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In 2022 Gardening Becomes More Sustainable and Planet-Friendly

The days of overly manicured gardens may be a thing of the past as 2022 ushers in more planet-friendly natural gardens.  Homeowners, who are drawn to natural loose gardens because of their free growing and unattended nature, are finding joy in creating sustainable gardens and landscaping.  Through small changes with the type of plants and additives that are put in the garden as well as a thoughtful landscaping layout to promote year long blooming and water conservation, every homeowner can follow the trend of a more natural and planet-friendly garden in 2022.  

Choose Native Plants

Every region of the world has plants that are exclusive to their area based upon their own unique climate and soil composition.  Tropical climates naturally grow large hibiscus while northeastern regions of the United States easily grow springtime merrybells. One flower can thrive in its natural growing region, but will fail to thrive and die quickly in another.  When you consider the plants you are going to put in your garden you should find ones that are native to your area.  Not only will this make maintaining your garden much easier, it will also attract native wildlife to your garden.  This in turn will help sustain insects and animals that are vital to the ecosystem.  Animals and insects, just like plants, are unique to specific areas of the world.  They thrive off of native plants and are attracted to areas where they can find nutrients.  When you begin your garden you should find plants and flowers that are native to your area.  This can easily be done by searching the internet for native plants and your area. 

Embrace Xeriscaping

A beautifully landscaped lawn can dramatically improve the look and feel of your yard.  But if landscaped areas require daily watering and constant care they can quickly become a hassle and a source of water waste.  Luckily, it is possible to create beautifully landscaped areas using xeriscaping.  Xeriscaping is the practice of reducing or eliminating the need for irrigation.  This means that the plants used in landscaping will not require any more water than what the environment naturally provides.  Of course, rainfall is different in every area of the world, so the plants chosen for your xeriscaped area should be native to your area.  For instance, dryer areas such as Phoenix, Arizona will need to choose plants such as ocotillo that require little to no water.  However, more humid areas will benefit with plants that naturally require more irrigation such as swamp milkweed and black-eyed susans.  For homeowners who live in moderate climates plants such as coreopsis, lavender, marigolds, lambs ear, sedum, and russian sage produce beautiful blooms but do not require much water.  Junipers are low growing evergreen bushes that produce a dense, bluish-green foliage and thrive in compact low water gardens.   Ornamental grasses can create a tall garden background with their long flowing grasses and also grow easily without any more water than what falls from the sky.  

Choose Pollinator Friendly Plants

Simply put, a pollinator-friendly garden is one that attracts beneficial creatures such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, etc. that naturally transfer pollen from flower to flower.  Every pollinator has its own method of sourcing nectar and pollen, which means a variety of pollinator friendly plants should be used in your garden to accommodate them all.  Your pollinator friendly garden should include basic plants with one flower per stem as well as those that have large, compound inflorescences of flowers.  These include flowers such as goldenrod and milkweed which are also valuable host plants for monarch butterfly larvae.  Plants in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors should be planted in large groupings, making it easier for pollinators to find.  Choose at least three of one kind of plant and install them in large drifts rather than spaced out.  

Add a Water Feature

Water features are extremely popular at the moment for not only their naturally calming effect but also their appeal to wildlife.  Birds, insects, and small and large mammals are drawn to water sites. The easiest way to add water to your garden is with a shallow bird bath.  These are available at just about any hardware or garden center.  Bird baths come in multiple sizes, shapes, and heights.  They can be as simple as a shallow dish atop a pedestal or as complex as an etched marble decorative bath fountain.  An additional beneficial water feature is a small water fountain.  These maintain a stream of fresh water for animals that prefer moving water.  Constantly moving water will also eliminate the possibility of mosquitoes reproducing in stagnant water.  Finally, a small garden pond will provide a water source for a range of wildlife.  Frogs butterflies and dragonflies are fans of small garden ponds so provide a small rock area that protrudes from the water where they can land.  A pond with a corner dedicated to local plants will provide shelter and security for all kinds of wildlife.   

Embrace the Plant Life Cycle

Every plant has a time of year when it is in a growth and blooming cycle and when it is in a dormant stage.  Most gardeners plant and enjoy flowers during their blooming phase, but fail to notice the plant’s dormant stage.  However, when some plants such as wildflowers are in their dying phase this is often when they drop their seeds to expand their growth area for the following year.  It is during this time that these plants should be left to wilt and die away. As necessary as this phase is for proper plant reproduction, it is not always the most beautiful.  Drooping brown flowers are hardly eye-catching and really become more of an eye sore for most gardeners.  In order to maintain the beauty of your garden while allowing plants to complete their full life cycle, you should plant a variety of plants that will bloom and die during different seasons.  Choose shrubs and bushes as a base for your garden.  These will provide constant greenery even when your flower blooms fade.  Next, add native perennials that bloom at different times.  Early spring bloomers such as tulips and daffodils start the warm season while marigolds and coneflowers bloom well into the hot summer months.  Finally, add easy to care for ground covers.  These will act as a weed barrier and another layer of color.

Let It Grow  

It can be difficult to move away from an overly structured garden to a naturally blooming garden.  Homeowners who still want to maintain a certain level of structure rather than all their garden beds to become a jumble of wildflowers should simply add a few drought tolerant plants and pollinator friendly flowers to their garden.  They should also try to steer clear of pesticides and choose natural remedies for weed control.  Creating a planet-friendly sustainable garden can be easy and will provide ample beauty while giving back to the planet.