Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Pull Three, Plant Three for Easy Gardening

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Do you want to be a struggling gardener or laidback gardener? Choosing the right plants makes all the difference. All illustrations by Claire Tourigny, from the book Les 1500 trucs du jardinier paresseux.

Why fight with complicated plants? Plants that need pinching, pruning, staking, deadheading, winter protection, insect and pest treatments and all the other treatments gardeners use to keep struggling plants alive or invasive plants under control? Wouldn’t life be simpler if you simply grew plants that did what you want and took care of themselves?

Well, some do. In fact, many do.

Which ones? Well, only you can tell me that, because which plants take care of themselves depends on your local climate and on your specific gardening conditions: sun, shade, good or poor drainage, rich or poor soil, etc.

Dollars to doughnuts, you have easy-peasy plants in your garden right now, ones that practically grow in spite of you, that do everything you want and never go too far … alongside hard-to-grow or excessively weedy ones that take up all your time and probably require massive spending on pesticides to boot.

So … keep the former and yank out the latter.

Three Plants a Year Towards Easy Gardening

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Just pull out the plants that need so much work!

Here’s a way to save a ton of time and effort in your garden.

Every year, think over which three plants give you the most hassle … and get rid of them. Maybe they’re sickly and prone to insects, maybe they’re too vigorous and try to take over. Whatever! Pull them out, cut them down, cover them with black tarp, but get rid of them. They have to go!

And to replace the miscreants, again think over the plants you grow and figure which three plants gave you the best results with least amount of effort on your part … and use them to replace the three you eliminated. Many you can produce on your own by division or taking cuttings. Others you may have to buy. But these are the plants to use as replacements.

So, each year, three bad plants have to go and three good plants move in in their place.

Simple, right?

My Prediction

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How lovely to relax in a garden that takes care of itself!

Within five years, you’ll have the greenest thumb in town! Gardening will be so easy, you simply have to brush a few leaves off your walkways. Set up a hammock: you’ll need somewhere to relax and enjoy the garden that is taking care of itself!

Think about it: each year, three bad plants have to go, three good plants come in, and you reap the rewards! Gardening can besoooo easy!001.K

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.

2 comments on “Pull Three, Plant Three for Easy Gardening

  1. Ann Evans

    This isn’t about plant three…replace three, but rather about replacing one. I have a false cypress ‘fern spray’ that our new rescue male dog lifted his leg on too many times. Will it regrow on the brown areas if I protect it?

    • Maybe, maybe not. But probably not. Most conifers, including false cypress, won’t regrow from old wood. So if the branches are totally dead, they won’t grow back. However, still live branches right nearby might grow and fill in the gaps, but there’s no guarantee. If there are large patches of dead wood, there is really nothing to be done but to replace the plant… and keep the dog away!

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