Confessions of a plantaholic

I love flowers. Being a farm girl, one of my favorite memories is picking anything that bloomed, weeds included. I loved having a bouquet of flowers in my bedroom, and still do.

I am now in my seventh decade and I need to make some major decisions and changes in our landscape. I have been saying for years now, “I gotta downsize.”

I have read countless articles on how to do this. But I walk among my gardens with so many pollinator-attracting plants, most of which reseed or send out runners and multiple at a furious rate. I look at them and all I can think of is, “How could I ever part with you?”

Pollinators visit you. I visit you. You complete me.

For years, I have been on a fast track to collect so many plants. I have plants that dear friends have given me. I have plants that remind me of special people for one reason or another. Friends come to our gardens to visit and share plants. How can I say goodbye to those beauties?

I realize that sounds a little crazy to a lot of people but if you are a flower gardener, you understand.

I am sharing plants. I cannot even consider killing them off. When I plant seeds, I can barely bring myself to thin as needed. I always think the one I pulled out could have become the strongest and most beautiful. I feel an obligation to add native plants to our yard.

Yes, I said that little word — “add.” Yikes!

I am a plant hoarder. I feel like our property is starting to look tropical — maybe a bit jungle-ized. I have severely trimmed shrubs and bushes that has helped. I have already mowed several things that are done blooming, but they will come back, some will even return this year.

I have tried making a checklist of all the yard duties. That only depresses me because I know I am not getting it all done. We are not wealthy people; hiring a gardener is not an option.

How many of you have tried to hire a teenager to help in your yard? You might get lucky if you want someone to ride your lawn tractor around. I enjoy mowing and can certainly handle that myself. However, if I need help putting down mulch, edging, moving and dividing plants, etc. help, no luck.

I have made one small step that I consider progress. There is a self-imposed moratorium in effect — no seeds or plants shall be delivered to this address. I wonder can I stick to this self-imposed attempt to prohibit my evil ways? Is there a treatment program for plantaholics?

I encourage my fellow plantaholics to think about their landscape design. It is a fun project to think about now while we are home more. What works for you and your family? What works for pollinators without the extra work? What plants will take less time and effort?

For details and a plan to make your garden low-maintenance, go to http://go.osu.edu/lowmaintenance

For a list of carefree plants for your landscape, go to http://go.osu.edu/ carefreeplants.

McKinley is an Ohio State University Mahoning County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.


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