Lower-upkeep gardening suggestions from Leanne Cusack’s backyard

Kim J. Clark

You could call our backyard garden an “all you can eat” buffet for the pollinators.

There are so numerous birds, butterflies (certainly, Monarchs), hummingbirds and bees traveling overhead there is virtually a want for air targeted traffic command!

That buzz feels like gratitude from mother nature.

Though all those bees are fast paced, we, as gardeners, want to be a bit lazy.

Leanne in the garden
CTV Ottawa host, Leanne Cusack shares her Chelsea, Que. yard, highlighting reduced-upkeep & cost-effective strategies. (Photo credit history: Joel Haslam)

We have a digging, dividing, mulching and planting ‘marathon’ at the commencing of the period for about 4 days—long days.

And then we are carried out! (We can enjoy on the water, or hike, until finally we tuck the gardens in for the winter.)

Sure there is a little bit of weeding, watering and deadheading but all round, the yard can take treatment of alone.

The mystery is in the mulch.

CTV News Ottawa’s Joel Haslam is much more than a fantastic storyteller.

I simply call my darling husband or wife of eight many years: “The King of Mulch”.

I also connect with him the “King of Hen Manure”. He’s not crazy about either moniker but he likes how the mulch (Ramea or willow bark) maintains the humidity in the soil and minimizes the want to weed, and how the manure is like steroids for plants.

Mulch and moisture

Each the mulch and the manure are wholesome alternatives for the soil—chemical and dye absolutely free. That way herbs and greens can sooner or later be planted the place the bouquets are now.

A single issue I am significant on is a little something I will phone “appreciative relocation of volunteers”.

Rather of getting frustrated by the fantastic wildlife, welcome the ‘volunteer plantings’ of the birds and chipmunks.

For yrs, I would plant sunflowers and I felt a little bit sabotaged by the creatures I would lovingly feed all winter. I’d plant seeds, they’d dig them up and eat them. It was like a treasure hunt and I was remaining vacant-handed.

I then realized they ended up planting much too. Aiding me, even if unintentionally.

So when I see a sunflower spring up everywhere, I allow it get potent more than enough to transplant and relocate it wherever I would like it to develop to whole top.

Performing with the wildlife is a quantities game. I simply cannot forecast how numerous seeds planted in beds will just take, so I also begin sunflowers in pots.

I then transfer these sunflower seedlings into big containers,

They add peak and drama to the back garden.

It has been these kinds of an remarkable escalating yr, so lots of are large shiny and sunny sunflowers at 12-ft tall.

Leanne with volunteer sunflowers

You know that expression “stay in the light” sunflowers are the lecturers.

Youthful sunflowers follow the sunshine, consequently the French phrase for sunflower: Tournesol-that means ‘turns with the sun’.

These tall, bright and handsome flowers increase so a lot to the yard for just a couple cents truly worth of seeds.

Happy Sunflower Volunteers

All those experienced sunflowers are then chook feeders and the collaborative cycle proceeds.

One more joyful plant supplying large bang for about two bucks—the nasturtium! (Two bucks is the cost of a package deal of seeds.)

If you are drawn to the cheerful and unique seeking bouquets surrounded by this sort of very leaves, I propose planting them in containers and in beds.

I plant them everywhere.

They are gorgeous draped above yard partitions. I place nasturtiums in the containers with sunflowers. It is my way of bringing the south of France to the Gatineau Hills.

These vibrant plants are fantastic ground go over. The lively flowers are excellent for garnishing salads or desserts. Of course, they are edible!


A different sunny flower mate is a gal named Susan, some say her eyes are brown, some say they are black. Brown, or Black-eyed Susans are lower-servicing and so darn pleased.

Brown Eyed Susans

Brown-eyed Susans (Rudebeckia) are also resilient. 

When I recognized the flower had prolifically self-seeded in our flagstone route there have been two solutions: A) the whipper-snipper or B) paying out ten minutes going dozens and dozens of small volunteer seedlings into beds and containers.

I selected alternative B and really feel rewarded.

Leanne with brown-eyed susans
Relocating Black-eyed Susan volunteer seedlings. (Photo credit: Joel Haslam)

Considering that we are talking of resilience, I want to explain to you about a plant that just keeps on supplying.

It is an once-a-year identified as Mezoo, or Dorotheanthus. It’s a tender perennial in the Carolina’s and additional temperate climates.

Mezoo or Dorotheanthus

This calendar year, I satisfied my new greatest girlfriend Dorotheanthus very unintentionally.

When I went to Brantim Country Backyard Centre on the Higher Dwyer Hill Street to obtain my “annual” annuals, I questioned for Swedish Ivy (a very long time go-to vine for containers).


Joanne Smith, the artistic genius there explained, “Lee, sorry sold-out but test this Mezoo vine, I know you will enjoy it.”

She was appropriate. It is the best and I have sold absolutely everyone on it.

When I informed Jocelyn, the astounding horticulturalist at Masham’s ‘find of a nursery’ Les Serres Bourgeon, she stated, “you know which is a succulent, correct?! Just break a piece off and stick in the soil.”

That little discussion indicates I have Doreanthus everywhere—on paths, in containers, draping over rocks. It has the sweetest minor reddish-pink fringy bouquets also. I program to just take a number of vegetation inside of to overwinter.

Price savings idea: 1 succulent results in being quite a few, many crops!!

Mezoo or Dorotheanthus is my favourite addition this yr. It’s an once-a-year but I will deliver a few items within to overwinter.

If we aim on back garden ‘division that results in being multiplication’, let us glow a light on the shiny and lovely hosta.

Hostas are the plant-world’s variation of the great buddy.

They are dependable, hardy, delighted, forgiving, cheerful and versatile.

Everybody loves to share their hostas. I have gratefully made use of some of the hostas I have been gifted in containers.

I seriously like how they glimpse at varying heights in containers.

Hostas in pots

My tip, figured out pretty accidentally if you dump your hostas out of the containers in the forest, or at the back again of your yard in the tumble, you can pop them back again into the container (with extra soil) in the spring.

I have been placing the similar hostas in the very same containers in the vicinity of the garage for several years now. (They are major as heck, so thank you, Joel.)

Grasses (even a piece of your perennial decorative grasses) and begonias added to these hostas (divided and subdivided) are showstoppers.

I really feel so fortunate to have discovered this trick. Check out it with just one compact a person to see if it will work for you.

Idea: I dump hostas from containers in the forest in the tumble and plant them once again in the similar containers in the spring. I may possibly be President of the Hosta Enthusiast Club. )

Early in this write-up I celebrated Susan. She’s a flexible a person, that Susan. I not only get pleasure from her in her daisy sort, she is a elegance as a vine as well. Thunbergia, Black-eyed Susan Climbing Vine is a good climber (as for every her name). This plant is magnificent in a container or increasing, and flowing above a rock wall. The seed pack expenditures $1.89. I have clumps of this plant just about everywhere. Susan is a pretty reasonably priced mate in my garden for about $8.00.


Although I am sharing all of my “affordable” strategies, I do expend on transplants!

Simply because our growing season is so condensed, I want the colour early, and I want to provide constant, and constant, food items for my traveling buddies.

The birds and the bees are relying on these bouquets and the flowering trees.

If questioned to decide favourite annuals: I have extended adored cleome, zinnias, dragon-wing begonias, scaevola, geraniums and verbena. They are just so cheerful, and have become my “go- to annuals”.

Enjoying vibrant annuals

These are the major pops of color of our hillside backyard.

The bones of this garden are annuals, grasses, conifers and flowering trees.

Like the seeds that supply a potent punch of color for each low-cost offer, with the higher than annuals, a couple of crops go a very long way.

I have zinnias through the garden. I plant them from seed in selected locations and containers, and I plant transplants too.

When you invest in zinnias, you are in essence certain bouquets of minimize flowers all summer season. I have previously harvested about 30 bouquets. I think that’s fantastic return on your flower dollar.

Zinnia boquets
I plant transplants and I plant from seed to guarantee a whole season of colour and food for the pollinators. The price tag of the zinnia transplants is recouped by way of beautiful bouquets of contemporary cut flowers. (Photograph credit rating: Joel Haslam)

A favorite flowering perennial pal is Echinacea. The coneflowers are extended-bloomers, drought resistant, and reliable. The butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy echinacea.


Tip: Harvest a several seed heads. Permit them dry. To effortlessly collect seeds put the seed heads in a coffee can and shake them loose.

Depart the rest of the plant standing even though. The birds will thank you.

They say the best way to solution a back garden is with a program.

I am not that particular person. For me a backyard is a feel-thing and trial and error has been my recipe for planting, and gardening, accomplishment.

You could call it landscape, or ‘softscape’, art. As a landscape artist, I like to paint flowers. In the summertime, nevertheless, I see the soil as the canvas.

I hope these late summer time illustrations help encourage you to affordably generate your planting upcoming time.

And although I referred to as Joel “The King of Mulch”, my buddy, backyard garden expert, Carson Arthur justifies that title too. Carson continually states “all mulch is not made equal”.

If you want your yard to be healthy, decide on the proper mulch to go on leading of the lovingly organized and nourished soil.

Carson is also massive on chickens and all that their squander can do for your plants.

Carson is the person who encouraged this rooster to share her “low maintenance” garden escape. 

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