Garden Sickness: The Last Installment – New Gardens
Welcome back to this three part miniseries. We’ve introduced the concept of “garden sickness” and I’ve given you some ways to keep your well-established gardens happy while you’re away.
Now, I’m going to help you plan your new gardens with your future travelling plans in mind.
The new garden is a fresh canvas and, really, you can create almost anything you want. If you’re a frequent summer traveller, though, you will want to be mindful of the following.
- The Sun
Before you start on a plant-buying binge, use your drawing to mark the sun’s path across the sky. This will help you understand what locations around your house will receive what kind of sun. Morning sun is soft; afternoon sun is strong. Afternoon sun will require the use of drought-tolerant plants and ones that can handle 6+ hours of sun a day. For gardens that get morning sun only, the level of drought tolerance is not as critical.
- Your Soil
The soil in which your plants will grow can be extremely helpful where water conservation is concerned.
- Sandy soils have a hard time holding onto water. The particles are large and don’t fit together well resulting in large spaces (relatively speaking) between each particle. Water easily flows from the surface downwards and away from plant roots.
- Clay soils are both rich in nutrients and moisture. They can, however, become compacted and difficult to penetrate if they are allowed to dry out for an extensive period of time.
- Loam soils are a mixture of sand, clay, and silt (the smallest of the particle sizes we typically talk about in the gardening world). A sandy loam will have a slightly higher percentage of sand whereas a clay loam will have a slightly higher percentage of clay. Loam soils hold water well, are easy for navigate through (if you’re a root), and are easy to work with (if you’re a gardener).
- Plant Choices
When making plant choices, you always want to consider the first two items mentioned above: soil and sun. You can’t change these factors easily so it’s best to just work with them.
When making plant choices for a garden that can be left alone for weeks at a time, you want to look for words such as drought-tolerant or drought-resistant. You may also see plant tags with pictogram-style watering information: one, two, or three water droplets. Go for the ones and twos.
Next week I’ll get into specific plants that are good for your holiday garden to help you make some decisions come shopping time.