Get grow­ing with these gar­den tips

What do you do if you want a lush gar­den but don’t have the knack? Erin Reilly plants some ideas to get you grow­ing.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

My nana is an in­cred­i­ble gar­dener. Her vege gar­den is an end­less cy­cle of lus­cious leaves, trees, roots and fruits, con­stantly chang­ing depend­ing on the sea­sons.

For ev­ery din­ner she cooks, there’s some­thing in it that she picked fresh from the gar­den an hour ago. Don’t even get me started on her flower gar­den or the cute lit­tle rock­ery that sur­rounds the fish pond down at the bot­tom of her sec­tion.

My­mu­min­her­ited nana’s green fin­gers. I, on the other hand, did not. I dream of a boun­ti­ful vege gar­den just like my nana’s, but re­al­ity re­minds me that my at­ten­tion span isn’t that great. Gardening takes a lot more ef­fort than I can muster, and be­sides, noth­ing’s go­ing to get me out there with a wa­ter­ing can and a trowel when Game of Thrones is on. Still, there’s a big part of me that wishes I had the stamina for gardening.

I dream of the clas­sic quar­ter­acre block with a big house and an even big­ger gar­den filled to over­flow­ing with enough fresh pro­duce for my fam­ily and my neigh­bours. Not killing ev­ery­thing I touch would be good too.

For­tu­nately there are op­tions when it comes to gardening for peo­ple like me who don’t have green fin­gers. Cacti and suc­cu­lents are easy. They thrive even when you for­get to wa­ter them. Some, like aloe vera plants, can be used for medic­i­nal pur­poses. Oth­ers, like venus fly traps, can be used to help spi­ders keep your house clear of nas­ties (not to men­tion en­ter­tain­ing/ scar­ing your kids).

Pot plants are rel­a­tively easy to keep alive too. Of course they need a bit more TLC than the hardy cac­tus, but gen­er­ally speak­ing a pot plant can look af­ter it­self if they’re po­si­tioned in such a way that the rain can wa­ter them and the day­light can hit them.

Herb gar­dens are de­li­ciously aro­matic and pretty easy for gardening be­gin­ners to ex­per­i­ment with. It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter which herbs you go for, they all look lovely pot­ted to­gether in bulk on a bal­cony or placed in in­di­vid­ual pots along your kitchen win­dow sill. The up­side of the lat­ter is that you’re more likely to re­mem­ber to wa­ter them if they’re within reach of the kitchen sink.

And while ‘gar­den’ im­plies some sort of fo­liage, con­tem­po­rary back­yards of­ten buck the trend. Trans­form your gar­den into a stylish en­ter­tain­ment area with big paving stones, river stones, fancy light­ing and a fire pit, and you’ll never have to worry about killing an­other plant again. If you just have to have some green­ery in there, keep a few strips of lush lawn. Add a sim­ple wa­ter fea­ture and you’ve got your­self a gar­den that’s low in main­te­nance and ooz­ing in sub­ur­ban style.

Cacti and suc­cu­lents are easy to look af­ter - they thrive even when you for­get to wa­ter them.

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