Mother Earth Living

Tips from an Easy-Does-It Gardener

By Pat Crocker
February/March 2009
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Jan Hall


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Jan Hall’s Hall of Fame

Many of Jan’s favorite plants are low-maintenance herbs that “volunteer” throughout her garden, as well as scented plants, and those with interesting shapes:

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) blooms early in the spring and well into the fall; very fragrant and good for cutting
Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) pretty, delicate and easy to pull out where it is not wanted (it’s deemed a noxiousweed in several areas)
Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) sweet, tall and fragrant, but beware of its long tap root
Leopard’s bane (Doronicum orientale) “Mine is slightly different from the usual variety. It meanders nicely through the garden and is easy to pull up.”
Bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare purpureum) “I like the color, texture and height—but its long tap root can be hard to pull up once established.”
Lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) Velvety, silver-gray leaves and pretty pink blooms; be sure to cut it back before it goes to seed
Scented geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) “I like the colors, leaf patterns and fragrance. They’re fun to use for decorating cakes.”
Hostas (Hosta spp.) wide range of leaf patterns and sizes; different bloom times
Sages, especially fruit-scented (Salvia dorisiana) “My most fragrant plant; not hardy but easy to dig up and move inside for the winter.”
Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) tall, spiky plants provide late summer color and fragrance; thrives in shade
Lavender (Lavandula spp.) sentimental favorite provides lovely color and structure
Boxwood (Buxus spp.) year-round appeal; sets off gardens and plants nicely


The Practical Allure of Stone

For Jan and Toby Hall, the benefits of the native stone on their property have far outweighed the challenges. In their first year, they used many of the rocks to build a substantial wall behind the vegetable garden to separate it from the remaining blackberries. They’ve also used stone to define garden beds, line pathways, build up low-lying areas and create interesting accents, such as the granite trough at the center of one of the herb gardens. Stone offers the added advantage of retaining warmth, a big plus in their Zone 6 garden.

Click here for the original article, Confessions of an Easy-Does-It Gardener.







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