Is Your Garden Nagging You?

Are there times when your garden seems to be nagging you?

When you step outside, do you feel like every planting bed and every plant cries out for attention.

Weed me! Water me! Fertilize me!

Mow me, trim me, mulch me!

Dig here, hoe there, rake everywhere! Prune that, deadhead this, lop off that. Move a plant over there, plant two plants over here, and dig and divide those three plants over there!

When we get really busy and just don’t have enough time for gardening, the nagging seems to get louder and louder. It gets to the point where you feel like every sunny hour you should be out in the garden, quieting things down a bit, tending to all those plants crying for attention. You almost wish for a rainy day, so you can just ignore the nagging for awhile without feeling guilty or worrying that someone will come by and hear the nagging, too, and wonder why you don’t do something about it.

Fortunately there are some ways to keep a garden from nagging you. Here are five of them.

Mulch to control weeds and conserve water. Mulching is one of those gardening activities that takes some time initially, but once done, it really does help control weeds and conserve moisture so you don’t have to weed and water all the time.

Plant reliably hardy tree, shrubs and perennials. When you try to grow plants that are not suitable for your hardiness zone, or grow water loving plants in dry environments, they take more time in general to care for them, to baby them along.

Avoid planting aggressive plants or self sowing flowers. There’s nothing that seems like a greater waste of time than weeding out something you knowingly planted in the garden because you convinced yourself that you could control it. If you inherited a garden with self-sowing flowers or just fell in love with some and couldn’t help yourself, be diligent about dead heading.

Hire out some of the gardening to be done. I know it is shocking that I would suggest this, having done all my own gardening. But sometimes there just isn’t time to get it all done. If that’s your situation, figure out what you really don’t like to do in the garden, maybe it is remulching beds or unbelievably, mowing, and hire someone else to do that for you.

Size the garden to match the resources that you have to give to it. This may mean that you hold off digging up new beds until you have the current beds under control. Or maybe you’ll plant fewer containers. How big of a garden you can keep from nagging you will vary depending on your life circumstances, age, ability, and how much of what you have, your resources of both time and money, you want to put into the garden.

The point is, we are Not Always Gardening, and have to plan accordingly, to keep the nagging down to some manageable list of what really needs to be done in the garden.

After all, we don’t want the nagging to drown out the other sounds of a garden, like that of the double flowering blood root, Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’ which finally opened up, almost, when the sun came out today.

Can you hear it?


  1. Here, here. All of that is so true. I sometimes wish I could hire mine grub work out, but then I don't like anyone messing around in my garden. Love the acronym. Hope you get your garden to simmer down.~~Dee

  2. Mine isn't nagging, it is hollering "WEED ME NOW"

  3. You may have mentioned this in the past, but I am a new reader (and loving being here!) - do you have suggestions on a good mulch? My neighbors tend to use straw, but it seems a little likely to...blow about in the wind!


  4. I used to hire out my lawn mowing. Last year they ran over a shrub and not a tiny one either. It was two feet tall. It is well mangled and all but one branch is dead. This shrub is one that I had layered off one of my other bushes. It took me ten years to get it to really start to thrive. Then they weed wacked all my bluets. When they decided they hadn't killed enough they weed wacked down my hostas. I won't even tell you about the holes in the grass caused by large machines going at too high of a speed turning in tight corners. Needless to say, I'm mowing my lawn this year. Sigh. Good help is hard to find. It doesn't seem to be the answer for me.

  5. That blood root is simply stunning!

    I have neighbors who will come around and mow the lawn sometimes - it's a fairly informal agreement: they see the yard looks like a jungle and I hand them a twenty.

    Got to get my own mower, though. It will be cheaper!

  6. I wish I could find someone to help my mom with her garden. It's hard to take care of mine & hers, & she can't find good help, which makes more work for me trying to undo the damage caused by the people she hired.
    Another way to cut down on the nagging is to group plants into communities, so that they can grow into each other and cover the ground, thereby crowding out weeds.
    I love your double Sanguinaria. I'm still looking for mine.

  7. I could do with heeding all that advice Carol. Anyway today I don't have to do anything. The garden was crying out for water and it is getting it. Torrential rain. Good and bad- but I would have to say with our drought more good than bad.

  8. There are times when the whole farm nags me. lol I try to ignore it and just deal with what's necessary, at the moment.

    Currently the weeds have gone over the link from nagging to taunting.

    I like one gardener's philosophy that I read last year regarding weeds and what to do about them: Either way it's [the issue of weeds is] going to disappear from my immediate consciousness.

  9. Very sound advice! Sometimes you have to live and learn to know what t do and what you can handle.

  10. Heck yes my garden is a nagger. I hear it grumbling even during the night. You forgot to do this or you need to do that. Quiet down out there. It is bed time.

  11. All really great reminders! I think my garden has been talking to your garden and plotting! Sometimes I have so much to do that I get what I call executive paralysis ;).

  12. My garden nags me all the time.
    But we're still together after all these years.

  13. I love what sweetbay said...her garden has gone from nagging to taunting! I felt that s I walked the garden this morning! gail

  14. omg, yes , yes and yes... and thank you

  15. Oh, mine is a bigger nag than I am! I had to laugh out loud all by myself here in the family room. Boy - do you have my number: "nothing that seems like a greater waste of time than weeding out something you knowingly planted in the garden because you convinced yourself that you could control it. " MAN o MAN is that ME! Ah, at least you make me laugh at myself and that's so good. Thanks .


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