Years ago when I was a landscape designer one of my biggest turn-offs were customers who requested the “No Maintenance Garden”. Unfortunately, it was most of them, but finally it appears as though times are changing and people are becoming more aware of the benefits of a natural landscape. No successful garden that includes living things can truly be no maintenance, but there will be occasions where, left to its own devices, the garden can take care of itself if you let it.
Particularly now is the time in the garden, if not overly manicured, where the magic of the reseed can occur. It is not always easy to tell weed from wanted plant, but by not obsessing over unexpected growth, your garden can renew itself naturally. Especially opportune are areas including brick and open stonework as well as regions of gravel. These include walkways that homeowners hope to keep the most tidy, but the bottom line is that many plants do best in coarse terrain. We work so hard to create the perfect fertile ground in our garden, but in nature plants often grow where the seed is able to anchor in one spot, collect water and be properly drained and not necessarily in the area of perfect soil.
More recent reseedlings in my urban garden…
So do let seedlings grow, but don’t ignore the garden altogether either. If you watch your seedlings as they grow (and perhaps even document them), you will be able to identify friend from foe in the future. For example, in my urban garden, I have less possible intruders than a less cultivated area and I am able to pinpoint the most likely intruders; porcelain vine, Virginia creeper, Boston and English Ivy and sweet autumn clematis who all come from one neighbor. Now that I know what their immature foliage looks like, I can nab them before they take root.
There will always be surprises too, that make this exercise of will worthwhile. As mentioned in a previous post, I have an accidental pumpkin vine growing in my walkway and I discovered a surprisingly large tomato plant in my, as of yet, undeveloped (to put it mildly) back yard. The tomato has tons of fruit and I am looking forward to a late summer harvest shortly!