Plants that require little attention through the year and are generally disease and pest resistant are the ones to include in a low-maintenance garden that cater low maintenance plants. There is enough choice to ensure interest and plenty of colour at all times.
Graceful Grasses For Year-Round Interest
Perennial grasses are easy plants. Once planted, they require very little attention, except occasional removal of dead foliage and old flower heads if they offend. Cutting back the dead foliage to ground level in early spring will encourage lots of new growth.
There are many types to grow, from compact dwarfs to huge plants that reach 2.4m (8 feet) or more. They can be used in beds, either on their own or in mixed plantings, to stunning effect.
Be cautious about mixing grasses among other plants, however, as some are difficult to control, and rampant species will soon take over a bed and become inextricably entwined with other plants, so clump-forming types are best.
The more spreading grasses are better grown in an isolated spot, but the smaller ones will work in a border if you plant them in a large container sunk into the ground, with the rim flush with the surrounding soil. Annual grasses will self-seed unless you deadhead them after flowering.
Ferns For Moist Shade
The intricate foliage of ferns makes these fascinating plants essential for moist, shady corners of any low-maintenance garden, where they will without doubt thrive without any intervention. Many die down in winter, but there are also plenty of evergreen species, and they are varied enough in shape and size to make an interesting planting despite the lack of flowers.
Most ferns prefer a moist, shady or partially shaded position, and will do especially well if you take time to prepare the soil by incorporating plenty of organic material. This is very important in an area shaded by a tree or wall, where soil is usually dry. If the soil is impoverished, rake a balanced fertilizer into the surface of the soil when you plant. If planting in late summer, autumn or winter do not use a quick-acting fertilizer.
Water the fern thoroughly about half an hour before planting. It is very important that ferns do not dry out, especially when newly planted.
Make a hole large enough to take the root ball. Firm the fern in carefully. Then water thoroughly so that the surrounding soil is moist down to the depth of the rootball.
To help conserve moisture and maintain a high level of organic material in the soil, mulch thickly. Top up the mulch each spring.