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Green Gardening Tips

Updated on December 3, 2018
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Beth is a long-time gardener and former professional who loves to share her rescues and successes in the plant world.

How I became an Organic Gardener: Part I

The Sprout is Planted

My Parents were Organic Gardeners.

Well... not exactly.

In the home where I grew up, my parents planted quite a few nice trees, spring bulbs and other perennial plants. Looking back on it now, I think my Dad plopped them into the soil, and that was that.

We spent every summer at a lake cottage. We also took several road trips traveling from New York to California or Massachusetts. Each year we left our home within days of the school summer vacation and returned just days before school began again.

Although our lawn was not the worst in the neighborhood, my Dad refused to use pesticides or fertilizer. I never did ask. Maybe he just didn't want the grass to grow even faster.

Or, was he was organic-minded before his time?

He is now.

Me, too.

Lots to explore so do have fun learning how to be a Green Gardener and finding the best plants and tools to help you achieve this worthwhile goal.

Are you a Green Gardener?

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First Step to Green Gardening

The first, and most important, Organic or Green Gardening tip is to work WITH Mother Nature.

Just as an example...

You might want a gorgeous Hydrangea next to your all-day-Sunny front door, but it does much better and will thrive in a sunny morning location with shade the rest of the day. If you try forcing it to your will, it will require more water and still be stunted no matter what you do to revive it.

So... to continue with the same reasoning:

* Plant for appropriate conditions called for by the specific plant to ensure less or no watering. Native plants appropriate for your area are now available at most green houses or big-box home improvement stores.

* Mulch or use perennial ground covers to preserve garden bed soil moisture, and covering will naturally retard weed growth.

What's the difference of these terms? And what do they mean?

* Drought Tolerant

* Drought Resistant

* Water Wise

Difference? As far as I know...

Not a thing.


* Some plants send roots deep to get moisture

* Some plants pull moisture from the air

Stella De Oro Daylily Pretty in Purple

After established, daylilies are surprisingly drought tolerant.
After established, daylilies are surprisingly drought tolerant. | Source

Water Wise Perennial Plants - In addition to the Sedum plants shown, these are some of my low water perennial favorites

Blanket Flowers (Gallardia) ~ Arizona Sun, Fanfare

Daylilly ~ Siloam Little Girl, Red Rum

Dianthus ~ Five Star, Neon Star

Gaura ~ White Fountain, Passionate Blush, Siskiyou Pink

Primose ~ Showy Pink

Sedum ~ Angelina, Autumn Joy, Blue Spruce, Yellow Stonecrop, Variegated.


Like any worthwhile endeavor the correct Tools help with the Task!

See below for my Top Picks:

* An attractive Rain Barrel to purchase

* Or, a link to make a DIY Rain Barrel

* A highly rated and easy to use Composter

Sustainable Garden Watering

Do your part to Conserve Water with a Rain Barrel

Use a rain barrel with a top to keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in standing water. After the initial set-up connecting your rain barrel to your gutter system, just wait for it to rain. Most fill quickly with a moderate shower.

Bonus: No other water is as beneficial as rain for your gardens. You can really see the difference after a natural rain shower versus garden hose watering unless you are fortunate to use a clean water well system.

Next step. Choose to buy or make your Rain Barrel, also know as a Rain Water Collection and Storage System.

Periwinkle Vinca Groundcover

Part Sun & Shade Plants - Bonus: Mature Groundcovers retard weeds and retain soil mositure.

Bleeding Hearts

Hydrangea (Macrophylla)~ Nikko Blue, Variegated

Hydrangea (Ever Blooming, a.k.a. Forever & Ever) ~ Peppermint, Early Sensation

Little Leo Leopard's Bane

Vinca ~ Bowles Periwinkle

Deer resistant Grasses are Welcome in my Garden Design


Deer Resistant Bulbs & Perennial Plants

Important Note: Keep in mind, that plants are not completely resistant if the population and weather conditions are not optimal. In other words, if there is not enough food for the deer population, they will eat even "Deer Resistant " plant materials to survive.

Clematis ~ Dr. Rupple Bi-color, Nelly Mosher*

Foxglove (Digitalis) ~ Dalmation Purple,

Ornamental Grasses ~ Hardy Pampas, Strawberries and Cream Canary*

Liriope ~ Variegated Giant*

Peony ~ White Wings

Shasta Daisy ~ Becky, Snowcap

*Part Sun ~ Morning only

Bonus: The Coneflowers below also attract Butterflies!

Cornflowers are easy to grow, and don't mind dry conditions. They also attract butterfly and bees to pollenate your garden flowers

One of 4 Clematis at my House.   Like the Trellis?    Click the Picture to find out how I made it.
One of 4 Clematis at my House. Like the Trellis? Click the Picture to find out how I made it.

Clematis is Deer Resistant, too.

I love Clematis!

Clematis will bloom all summer if you plant 2 or 3 varieties together that mature at different times.

Like the Trellis? Click the Picture to find out how I made it. Cheap and easy, too. You might even have all the materials already. Gotta love Recycle, Re-purpose, and Reuse.

Pretty good looking if I don't say so myself.

Do you also love Clematis? Click here to see Top 10 of the Best Clematis Flowering Perennial Plants

How I became a Professional Gardener

In 2006 a friend of mine, knowing about my outdoor green thumb, hired me as a plant merchandiser. I was paid to salivate over gorgeous plants of all types, stock plants, and trim and deadhead (remove) faded blooms. I also kept my eye out for tired stock to be discounted, some which ended up on sale racks, and some ended up going home with me. Oh... that is where I obtained the 40 plants mentioned above.

My friend/former boss/mentor hired me to help winterize the gardens of a large corporate park. We had a good time and made some really nice money. The owner of the park wants us back next year, so we are now talking about working together permanently, and sharing several of her well paid residential jobs for her well-off clients. Whoo-hoo! I love it when I get paid for my favorite hobbies.

Hhhmm, what other hobby earns me money?

Oh yeah. It was Squidoo, and now HubPages!

Pink Pincushion Flower
Pink Pincushion Flower

Perennial Plants: Water Wise & Deer Resistant

Just a Sampling...

Coreopsis ~ Dwarf, Rising Sun

Lavender ~ Province Lavandin, French

Pincushion Flower ~ Pink Mist

Thyme ~ English

Coreopsis ~ Sunny little waving heads of yellow flowers are Deer and Drought Resistant

1 of 5 Salvias I have in my yard.  This one is Snowhill Salvia.  Click to see Rose Queen.
1 of 5 Salvias I have in my yard. This one is Snowhill Salvia. Click to see Rose Queen.

Perennial Plants: Water Wise, Deer Resistant & Attracts Butterfiles

Full Sun

Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Coneflowers (Ehinacea) ~ Prairie Splendor, Purple, White Swan

Salvia ~ Blue Hill, East Friesland, May Night, Marcus, Rose Queen and Snow Hill

How I became a Organic Gardener: Part II

The Sprout grew deep roots

Although I didn't grow up in a home with lavish gardens, I learned by trial and error about planting my own extensive gardens effectively for 3 successive homes. My plans usually involve using every inch around my house which includes all 4 sides with at least 1 large peninsula. With my current home I also outlined the outside of the front sidewalk, the entire backyard fence, and devoted a large corner to approximately 40 perennial plants and shrubs, which I then accessorized with a discarded bench, an old milk can, and a old, discarded cast iron chair. I also have planted smaller garden beds at our permanent site at Gravel Ponds where we spend a great deal of the summer. Sound familiar?

So the long and short of it is...

I plop the plants in the ground and basically leave them to their own devices.

Like Father, like Daughter.

Funny how that worked out.


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