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Thursday, January 20, 2022


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This is such great information to be thinking about. Our gardens are completely different, but you are always an inspiration to me. When I was looking at catalogs to place my annual and veggie seed orders this month, I put a few perennials on my list because I like them but, by the time I checked out, they were removed, because I am trying to be more thoughtful about my garden, as I see you being. I am very grateful for your detailed research that you generously share with us.


I appreciate this post! Am in my early 60's and have already begun to think about changes I should be making to stay long term in my house and still be able to keep my 1/3 acre yard under control with minimal help from others.

Linda Brazill

MONICA — My garden is what keeps me going. So it is important to try to figure out how to keep it going; especially as my husband is less interested in grunt work these days. And finding good help is difficult, assuming it is even affordable. ​I still feel like I've only scratched the surface.

Linda Brazill

KRISTIN — I am trying to be thoughtful in what I am ordering. Looking for things I am less likely to find locally. Lots of ferns, bushier perennials and some shrubs. I am also trying to figure out before I place an order, where everything can go. Staying away from any more boxwoods and hemlocks in case we get the diseases affecting those plants.

Kris P

I think you and Mark have made a lot of smart decisions when it comes to reducing the physical demands of maintaining your garden. While I was sorry to see your pond go, I think your solution there was both brilliant and stylish. In my own garden, introducing more succulents has made the biggest difference. Tree-trimming and and hedge trimming have been outsourced, which works for us. However, I expect I'll be fiddling with plants until I can no longer bend to meet their needs.

Barbara H.

Ha ha, good luck with this journey. Like you I am in my 70s and realizing there is a limit to what I can and want to do. I'm definite moving to more shrubs with evergreen ones starting to shout out their value to me. Good luck to both of us!

Linda Brazill

KRIS P. — I think we will all be fiddling with plants as long as we can. I have looked at some retirement places and want one that has personal garden plots or some kind of garden I can help with. I love all your succulents and the way you can mass such interesting ones as shown in your recent post. We've found a great local company for tree work. The woman who had helped me for a couple of years is now manager of a nursery. I miss the help of a knowledgeable gardener who could do everything from weed to prune.

Linda Brazill

BARBARA — I think luck plays a bigger part in these things than I would prefer!


What is the lime green weeping tree in the left-hand side of forth photo?

Linda Brazill

TRACY - It’s a weeping Beech with yellow foliage.


A lot of food for thought and good ideas in this post. Helpful.

I'm sort of taking a backwards approach, focusing on reducing green waste to a minimum. Less green waste when there's less maintenance work.

The lawn has been gone for a long time. Moving to solitary Aloes--essentially no green waste at all. Slow growing native shrubs are another addition. Slow growth = little pruning = little waste.

Plants with foliage that is easily composted. I do compost but because of our dry climate composting is slow and woody branches can take literally years to decompose.

danger garden

Of course my path to a lower maintenance garden is obvious. Reduce the number of containers that need to be moved about with the seasons. Someday I am going to have to face that.

Linda Brazill

DANGER — That is why my containers are big decorative empty pots or filled with plants that can go in the ground to overwinter. I love container plantings but now I know it's too late to go there!​


I am going with containers that can be out over the winter...If I can find them!

Linda Brazill

PAMILYN— That's always the issue: Finding what works for you!

Emily VanLaeys

We moved to Wisconsin from rural NY two years ago. In our upper 60s, so I said, "no gardening in our new home." Well, the new home had boring weedy lawns with barely a flower in it. "I'll just plant a few," I decided. Then I learned about the native plant movement and decided to join it. After all, now that I'm retired I need a new purpose in life (besides the grandkids we moved here for). So I've been adding more and more plants and shrubs for pollinators. Last spring I injured my hip because I was squatting on the ground so much. Your article reminds me that I was supposed to be doing less, not more. Reducing the lawn does not seem to decrease the work load. The lawn just needs to be mowed whereas the plants need a lot of care. Supposedly native plants are less trouble, but that remains to be seen! I enjoy your posts on Facebook. Thank you for all of your insights!

Linda Brazill

EMILY — Lower maintenance is still a confusing issue to me. Luckily I can still do most things, just much more slowly.

I grew up in South Buffalo with a few years in Orchard Park and Rochester before moving to Wisconsin in the 1970s. I didn't garden in those days so I never got to take advantage of the warmer temps.

Ken Nordlund

I'm smiling to learn that some of your first garden book purchases were by Ann Lovejoy. Mine, too. I just checked and find three on the shelf.

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