What’s Your Gardening Style – A Glimpse Into GKH Gardens

By Nikki Tilley | May 29, 2020
Image by Nikki Tilley
by Nikki Tilley
May 29, 2020

Gardening Know How covers an array of garden topics and styles of gardening. Everyone has their own gardening style – some prefer the aid of chemicals to help find success; some want a crisp, clean garden; and others, like myself, prefer to let nature dictate what happens. Still others grow specialty gardens filled with specific plants or even a particular theme. Regardless, our gardens are often a reflection of who we are and what we like.

So, what do some of us here at GKH like and how do our gardens grow? Just for fun, since we could all use a distraction right about now, me and a few of my coworkers are sharing the different ways we garden.

What’s Your Gardening Style?

Amy described her garden as ‘laid back,’ noting that she, too, is rather laid back. That being said, she views herself as having a fairly Type A personality when it comes to being neat. “Yes, I weed, edge my lawn, prune, and deadhead so things look tidy all the time.”

Her sister, Bonnie, is also extremely orderly in her garden. “I have tight bed edges and very even lawns. Not a weed or leaf out of place. It’s very neurotic and appeals to me. My “dirt farm” is where chaos reigns. It is our “experimental” site where we try odd things and is not at all organized.”

Becca’s garden varies from year to year but has found that as she gets older gardening tasks become more difficult. So, with this in mind, she has moved more into container or raised bed gardening convenient to the house. “These require less physical work.”

Stacey, who is no longer with us (we miss you, by the way), thinks of her garden as a little version of a cottage garden. “I was influenced by lovely European gardens in the pages of Victoria Magazine many years ago. A little greenhouse and garden fence surrounded by a picket fence contains my kitchen garden. Perennials surround my potting shed and garden pond. Loose gardens but not too messy.”

Liz is a utilitarian gardener – “My garden is pretty much all things I can eat. In my house I’m a little more experimental. I love seeing what I can propagate and get to grow. My prized plant is a six-year-old lemon tree I grew from a grocery store lemon. (Still no lemons, but I have hope).”

Heather said she didn’t know if she has an actual style of garden. “I like to grow things and I like the process of cultivating and shaping a bed or a plant into what I see in my head. Sometimes that can look very formal while at other times it can look like a mess until the vision suddenly comes together like it should.” (Gee, are you in my mind right now? That sounds just like me. LOL)

Mary Ellen gardens as naturally as possible, saying “I don’t overly worry about bugs or weeds. A little weeding here and there to keep things tidy, but everything does not have to be perfectly in order.”

And then there’s me – in what I can only aptly describe as “organized chaos.” With this gardening style, I envision something (like Heather) and then plan it out. But once I get to the actual planting and design, I find myself changing things up a bit, letting the specific area guide my choices. And, also like Mary Ellen, I try to keep everything as natural as I can – no chemicals, especially in the backyard wildlife area. I’m no neat freak either. I allow my garden to do as it pleases year round. It’s rather chaotic but in a pleasing way.

This is merely an example of the different ways we garden here at GKH. Remember, there’s never a one size fits all when it comes to gardening. We’re all different and that’s okay. Let your light shine in whatever different garden types you like!

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  • Alice Mellor
    Comment added June 6, 2021Reply

    I am trying to grow a woodland garden. I'm buying all kinds of shade plants and just sticking them in here and there. No real order. I don't mind moving things around from here to there till I get them where I want. I just bought this house so it is an open palette. I have a bed in front of my house that will not be formal. Again, I put in different kinds of plants and stagger them. I will probably have to move things that get too big but that is what I like to do. I don't like to weed so I may put in lots of shade plants in the woodland area so everything overlaps. THEN, I might change my mind and start pulling things out and moving them. BUT, that's what gardening is all about. Just being outside and enjoying my yard. I am trying raised beds for the vegetable garden this year. We'll see how that goes. Happy Gardening to all!!!

  • Derek
    Comment added June 6, 2021Reply

    My garden at home is too small to do anything but let wild weeds do their thing and if they get too troublesome they get chopped! but at the allotment it's sort of different but not fussy. I'm growing the heavyweights, squashes etc vertically (by etc. I mean beans of three types, mongrel tomatoes, cucumbers butternuts, Angel hair and mini spaghetti squash) the weeds there are allowed as long as they don't interfere with my range of salad crops (I've restrained myself to actually grow 10 plants (not root but salad) of each type so my partner doesn't get overwhelmed by mountains of same same coming through the door (we're not vegetarians but do munch on many things including dandelions) and have sown in succession at a small load. my salad crops are protected with individual micro-mesh cloches which fit tight to the ground and stop bugs and slugs and birds from attacking them. Pest control in my allotment is helped by a closely planted flower/herbaceous section, about 200 sq ft, which is lovely to just sit and watch actually. The only weed that I discriminate against is the bindweed, if it shows up it gets pulled as soon as noticed. all annual weed seedlings are allowed to get a few inches tall before getting hoed (when they bore me), which helps with soil condition when they are turned in. I can safely say "it's a jungle out there" but I love it.

  • Kimber
    Comment added June 6, 2020Reply

    I usually have a plan but it's ever changing depending on how well my flowers are doing. It's definitely wild and crazy with lots of different colors but somewhat balanced, as well. Pristine is not a word I would use to describe my garden, but I get tons of compliments from my neighbors and strangers which motivates me to keep going with it. It's quite addicting. I feel close to my mom when I garden as she had a green thumb.

  • Sarah
    Comment added June 4, 2020Reply

    I just stuff plants in, no design or forethought. I’m mainly concerned with filling up the gaps and seeing different flowers/ colours emerge. It’s untidy and actually I hate pristine gardens. I make Beds of bits of wood I find and am very gung ho. A sunflower planted in a hanging basket and a conifer which blocked out the view could have done with a little forethought. Mostly I love my garden surprising me.
    I love growing veggies and would like more beds for edibles.

  • Deb
    Comment added June 3, 2020Reply

    Tell "Liz" there *is* hope for her lemon tree! I, too, planted a store-bought lemon's seed. For the very first time, this tree has blossoms this spring that are developing into lemons. I estimate it has been somewhere between 7 to 9 years since I planted the seed. I'm so excited to see how well the lemons develop. And I was told by a landscape professional 2 years ago that she did not think it would ever develop lemons. The tree has proven that professional wrong! lol.

  • Janet Weiblen
    Comment added June 3, 2020Reply

    It doesn't really say much--just a compilation of "stuff."

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