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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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7 - Low-maintenance plants
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Ideal low-maintenance plants
There are three groups of low-maintenance plants:
There are many varieties of slow-growing shrubs and evergreens that add size, stature and a colourful range of seasonal flowers and foliage to the garden.
Conifers provide year-round shape, texture and colour - some change and take on different shades in winter. Although there are 1,500 varieties, they fall roughly into three groups.

  • Fast-growing kinds like leylandii are rather reviled, but in the right place they make a good hedge if you keep it cut twice a year and don’t let it run wild.
  • Slow-growing vertical types like Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ make tight, pointy shapes that help to ‘lift’ the garden.
  • Dwarf types, such as some of the junipers, can be small and dumpy or grow out flat and make good ground cover.
Grasses go well with shrubs and conifers and, depending which ones you choose, add colour, seed-heads and movement to a garden. They are the ultimate low-maintenance perennials. You can forget staking, tying up, or deadheading. They only need cutting down once a year.
Bulbs are the magic ingredients that bring the ‘no work’ garden to life. You only need to plant them once - three times their own depth is the rule - and they come up year after year. Go for spring, summer and autumn types that don’t have a lot of floppy foliage that looks messy once the flowers have finished.
7. No time garden

Garden audit
Low-maintenance plants
Top ten plants
Hedges and fences
Time-saving tips

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