Create a beautiful garden when you are renting
If you rent and are a garden lover, it can be difficult to have a great garden. You don’t want to spend a lot of money, since it’s not your house and you may have to move. It can be tricky, if you don’t do anything because you feel like you’ll only be there for a year, five years later you’ll wish you’d made some improvements. On the other hand, you can develop a fantastic garden and then all of a sudden, after only 18 months, you get the eviction notice. It can be devastating. You have invested a lot of love, time, money and now you have to go. Realtors love it when you say I’ll garden and I’m sure I got a house in South Melbourne because I said that. My mantra is not to spend too much money because I don’t own the property. Another problem is that if you have lived in the same house for many years, you begin to feel that it is yours, when in fact it is not. Moving can be heartbreaking, especially when you leave a few plant friends behind.
First, you need to choose a property that has the right amount of sunlight for what you want to grow. You need to identify where is north/south/east/west and it is very important to know where the shadows fall and the position of the sun in winter. What may be a sunny front yard in the summer can be a very shady front yard in the winter. It’s a good idea to get the owners’ approval before making too many changes. A house I rented, I didn’t bother to ask if it was okay to pull up the paving and make garden beds. They may not want you to create a beautiful garden because once you move in, they may not want to take care of it. It’s heartbreaking to walk past and see all your hard work, falling apart.
Creating a large garden on a rented property is easier if the property is small, as this means you don’t need to do as much work. If it is a large rental property, you may decide to develop only one area. Another idea is to talk to the owner and get him to agree that if you do the work, he will pay for the plants and anything else that is needed. I often think that homeowners don’t understand that if you develop a nice garden, it will increase the value of their home and that means money in their pocket.
I only have one rule when it comes to creating a garden on a rented property and that is don’t buy expensive plants. So I only buy tubes (3 inch pots) or 6 inch pots. This limits me from spending a lot of money on something I can’t take when I move. I also imagine that anything in a tube will grow into a larger plant over time. Also smaller plants outgrow the shock of transplanting and start growing faster than large potted plants.
An inexpensive way to create a garden is to take cuttings from good old-fashioned plants like geraniums, lavender, sage, daisies, and hydrangeas. These plants attack very easily, do not need much care and grow very fast. You will have a large garden within 12 months. Slower growing plants such as roses, camellias and deciduous trees take several years to be ready for garden planting.
If you’re renting, you may think you can’t have a garden. Well that’s not true. Today, you can grow many vegetables in pots and there are now a wide variety of different containers for growing vegetables. You can use old wheelbarrows, old cut tanks, old wooden crates, and you can even buy wooden crates from some vegetable growing businesses. The same rules apply, good quality soil enriched with compost and animal manure, well drained and in full sun.
It’s heartbreaking when you have to leave some of your special plants behind. One way to get around this problem was to plant some of my favorite plants in pots. I have an amazing variety of pots in my garden, from the largest to the smallest. I even use some of them to fill in gaps in my garden, which is one way I switch things up when I feel like the garden looks tried and I’m sick of the same old look. It is true that moving is a hassle, because I have many, but this helps me immediately establish a new garden when I move and makes me feel more stable.
Another trick is when you find out you’re moving, it’s to run around the garden too much and take cuttings. It’s really the last thing you want to do while in this area, but you’ll be sorry if you don’t. I have two unusual salvias that tolerate shade and I didn’t want to lose them. So I took cuttings from Salvia miniata It has bright green leaves and traffic light red flowers. To take cuttings, you should use a good quality propagation potting mix, not ordinary potting mix because it is not designed to drain cuttings. So there is a trace of this red sage in every house I have lived in for the last 10 years.
I have also been known to dig up plants when I found out I was moving. This is what I did with my other shade-loving plant: sage forskaohlie. It has beautiful blue flowers with white dots on the flower throat and is self-seeding. This is an excellent idea, especially if you are moving in the winter, as taking cuttings is not always possible. Clean out some old pots, get a good quality potting mix and dig in. The only drawback to this is that when you’ve moved and have a million other things to do, caring for your plants, especially in the height of summer, can be difficult.
There is a wide variety of plastic, terracotta and concrete pots to choose from. You can also use old wooden boxes, old (clean) oil cans, and the good old wine barrel. I have a lavender that grows in some old oil that a friend found for me. It goes very well weapons. The only downside to pots, whatever they are, is that the big ones are heavy. If you move regularly, it might be a good idea to buy a stroller. They take the back-breaking work out of moving heavy pots. They are available now.
When you’re physically moving your plants, it’s a good idea to ask a friend for help, because lifting pots, especially large ones, is very heavy and hard work. The last time I moved, I rented a trailer, best thing I’ve ever done. My friends and I load everything up and move it all in one go, instead of many short trips in my car. First I watered them well, then when we got to the new house I put them in a shady spot until I figured out where the hot spots were and was ready to organize the garden.
So that you can have a nice garden if you are renting, it just takes a little thought and organization. Growing plants in pots offers you many opportunities that you don’t have if you are renting and don’t want to plant in the garden. Growing plants in pots also allows you to change things up and keep the garden interesting.