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GARDENING & NON-GARDENING

The zen of gardening. Letting nature have her way. Does this sound alluring to you? Or maybe you just don't have time to garden, don't know how, and are plain lazy - so what!

Sand and Rock Gardens

Japanese monks have gardens of sand with a large rock or two in the middle. Of course this type of garden is actually a lot a work. The sand is carefully raked into intricate patterns each day. Your neighborhood cats might also enjoy this type of a garden!

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Rock gardens also have been praised as easy care. This is true for certain, established rock gardens. Gardening books and magazine articles often have elaborate and expensive plans to build a rock garden. The next page, "How to Non-Garden (tips)" will explain an easy method to set up and maintain a rock garden.



"No Work" Front Lawns

A recent gardening fad in my area is to eliminate your front lawn. It was touted as being low-maintenance, easy care, because the grass would be gone, and only selected plants and flowers remaining. This sounded really good to me, until I attended a seminar about it given by a talented woman I know, a master gardener. As the instructor related how to "take out" all the grass (read, dig up, laboriously), replace it with (expensive) nursery plants, and then to keep the weeds (grass, trying to come back) out of the area - it sounded like a nightmare, a lot of work. It did not sound low maintenance to me! I was already turned off from the whole idea when the instructor passed around a photobook of her garden, and put some slides up on the wall. Clumps of plants were surrounded by barron dirt areas. In fact, it looked rather familiar (please read article below.) Guess everyone is different when it comes to style, even in gardens. I bet it's fun in the dirt areas when it rains. The front yard was unique and creative, but I could not believe someone would deliberately do that to their lawn, just to be different. THAT was what all the work was for? Give me my natural, attractive little non-garden lawn any day!

So, What's a Non-Garden?

My lawn and yard started out like the "low maintenance" lawn. I didn't realize how my lawn was fashionable and ahead-of-time! There were patches of vegetation here and there, surrounded by dirt and clay. It was ugly, and I privately named our house the Moss House, because moss and the straggles of swamp grass were nearly the only landscaping. If this is how your yard looks now, and you like that look, you might as well leave it alone. You can tell your friends and neighbors that you are just keeping up with the latest fad in gardening. That would be the ultimate in easy-care lawn and garden maintenance!

I didn't like the barron spaces look back then either, and yet didn't have a lot of time, energy or money to overhaul my yard. The change process occurred in stages. Stopping our horrible neighbors from parking their leaky pickup truck in the middle of our yard helped a lot. So did having dogs tethered out in the yard. With the gasoline and oil leakage stopped, and dog fertilizer added, by the second year, we actually had some regular grass in the yard, and even some wild flowers coming up. I was proud.

Now we have herbs, an apple and a cherry tree, flowers, lilacs, and easy-care, nice to have stuff.

The next page, "How to Non-Garden (tips)" will outline easy plans to have a low-maintenance yard and garden.