issues and more. We hope you’ll join usSaturday and Sunday, June 11-12, 2011for the:

Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society
11th Annual Drought Tolerant Plant Festival
City of Los Angeles – Sepulveda Garden Center
16633 Magnolia Boulevard
Encino, CA 91406

The show runsSaturdayfrom9:00AM – 5:00PM, with presentations starting at 10:00AM; and continuesSundayfrom9:00AM – 4:00PM, with kids events starting at 10:30AM.

On Saturday at 1:00PM, LAFD Assistant Chief Mark Stormes will engage attendees with an informative discussion of“Vegetation Management in the Los Angeles City Brush Zone”.

For additional information about this event, please visit:

Submitted byBrian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Follow@LAFDand@LAFDtalkon Twitter and find us onFacebook

Photo: Go, Potatoes, Grow

Potatoes in children's garden on Twitpic

Wow! I saw this picture come through Twitter today from @deltagardener. That is one fine looking potato patch. They replied to my Twitter post with:

deltagardener @gardenersnotebk we harvest on June 14, cook them and serve them for picnic lunch for kids

Wish I could have a potato patch like this. Need much more sun (and motivation (LAUGH)) for that, though.