Here's a few words on the matter from British garden writer, Judy Glatstein. Evelyn Reflections on "Low Maintenance" gardening from Judy Glatstein's book, CONSIDER THE LEAF.
"... all too often though, there is a gap between our hopes and our results. Seduced by pretty flowers, we plant time-consuming gardens that display only passing moments of beauty as plants briefly bloom, then fade. The roses covering the dream cottage have black spot on their leaves and Japanese beetles eating their flowers.
I remember a client who asked me with some consternation, "You mean now that the garden is planted I have to take care of it?" Yes, indeed. We plant, then we tend to watering, weeding, fertilizing, mulching, staking, disease and pest protection - on and on.
Were I the lady of the manor, with ample funds, more leisure, and a head gardener with support staff, this wouldn't be a problem. In my imagination is a gilded age of opportunity, wherein I drift through the garden on a golden afternoon. I am wearing a flowered dress, wide-brimmed straw hat, and gloves, carrying a basket with a pair of secateurs, and smiling benignly at the gardeners doing the real work. But just like most other gardeners I know, my real costume is a pair of filthy blue jeans and an old tee-shirt. Out in the garden, as light fades, I pitch the tools - an 8-pound mattock for hacking at my New Jersey clay and a WeedWrench to yank out multiflora roses (Rosa multiflora) - back into the tool shed and empty assorted 5-gallon Sheetrock buckets filled with lesser rocks and weeds.
A collection of articles to help some of
your gardening tasks go quicker.
Deadhead to prevent seeding
Chop leaves instead of bagging them up.
My time is limited. I cannot afford high-maintenance plants needing special attention in exchange for a two-week bloom period. In fact, even easily grown plants that "pay back" with a two-week period of bloom and nothing more just do not do it for me. I need plants that pay their way. In return for room and board (make that planting room and garden maintenance) I want easy-care plants with extended interest. After all, even in cold-winter regions the growing season lasts for several months. Flowers are great, but I consider them an embellishment for plants with fantastic foliage, the accessories that set off that basic black dress..."
from CONSIDER THE LEAF by Judy Glatstein