What To Do When Your Garden Gets Away From You

Ilona Erwin

It happens.

You thought you had the tiger by the tail in June, but what do you do in August? Or when the garden was in its prime it was lovely, but now you and your garden are older and in need of a makeover…or at least some sprucing up. Here are some ideas on how to put it back together again.

Tidy Up

It is surprising how time spent simply tidying the garden, or important parts of the garden, makes it more presentable. Prune or hedge shrubs, trim back overgrown perennials, deadhead old blooms, limb up trees, sweep walkways, edge, put down fresh mulch, repair edgings or retaining walls.

Pick An Important Part

Even small gardens have certain portions that are important to you, perhaps because they are more public, or they contain beloved plants. Maybe it is the place in the garden that you retreat to for rejuvenation of spirit, whatever qualities makes that area most important to you makes it deserving of your attention. Focus your efforts at weeding, grooming, and improvements to a consolidated place so you can feel the satisfaction of a job well done. Work out from that space to regain control of a garden gone wild. (Too wild)

Know When To Give Up

No, that isn’t garden heresy. People give up and start over all the time when the effort is greater than the outcome merits. Is it time for a complete makeover? Except for trees, which take more time and money to grow well to a substantial size, most shrubs and plantings can be moved or replaced completely. It is a bit draconian, but this is decision option you might consider. If you are new to gardening, or clearly undecided, get professional advice. And your fellow gardeners are usually happy to give their opinions, too. Just remember it is your garden and you ought to be happy with it, not drudging along with something that clearly is unsatisfactory.

Maintenance Changes

You may need to make the garden easier to maintain overall, and one of the best ways is by using groundcovers and mulch to keep down weeds. Groundcover is another name for garden thug in some gardeners eyes, but the right plant fitly chosen is a real boon. Generally, it is good to find out your garden conditions if you don’t already know them, and match up a plant partner from a list of ground cover choices. If unsure, put it in a trial area where you can keep an eye on it (and use for future cuttings or divisions) before deciding to give it a permanent place in the garden.

It got away from me!

It got away from me!

Mulches will need to be renewed every year, but they are a good looking way to give order and control to your permanent plantings.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.