Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Follow Your Yard’s Evolution


Your yard is not stuck in a time warp; it is constantly evolving. Trees grow and create more shade… and also dry out the soil. The mulch you put in 2 years decomposes slowly and makes the soil richer and looser. The new pool your neighbors put in right next to the fence makes that part of your yard much wetter, etc.

The easiest thing to do is not to try to combat these changes (bringing your neighbors to court for “loss of use” of your property is not a good idea), but to follow them. Move the peony that no longer blooms because it’s now in the shade to a sunnier spot, remove the yarrow that prefers poor, dry soil and now collapses because the soil is richer and replace it with astilbes that wil love the richer, moister conditions, put in plants that like boggy conditions near the now soggy property line, etc. When conditions change, the plants have to change: learn to accept this fact and gardening will be less of a chore.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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