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The Simplicity Garden

Updated on April 13, 2011

simplicty garden

Simplify, this may be the best single word advice I ever received. I first encounter what was to become a movement about 20 years ago. I was looking for ways to reduce my expenses and lighten the amount of stuff that had been cluttering my life, I came across a book, Voluntary Simplicity, by Duane Elgin; a book that truly made a difference in how I lived.

All these years later I have begun to feel that I have too much stuff, possibly because we have moved three times in as many years and packing is a pain, so to reduce that pain we are re-examining what we have and what we truly need.

A garden is a need, no matter what size I need to grow something and food, herbs at they very least must be part of that garden.

The moving has encouraged me to design a garden that can fit into a small size or a few containers; if a larger growing space is available the basic garden can be expanded as time allows.

When creating this simplicity garden, I needed to answer this question what plants must I absolutely have. This is the rock bottom, so what are the essentials.

Let me say this, the garden would be organic and thus build soil as it grows.

Tomatoes, cherry or beefsteak or anywhere in between depending upon space, at least three tomato plants are needed. Next is basil because you just cannot have tomatoes without basil.

This would be the bare essentials if all I had was one pot then a tomato plant and two basil plants would be the garden.

Fortunately, I have more space and can add other plants, such as asters and daisies which are powerful bee and butterfly attractors, and make a decent cut flower.

Now, to move back to vegetables, cucumbers, which can be grown vertically, and used to make pickles as well as eaten fresh, are on the list.

Other herbs, dill, which is good for pickling and attracting friendly insects is important as is thyme and chamomile.

These are the essentials, tomatoes, basil, dill, chamomile, thyme, asters, daisies, cucumbers; together they make my simplicity garden as they provide food for the body and the creative spirit.

Naturally, there are many, many other plants the garden would have, if space and time would permit, but these few are what form a garden that takes little space and little time to maintain and so, for me, are the ideal simplicity garden.


Bob Ewing photo
Bob Ewing photo


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks and thanks for dropping by.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    It is always nice reading your garden Hubs.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    I have not yet written a gardening book, but am working on one, thanks for asking; time is a key factor in garden design, one too many ignore to their later regret; thanks ZBee. Thank you both for dropping by.

  • Ben Zoltak profile image

    Ben Zoltak 8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

    I especially like your strategy of planting asters to attract bees because you Bob, realize the benefit of these great creatures on the wholeness and productivity of your garden. Native Americans were known for planting a variety of plants instead of monoculture because they knew of the benefits, you probably already knew that Bob, just sayin'. I hope I get a little more money in the future I plan on buying one of your gardening books. You must have written one right?


  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    I was facing the same dilemma a few years back when I just couldn't keep up with the flower and veggie garden and the many hours spent at my tailor-shop...I kept insisting on putting in the garden then usually a big order came in and the garden upkeep would get away from me. Eventually I narrowed the garden "inhabitants" down to a similar list as yours I missed all the other stuff but it worked for a couple of years.

    Now that I don't have the sewing shop anymore and a few acres to play with I seem to be adding and adding more every year again.

    Once again a great hub Bob...

    kindest regards Zsuzsy

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Buying seeds can be habit forming I know, thanks you both for dropping by.

  • macsmith85 profile image

    macsmith85 8 years ago

    Great to see your hub!!!! Keep writing!!!!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for good advice. I always get carried away and buy far too many seedpakets which could cover a field.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    jayjay, there are so many plants I enjot that narrowing down was difficult, Cate, beautiful, useful or sentimental, I like the criteria, thank you both for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Cate Ferguson 8 years ago

    Bob you are so right about clutter and not being able to tomatoes without basil! :-) Just yesterday I had a decluttering conversation with my sister and shared with her my system. If it's not beautiful, useful or sentimental... it's gone! I got that bit of wisdom from a book many years ago and it has served me well. Simplicity Gardening makes so much sense of what is often chaos. Thanks for sharing.

  • jayjay40 profile image

    jayjay40 8 years ago from Bristol England

    I've been sat here thinking for ages and keep changing my mind. However I know I couldn't be without Lavender and Rosemary, my tulips are a must and my runner beans. I love my Buddlia, and the mock orange, and the mint. The borrage and fennel are brilliant for insects-Gosh I can't stop. anyway brilliant hub, thanks