Try Slow Gardening for Some Unusual Benefits

Are you a small hippie in your garden? Relaxed and laid-back, seldom cutting the lawn or hedges while trying to grow a few organic vegetables? It might be that you are not a gardening throwback to the ’60s but are a follower of the Slow Gardening movement.

Inspired by the Slow Food movement, founded by Carlo Petrini in the 1980s, Slow Gardening was started by American horticulturalist Felder Rushing. In its deepest level, Slow Gardening is about more than practical gardening; it’s about self-awareness, personal responsibility and environmental consciousness. It has been described as a mindset rather than a one-way checklist.

Slow Gardening is exactly what I would think most gardeners aim for: a relaxing pastime, one that lets them take their work and time with the seasons and with all the local environment. Lets check out some of Slow Gardening’s major principles — dispersing some of your plants, using plants appropriate to a garden’s microclimate, saving water, composting as well as using design details like growing hedges and departing grassy regions natural to promote wildlife — to help us reach its ideals in our gardens.

In & Out Design

1. The delight is in the process. When we have the image of the garden we want in our mind we can become impatient to turn it into truth. With sufficient cash it can be easy to attain this reality by using large specimen plants, but this is not the Slow Gardening way.

The delight of slow gardening is enjoying the process as much as the outcome. Perennials and ornamental grasses are easy to grow from seed or cuttings — though it is going to take longer to create your dream garden. By developing your own plants, you will not only get to understand their needs, but you’ll have real ownership of them.

Shrubs aren’t always very easy to grow from seed, but you can always purchase small starter plants which, with time, will attain the size you desire. The actual delight of slow gardening is in waiting and enjoying the various stages of plant development.

2. Choose plants that will thrive in your garden. When designing your garden on the principles of Slow Gardening, what we plant and where’s of prime importance.

By developing plants that are appropriate to a garden’s microclimate, not as work, feeding and watering will be required to receive the best outcomes from those plants. Plants naturally grow nicely when they’re planted in the exact same position as their normal habitat.

Regional garden guides on

Calico Studio

3. Water conservation can be trendy. Together with the changing world climate, water conservation has become vital, especially in the way we garden. A thrifty approach to using water is a kingpin of the Slow Gardener’s philosophy.

Water butts and rainwater tanks should be a key feature in almost any Slow Gardener’s garden, collecting rainwater to use during the growing season. Now we do not have to rely on unsightly green plastic barrels as our only collection method; there are plenty of trendy and interesting containers which can turn into a characteristic of a garden’s overall layout.

Matt Kilburn

4. Invest in DIY dirt improvement. Another way of helping to conserve cash is making sure your soil retains moisture. The best way to accomplish this is through the addition of organic matter like farmyard manure, leaf mold or the Slow Gardener’s preferred, compost.

There’s no mystery to making compost, but it requires an understanding of the methods to create this ideal soil improver. It would be quite easy to just get a compound fertilizer from the regional garden center for immediate results, but Slow Gardening is all about patience — not dashing nature but helping it. Making compost and using it to increase your soil is not instantaneous, but the outcome is well worth the wait.

Aloe Designs

5. Grow the slow solution to fast food. Growing your own food and perhaps helping the environment do not always have to be on an allotment garden scale; a couple baskets can suffice. It’s possible to get a rewarding harvest by constructing smaller, more manageable growing spaces for seasonable plants.

“Cut and come again” sausage crops, including rocket, lettuce, radicchio and endive, are ideal to grow in pots and are almost maintenance free. Growing berries, such as Tumbler or Tumbling Tom, at a hanging basket is the essence of vegetable Slow Gardening.

Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

6. Leave the mower in the shed. A beautiful close-cropped emerald green lawn has been a central characteristic of several traditional gardens previously (now replicated in contemporary gardens with the usage of plastic artificial grass).

Creating the ideal lawn requires a great deal of time, energy, fertilizer and water — all things which go against Slow Gardening principles. Leaving your grass to grow more or adding more grass as part of your garden layout will provide you the benefits of conserving on these items while creating an environment for beneficial insects which will help with pollination around the garden.

Lynn Gaffney Architect, PLLC

7. Create a natural home for the garden. Slow-growing hedges, especially indigenous varieties, will provide even the tiniest garden the benefits of providing shelter and food for insects and birds. The very last thing a Slow Gardener wants in the garden is topiary or a fast-growing hedge which needs a whole lot of time-consuming clipping and care.

Kathleen Shaeffer Design, Exterior Spaces

Perhaps this is your image of slow gardening — a quiet location where you are able to sit at the sun without a care about the uncut lawn or flowers to deadhead.

Above there aren’t any hard guidelines to Slow Gardening. Your garden should suit your lifestyle and environment, and allow you to unwind, take your time and adhere to the seasonal rhythms. So, perhaps the hippies had the ideal idea in the first location.

More: Things to do (or not) on your garden now

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