When it comes to my garden evolution, I’ve learned that it’s good to be unapologetically imperfect.
Best Practices Learned
Here are a few important lessons that I’ve learned over the years.
Maybe it’s controversial, but it really isn’t necessary to spray dandelions. By giving up the war on dandelions, we’re preventing toxic chemicals from poisoning the soil and water. Pesticides are also linked to cancer, and are also neurotoxins. Not only that, but dandelions are pretty, and bees like them.
I don’t have to keep the deer out of my yard if I don’t want to, and I don’t have to invest in a tall, expensive fence to do so. I would rather enjoy the 20 or so deer that visit my yard regularly. Sure, I’m more limited on what I can plant, but I’m gradually adding more native plants that deer tend to ignore. I may add a small, fenced rose garden at some point.
I don’t need to feel guilty for not growing vegetables. I don’t enjoy growing vegetables, except for tomatoes in containers, so I don’t, and that’s that. (See above comment about deer).
A perfectly manicured lawn isn’t something I care about these days. In fact, we’ve removed much of our lawn and replaced it with prairie grass, must like the native grasses that grow here on the Columbia River Plateau. It requires almost no water once established, and we generally mow it once every year, in early fall.
It’s okay not to have perfect edges. I’ve retired my edger, and I don’t miss it.
I don’t have to pull every single weed. I try to get most of the pesky things because otherwise, they drop seeds and come back with a vengeance, but there’s no way I’ll ever win this battle in this high-desert yard surrounded by wheat and alfalfa fields.
I’ve also learned that growing plants by seed indoors is fun and really rewarding. I plant mostly annuals that I move to containers on my deck in June. This is the only area that deer are unwelcome, and I discourage them with a motion-activated sprinkler. Currently, I have geraniums, calibrachoa, wave petunias, lobelia, and zinnias, all coming along nicely.