How to - Gardening Basics

10 ways to limit the work and enhance your enjoyment in the yard

Our handy tips will help you enjoy your garden without sacrificing horticultural beauty


Get the best tool for the job
If you’re down on your hands and knees again tugging at chickweed, maybe it’s time to reassess your garden tools. The Winged Weeder and the loop hoe are great for weeding large beds from a standing position, and a hand trug is useful for tossing weeds in as you go, so you don’t have to go back through the garden with a rake and garbage bag.

Avoid make-work projects
For exam­­ple, bird feeders can be a source of frustration when poor-quality seed that contains millet (which most birds won’t eat) is tossed aside, making a mess. Consult a specialty store that caters to birds for advice. Or supply berries and seeds naturally with wildlife-friendly plants.

Keep work manageable
Instead of saving one Saturday a month for gardening, spend a half-hour in your yard a few times a week. This gives you an idea of how your garden is doing and prevents tasks from piling up.

Avoid invasion
Perennials that ruthlessly spread by underground roots or those that rampantly self-seed are as tough to control in your garden as a virus in your computer. Although invasive plants vary by region, the following are among the most pervasive: clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata), shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), most spurge (Euphorbia spp.), Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) and most types of Artemisia, including the new supposedly annual Oriental Limelight wormwood (Artemisia vulgaris ‘Janlim’).

For a comprehensive listing of invasives, see the Canadian Botanical Network website.

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