I’ve always been kind of lax at following gardening rules. I have limited time to get things done, so I do them when I can and just hope for the best. Despite all the classes and workshops, I am just a bit of a rebel when it comes to gardening.
Some of the rules I’ve broken:
Plant spring blooming bulbs early enough in the autumn to establish a root system.
I managed to get the rest of my bulbs in the ground yesterday. I love daffodils so I feel the need to plant a couple of dozen every fall. One year I planted bulbs after we had snow. They still came up.
The pansies finally got in the ground last week. I knew I was planting them too late and was afraid of a snow forecast, so I ended up planting them in the pouring rain. The soil was messy and muddy and even with my foul-weather gear, I was soaked. I snapped a photo of myself while I was still dripping. Until now, I was too cowardly to post it – it’s not flattering – but it is amusing so here it is.
Water in the morning/do not use overhead watering systems.
I water when I can, which is never in the morning and I use an old fashioned sprinkler. It usually means watering after work between 6 and 9pm, though during the really hot weather I will come home at lunch and water then as well. I figure that nature doesn’t wait for the best time to rain, why should I? I find that the overhead sprinkling cools the air in the backyard, which is needed during those 90+ days and it’s fun to watch the birds flit in and out of the water; they need to cool off too. If the plants need water, it doesn’t matter when they get it, just that they do get it. I haven’t seen much in the way of mildew.
The best time to divide and transplant garden plants is either in the spring or late summer/early autumn.
I understand the reasoning behind this rule. You want to divide plants when the weather is cool, so they aren’t stressed by the heat of summer. Still, I’ve successfully divided and transplanted throughout the whole growing season. If you have to transplant during the hot part of the summer, the trick is to be sure that the plant gets plenty of water. I make sure that my garden gets watered once a week. Divided plants get watered every other day or as needed. They are my baby plants, they need to be pampered.
Shade plants are for shade, plants for sun should be planted in a sunny spot.
I have a tiny plot of land in an urban neighborhood surrounded by large old trees. At the moment, the very center of my backyard gets the most sun, about 3-4 hours a day. The edges of the backyard get about 2 hours a day. The front yard is almost completely shaded. Like most gardeners, I love interesting plants and I don’t let my lack of sun keep me from growing the sun-loving plants that I am fond of. Some don’t make it, most do. This is part of the fun of gardening. I have also discovered that some invasive plants can be somewhat controlled if they are planted in the shade instead of the sunny spot they usually prefer.
The lawn takes a lot of care. Seeding, weeding and feeding.
I don’t do any of those. My philosophy is as long as it’s green, it’s good. I have a lot of “bad weeds” growing in the lawn that I will eventually get to; but when I mow it looks fine. I have the added pleasure of enjoying violets, forget-me-nots, crocuses and star of bethlehem blooming in the grass. I just mow around them until they are done blooming.