What kind of gardener are you?
What is it about being in fresh air that can instantaneously lift our spirits? It might be the Middelburg farm boy in me talking but when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed at work I love taking a break in the JAN garden. Just a few moments in the greenery and sunshine can leave me feeling better, and I’m not the only one. Researchers have proven that as many as two-thirds of people choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed, and it’s no coincidence that when the pandemic first hit there was a huge global surge of interest in creating and keeping green spaces.
That said, gardening doesn’t come without its own challenges, and as with anything there are commitments you have to make to have it be a success. Just like how our preferences and personalities emerge in the kitchen, our unique needs and wants shine through in how we choose to manage our green spaces. So, which type of gardener are you?
You’re passionate about the outdoors and treading lightly when it comes to the environment. You’ve already started recycling at home and you’re the champion of the office carpool system. So where better to show off your green warrior chops than in your own garden? Lucky for you, it’s easy to have a beautiful garden that is still considerate of the earth. Some tips to keep in mind include using native local plants whenever possible, opting for water scarce plants like succulents, wild garlic, Strelitzia and Agapanthus, avoiding harsh chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides, and embracing composting wherever possible. Mother Nature thanks you!
The Old Mcdonald
Aesthetics are great and all, but you’re here for sustenance and satisfaction. Few things are as thrilling as growing your own ripe and juicy produce, and vegetable gardens can actually be surprisingly low maintenance to manage depending on what you choose to grow. You can’t go wrong with old favourites like lettuce, which grows quickly and doesn’t take up a lot of space, tomatoes, which can even grow in containers, cucumbers, carrots, which need deep soil, and green beans, which are a ton of fun to harvest. If you’re new to the growing home veggies game it’s important to remember that soil is EVERYTHING so look into composting as a way to boost your garden’s fertility levels. Second, sunlight will play a huge part in successful veggie growing, so plant seeds in spaces that can get around eight hours of sun per day to ensure success,
The Disney Prince or Princess
Similar to how Disney characters often have packs of woodland critter friends, you love animals and local wildlife and want to ensure that reflects in your green space. Sadly, the environmental fall out from the climate crisis is affecting species that are vital to our ecosystem, including criminally underappreciated pollinators, but there are small ways to show your love for these critters in your own garden. A seed feeder is a quick and simple way to make your garden more attractive to birds, planting a variety of colourful flowers will make your garden a haven for bees and butterflies, having a small water feature or two will inevitably invite some wildlife friends over, and using home-made compost will encourage worms, which in turn improves soil drainage and nutrients and provides a tasty snack for birds.
The reluctant green thumb
You didn’t choose the gardening life, the gardening life chose you. Whether it’s because you were the last to yell “not it” or because you can’t in good faith let the green space on your property fall into despair, you’re in charge of a garden you don’t really want, but you’re also not the type of person to run from a challenge
Fortunately for you, there are plenty of plants you can choose for your garden that don’t need much care. Try shrubs like heather, lavender or azalea along with climbing plants like ivy which don’t need much help to grow. Hosta Lilies, Verbena, Common Lilac, Hydrangea, and Geraniums are all great choices that don’t require a lot of maintenance, and perennial plants like Heuchera come back year after year, saving gardeners money and time. Lastly, try installing an automated water irrigation system which will prevent you from having to do it yourself, and is proven to in fact use less water. Win win! gardening