Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Marie Kondo-ing the yard and garden

Marie Kondo's bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is hot right now. (I hate to be trendy, so let it be known I was one of the FIRST to check a copy out of the local library.) The primary Kondo rule of tidying up is, If it does not give you joy, say thank you for your service and good-bye. I've applied its techniques inside my home (more or less) and now I am turning my konmarie eye to the yard and garden. That's not quite so easy.

The seed stash is the first area to undergo scrutiny. I have a habit, good or bad (you decide), of using the seeds on hand when starting transplants for the garden, simply because I have those seeds, they are still viable, and I don't want them to go to waste. Now that I have decided the vegetable garden has reached its optimal size, I am giving closer consideration to just what to grow going forward. For example, tomatoes for fresh eating are certainly tasty, but the plants take up a lot of space and produce more fruit than I can eat or share; maybe I would rather get my tomatoes from farmers markets where there is a plethora of heirlooms. Rethinking the vegetable garden will be a pleasant winter pastime as a prelude to ordering seeds in February.

I have a similar problem with perennials - if they already exist in my yard, I feel obligated to make use of them even if they don't fit in and/or I no longer like them. Over the years, I have eliminated a clematis of the wrong color and almost all the iris and Stella d'Oro daylilies. No worries - they went to good homes. That may be the key - if I can find someone to take them, I don't feel so bad about giving them the boot. But sometimes a plant is simply in the wrong place, so I spend a certain amount of time moving things around. Since my general goal is to make my yard look less haphazard, I see a LOT of plant moving in my future, but some are already earmarked for removal.

And then there are the shrubs. I have several Viburnum that, while perfectly healthy, have been a disappointment. The blossoms of one smell like carrion, and, even though they are supposed to, most of the bushes do not produce berries for the birds, which was one of my goals in planting them. Of similar disappointment are two shrubby trees that were girdled by rabbits their first winter (mea culpa) and never really recovered; they bloom and produce fruit, but never grew much. There are also some 'Wichita Blue' junipers that I was very happy with initially but are now looking rather ratty. Apparently, this is a common problem. Sadly, I planted more during that honeymoon phase.

The bigger the change, the more important it is to have a plan. With the vegetable garden, every summer is a new beginning. Perennials are not furniture - you don't see the results right away - but mistakes can usually be easily rectified. Until I have a plan for the shrubs, though, they will stay right where they are.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I think it is best to get rid of the perennials and shrubs that don't feel right to you, but you also want to have a plan. The main limitation is my budget. It's a mistake, in my view, to hold on to a plant because it would be a waste to remove it. Of course, if you can find a new home for your rejects, all the better.