Has anyone ever planted a "natural" garden? How did it work for you?


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I recently seen a show that showed how to plant a natural garden, the plants where not planted in rows but along sides of plants that it would benefit being next to. It was very interesting, the garden also look then a huge weed/overgrown forest patch but kind of in a whimsical way. Has anyone ever done this? I am interested in doing it, and if you have did it work well for you?
 
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Search for posts by @JBtheExplorer;, she has done this. Also @Esther Knapicius . Both have many photos and videos posted here. As have sevetal other members come to think of it. :)

I did too at a previous house. I made a "messy" garden of mostly native/perennial plants. And I am working towards that at my current house. This spring I planted a bunch of native/pollinator friendly plants and have been rewarded by Monarch butterfly caterpillars on the milkweed (I posted a pic but can't recall where!) I'm planting more in fall as well as dividing my hostas and ferns.

Planting "in rows" is not that common, from what I see. I work on homes and other structures so I see a lot. ;)
 

JBtheExplorer

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Search for posts by @JBtheExplorer;, she has done this.
* He (y)


I recently seen a show that showed how to plant a natural garden, the plants where not planted in rows but along sides of plants that it would benefit being next to. It was very interesting, the garden also look then a huge weed/overgrown forest patch but kind of in a whimsical way. Has anyone ever done this? I am interested in doing it, and if you have did it work well for you?

Yes! I have a native garden. All of the plants I have are native to the United States. I've been seeing all sorts of butterflies and other pollinators on a daily basis. My neighbor even commented today about how many butterflies there have been.

It's very easy. I grew the vast majority of my plants from seed, which was very inexpensive. I threw the seeds around past two Winters on the day of the first expected snowfall in an area that I prepared (removed grass so there was nothing but bare soil). I don't recommend buy wildflower mixes, because most of them are filled with non-native plants. The more natives you have, the more wildlife you'll see. Native plants need a stretch of cold weather before they'll grow, so it's good to get the seeds spread during the beginning or middle of Winter so they get enough cold weather before Spring. During the first year, most plants won't flower. They'll be building their root system. The first year is also the year you'll have to water and pull weeds. Beyond the first year, watering is not necessary and there will be very little to weed. The second year, you'll get all kinds of blooms as everything fills in. Lucky for you, we're getting to the perfect time of year for planning a native garden. It'll give you some time to decide what kind of plants you want.

If you have any questions or want any plant recommendations, let me know!

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Sorry JB! :X3:

I know the OP isn't asking specifically about native plants. But my favourite garden center has a section just for native perennials and they also hold free classes on various garden-related endeavours so that could be a resource too.

When I did the "messy garden" at my last house I also killed all the grass, so I was starting with a blank slate. Though I went a more expensive route and used bought starter plants. It really helped that I was dating someone with a degree in horticulture or botany or something at the time, and he helped me put it together. :) We put in all the plants and filled in the blank areas in between with hardy ground cover plants such as ajuga and creeping thyme. So there was a bit more initial expense...but I drove past my old house earlier this summer and was happy to see that 8 years later, it still is happy and flowering; the new owners are keeping it up well.
 

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Sorry JB! :X3:

I know the OP isn't asking specifically about native plants. But
Doing a natural garden without native plants would be like doing a vegetable garden without any vegetables. Native plants are as natural as it gets, and non-native plants are as unnatural as it gets (y)
 
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I am thinking more along the lines of natural fruit bushes, plants with medicinal purposes. Like things I can walk outside in nature and find to eat. Like blackberry bushes, grape vines, mullein, etc. I was curious if anyone has done anything like this.
 
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Sorry JB! :X3:

I know the OP isn't asking specifically about native plants. But my favourite garden center has a section just for native perennials and they also hold free classes on various garden-related endeavours so that could be a resource too.

When I did the "messy garden" at my last house I also killed all the grass, so I was starting with a blank slate. Though I went a more expensive route and used bought starter plants. It really helped that I was dating someone with a degree in horticulture or botany or something at the time, and he helped me put it together. :) We put in all the plants and filled in the blank areas in between with hardy ground cover plants such as ajuga and creeping thyme. So there was a bit more initial expense...but I drove past my old house earlier this summer and was happy to see that 8 years later, it still is happy and flowering; the new owners are keeping it up well.
That must be very satisfying Beth B.:love: to the new owners
 
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I am thinking more along the lines of natural fruit bushes, plants with medicinal purposes. Like things I can walk outside in nature and find to eat. Like blackberry bushes, grape vines, mullein, etc. I was curious if anyone has done anything like this.
Well you don't say where you live...but that is where I would start. Figure out what is edible/medicinal native to your growing zone and plant those things. :)

At a previous house we had apple and pear trees which sounds all pastoral and farmy and all...but truth was most fruit fell to the ground and rotted if we weren't diligent about picking it up. So the fermenting fruit attracted billions of wasps and other bugs and all in all it was a nuisance.

Also the trees and fruit attracted deer and other wildlife...which may sound just lovely and Bambi but really it is a horrible idea to get wild mammals dependent on humans for food. On many levels and mostly to the detriment of the health and safety of the wildlife

And I currently have raspberry and blackberry bushes and wild grapes growing in my side yard, but the birds and bugs get to anything remotely edible before I can. They are welcome to it ...I go to Kroger for that stuff. :D

Anyway my main point is...if you have some notion that growing edible, and especially sugary, things in your yard is a no brainer and you'll be able to wander out and pick things when you feel like it, think again!
 

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I am thinking more along the lines of natural fruit bushes, plants with medicinal purposes. Like things I can walk outside in nature and find to eat. Like blackberry bushes, grape vines, mullein, etc. I was curious if anyone has done anything like this.
My native garden has Wild Strawberries (edible) and Echinacea (medicinal).
 
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Well you don't say where you live...but that is where I would start. Figure out what is edible/medicinal native to your growing zone and plant those things. :)

At a previous house we had apple and pear trees which sounds all pastoral and farmy and all...but truth was most fruit fell to the ground and rotted if we weren't diligent about picking it up. So the fermenting fruit attracted billions of wasps and other bugs and all in all it was a nuisance.

Also the trees and fruit attracted deer and other wildlife...which may sound just lovely and Bambi but really it is a horrible idea to get wild mammals dependent on humans for food. On many levels and mostly to the detriment of the health and safety of the wildlife

And I currently have raspberry and blackberry bushes and wild grapes growing in my side yard, but the birds and bugs get to anything remotely edible before I can. They are welcome to it ...I go to Kroger for that stuff. :D

Anyway my main point is...if you have some notion that growing edible, and especially sugary, things in your yard is a no brainer and you'll be able to wander out and pick things when you feel like it, think again!
I understand your concern about the wild animals but they also have access to what I am wanting to plant in nature as well so they wouldn't be dependent on human food anyways becasue they already have access to that food.
 
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Abonnen, think about this. The wild animals will go for what is easiest--an orchard of fruits, a grape arbor, a vegetable garden. They have access to what you want to plant in nature, but you will be planting it in groups which makes it much easier for deer, raccoons, possums, etc. to forage.
We have grapes, and get about half the harvest because mockingbirds and other birds really like grapes, too! We have several vegetable gardens and share with wildlife--possums just love squash, and raccoons will go for anything available, especially corn.
About those medicinal plants--be careful. Some are medicinal in small amounts but can make you very sick in larger amounts. Belladonna, foxglove, echinea or coneflower, are all plants you need to be careful when using.

I recently seen a show that showed how to plant a natural garden, Be wary of these shows. Many of the hosts or "experts" are just reading a script and parroting what they are told. Read up on what is native to your area, read up on what the plants need and what they attract, and then plan and plant your natural garden.
 
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Abonnen, think about this. The wild animals will go for what is easiest--an orchard of fruits, a grape arbor, a vegetable garden. They have access to what you want to plant in nature, but you will be planting it in groups which makes it much easier for deer, raccoons, possums, etc. to forage.
We have grapes, and get about half the harvest because mockingbirds and other birds really like grapes, too! We have several vegetable gardens and share with wildlife--possums just love squash, and raccoons will go for anything available, especially corn.
About those medicinal plants--be careful. Some are medicinal in small amounts but can make you very sick in larger amounts. Belladonna, foxglove, echinea or coneflower, are all plants you need to be careful when using.

I recently seen a show that showed how to plant a natural garden, Be wary of these shows. Many of the hosts or "experts" are just reading a script and parroting what they are told. Read up on what is native to your area, read up on what the plants need and what they attract, and then plan and plant your natural garden.
I really don't think my garden will be the easier then the natural trail near my town or the pastures of corn, it will be in a fenced in yard, yes they can jump fences but as a hunter I am well versed on how wild animals act and I am not concerned about that in the littlest, any garden literally any garden could be subjected to wildlife getting into it. Thank you for your concern, but I am verse in the medicinal plants I am wanting. Again thank you for your concern and input.
 
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Thank you for every ones input, I was just curious if anyone had done this before, I feel like this is getting off topic a bit, I understand wildlife could get into the garden but they can get into any garden. I was thinking about doing this garden becasue I wanted stuff that naturally grow in my region that I love, I love to forage and was curious if anyone has turned that type of plants into a garden and how they did it and how the plants benefited off the other plants planted near them. Again thank you for your input, I think I am just going to experiment next year and see if it can be done and how the garden produces.
 
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Sorry I didn't mean to hijack your thread with my comments about gardens and wildlife! You obviously know what you're dealing with, so consider my commentary as directed to random people who stumble on this thread online.

And I hope you post updates. :)
 
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Sorry I didn't mean to hijack your thread with my comments about gardens and wildlife! You obviously know what you're dealing with, so consider my commentary as directed to random people who stumble on this thread online.

And I hope you post updates. :)
You weren't hijacking, I do understand why people are concerned about wildlife, I am also concern about wildlife preservation also. I will post updates if I can figure out the best way to do it, if I can't ill just go back to foraging. :)
 
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:)
And I should add that the house that had fruit trees attracted large numbers of deer when we moved in. Except we moved in with three Rottweilers.:eek: ;) So even though there were fences and thankfully no interactions, the deer shortly crossed our property off our dining list. I think just the scent and presence of the dogs made the deer stay away.
 
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I recently seen a show that showed how to plant a natural garden, the plants where not planted in rows but along sides of plants that it would benefit being next to. It was very interesting, the garden also look then a huge weed/overgrown forest patch but kind of in a whimsical way. Has anyone ever done this? I am interested in doing it, and if you have did it work well for you?
Just saw this, yes, date police I see it was from 2016. I would say, all my garden is "natural" I dislike the row look, unless its to dress the sides of curvy paths. My gardens are not always perfectly weeded, however, I have very few tough type weeds. and not all are perfectly mulched every year. With a natural garden, many plants are re-seeders, therefore mulching will hurt that process of getting a nice drift of something. It does take time. and always to pay attention of babies perking out from last year re-seeding not to pull them. Although not all my garden area are re-seeders, that would drive me nuts. So some are softer shrubs and larger plants that don't need much attention. Have to have balanced areas for the sake of the human.

In all this topic could be another good one to wake up. we do have some new folks here.
 
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You could go for marigold, lavender (bee magnet), rosemary (fragrant ingredient for roasted chicken), echinacea, scented flowers which are supposed to ease anxiety and migraine ( saw it in Kent country show I think).
 

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