Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:58 pm
Location: Ohio

Salvaging Overgrown Gardens

Hopefully I'm posted this in the right spot....I've had a bit of experience with these things...but not on the topic of gardening!

After my grandma passed away almost ten years ago, my family got the house...and the gardens. She was an avid gardener, but we are not. We've attempted to care for them the best we could, but a landscaper friend commented that they are so extensive it would require a full-time person to take care of them. Not knowing most of the plants or their care has resulted in multiple casualties (....we did cheer for some....especially a yew by the back patio...!) and some things growing that we later realized shouldn't be...poison ivy. There's at least 10 beds that are about 50X8'...some slightly bigger or smaller, and various smaller ones...

We're to the point where we are ready to do what we want and I'm very motivated to get everything cleaned up as I'm to be running my ("Dog training" to put it simply) business on the property. What's the best way to clear out these beds and go about replanting them with something easy to maintain and looks nie.

I feel bad about killing plants of value....for example there are just -PILES- and -PILES- of daffodils...what do I do? I know the bulbs can be dug up after blooming/turning brown... should I do that? But then what?... What about other plants? I'm fairly certain that there's some trillium (I think endangered or protected here in ohio?) that she replanted elsewhere from the property...

THere's one type of plant in particular that I hate...1/2" by 1 1/2" roundish shiny will climb up trees, the house, and anything it can...the branches? vines? get very thick....2+" across...and we've literally had to use a chain saw to kill some climbing a phone pole thing... It's everywhere and so hard to kill... I'll have to get a picture...

There's so much stuff that it's overwhelming, plus I don't have much of a clue about what I'm doing, what I'm killing and all that. Any suggestions? I know I've put a lot in here and sound hopeless!


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

My advice to you is to manage this property the way it will work for you. Don't feel bad about having to get rid of plants that you don't have time to care for. If you want to dig up the daff bulbs or any other you find, that would be a money saver for the future.

Just get together with your family and spend a few hours each weekend digging out the plants and creating a compost pile with any debris you don't want to keep.

Use some shredded newspaper and a brown and all the plant scraps as the greens and alternate layers. This will be your fertilzer for the future.

And then just clear the beds away and plant some perennials that are easy to care for. I like Rhodos, Daylillies, Lillies and so on. Take a walk at your local nurseries and talk with the long term staff. Also, drop by our site and see what others have to say for advice.

Personally, I really like trees because they are easy to care for. I especially like fruit trees because you recieve a bonus gift from them as well. However, keep in mind your space allocation when buying or caring for a fruit tree. If you don't have much space, plant a dwarf or semi dwarf tree. Standard trees will reach a height of 40 feet or more so, only plant them in space that is very large.

Senior Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:14 am
Location: Piedmont Area, Northern NJ

Hi Bigdogs, I'm new to this forum but have a little experience gardening with dogs -paths and fencing are my solutions.
It sounds like you would really like to save some of the plants. Is there a local or state garden club? Our local garden club does have a few volunteers who will go to a persons house and offer advice. They might want some of the plants for their spring plant sale or other members. You'll have to wait for spring though since they'll need to see what you have. Is there a plant list or diagram of what plants are in the beds?
As for the Trillium is there a native plant society in Ohio you can contact? They would be interested in the natives you have and might dig them up for you since you will be removing them.

Daffodils are easy to remove with a pitchfork- less chance of damaging the bulb. If they are dormant you could store them for awhile in a cool dark place. If they are starting to grow pot them up until you decide where they should go.

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:54 am
Location: Michigan


I'm new to this forum also and I agree with NJT. There should be a garden club in your area or a University you can call that would love the plants and you would get then get the advice you need. They would probably even come and dig up the plants, also. I think the spring plant sale is a great one too. If the price is right and it's in the paper so gardeners are prepared, they will do the work for long as nothing is protected.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2036
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:58 pm
Location: Michigan--LP(troll)

Hopefully I'm not too late to add my two cents. (Who took the "cents" sign off my keyboard?) Anyway, stuff like poison ivy, other noxious weeds should not go on the compost pile, nor should they be burned! If you inhale the smoke you could find yourself on the wrong side of the emergency room! IMO it's best to kill that stuff w/a strong herbicide. I may get pounded for that, but poison ivy is too nasty for me!

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