In my younger days, I used to spend hours gardening. Every blossom, every vegetable, every fruit was lovingly tended, nourished with liquid fertilizer on schedule, and watered. My reward was a yard that was alive with color, with butterflies and honeybees flitting in the air and birds chirping happily.
Of course that was long before I had a to-do list long enough to choke a horse. The reality is I now have little time to get everything done, and gardening is no longer a priority. And yet, I still love to garden and I still want flowers. The solution? Bodacious gardening.
What’s the secret of bodacious gardening? It’s all about getting the “bling” of prolific blossoms and foliage without the frustration and extra work. Start by simplifying the rest of the yard with easy maintenance plantings. Use naturalizing plants, such as day lilies, iris, and hostas. Weed once, use weed preventer, and mulch those garden beds. You can just let them be for the summer.
Concentrate your spectacular garden in one location that works for you. Think bodaciously. What’s the point of having a garden no one ever gets to see? Put it by the most-often used entry of your home. If you want to knock everyone’s socks off, you have to take the garden to the people. Ask yourself: Where is your main source of water? Unless you want to lug the pain-in-the-neck (or back) garden hose or run back and forth to refill your watering can, keep your garden as close to the outside faucet as possible.
Consider a theme for your garden and work it like a stage set. Got a favorite pair of colorful Adirondack chairs? Let the garden be a backdrop for your favorite seating area. Think like an artist and arrange a tableau of colorful items. Ask yourself: What do you want to get out of your garden? It’s more than just a few flowers. Why not create a sanctuary? Add a bird feeder, nectar feeder, butterfly house, or even a bird bath. Add whimsical sculptures or solar lights. It becomes an outdoor oasis for relaxation.
Consider how much time you really have to put into your bodacious garden. If you want to conserve energy and effort for activities other than weeding and feeding, go for low-maintenance prolific bloomers that don’t need dead-heading or fussing. Dazzle the eye with big color. “Knock Out” roses blossom profusely throughout the summer months, with little fussing.
Daylilies are almost fool-proof and most continue to flower throughout the season. Impatiens will flourish in almost every condition and don’t need dead-heading. The Wave petunia is a rabbit-friendly plant that will kick out runners even when Bugs Bunny and Peter Rabbit stop by for a nosh. Ask yourself: What kinds of insects and critters do you have in your area? If you have deer, rabbits, slugs, and other pests, plant resistant varieties of flowers or plants
that don’t appeal.
For bodaciously busy baby boomers, container gardening can sometimes be the best choice of all, especially if you use a big enough planter and the right soil and drainage. If you’ve got pests or you just can’t kneel the way you used to, an attractive planter that is tall enough could just save your sanity. Not only can you plant a variety of flowers and foliage in a very small space, the container becomes the focal point, drawing the eye to where it stands. Don’t be shy with color. Whether it’s a cobalt blue ceramic planter you find at a garden store or an old crib you spot at a flea market and turn into a “garden bed”, don’t feel you’re chintzy by limiting your planting. Make a spectacle of it. Why not put it right by the door, so you can easily water it, and add a couple of solar spotlights for dramatic effect?
If you’re a fan of vegetables, but you no longer have the stamina of Old MacDonald, consider taking a lesson in sensibility from the English. Tuck in a few vegetable and fruit plants in with the flowers. The “patio” varieties of cherry and grape tomatoes are cheerful and compact. Pickling cucumbers will grow up a trellis. If you’re a cook, add some herbs. Is there anything easier to grow than lavender? Brush up against it and your senses come alive
with the fragrance. Oregano will return next year and the tiny leaves are so pretty. Just be careful with insecticides and pesticides on the edibles.
Just remember one thing about your bodacious garden. It should be reflective of your true personality and your needs. Don’t hold back. Don’t be timid. Make a statement about who you are and what you are. You’re bodacious, baby!