Gardening with ADD


Many of us avoid gardening. Too many

times, we plant the most beautiful rose bushes, only to have them get blight and

die when we forget about them for a month or so. Our neat geometric garden

designs get holes when a few of the flowers in the pattern die. Our neighbors

start to make comments…..

Done right, gardening can be an ideal

hobby for women with ADHD. After a long day’s work, it feels great to get

outside with a mattock and dig up dirt. It’s a good adult excuse for getting

muddy. If you are the type who impulsively blows up at people, fresh flowers

make a great apology gift. Bringing fresh, blooming flowers to the office, and

arranging them, can provide a centering experience at the beginning of each day.

Darwinian Gardening: Like everything

else, gardening works best if you know yourself. If you are aware that you tend

to be disorganized and inattentive, plan a garden that can accommodate this.

Choose flowers that can survive a little abuse and neglect. If a flower can’t

live where you planted it, it didn’t belong in your garden anyway.

Get to know a couple of the gardening

experts at your local plant nursery. You may be surprised to find that some of

the most beautiful and unusual plants are the hardiest. For example, bleeding

hearts (Dicentra spectablis) make a unique border. Brightly colored German

bearded irises (Iris germanica) are a hardy and fast-spreading flower. Roman

chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) makes for a great ground cover and blooms with

daisy-like flowers that can also be made into tea. See end of article for more

easy-to-grow plants.

Tips for the

Inattentive Gardener

  • Avoid geometric designs and

    topiaries. Any mistake, weed or dying plant will show up. 


  • Use an electric drill with

    an auger attachment to drill bulb holes. You can do hundreds in a

    couple of hours.


  • Naturalize. Plant crocuses

    randomly in your lawn, and daffodils at the edge of your yard. They

    will return year after year with little extra work. 


  • Plant things that are

    native to your area. Nature intended them to be there, and nature

    will help you keep them alive. Now your garden is full of “native

    plants” not weeds.


  • Consider irises, daylilies

    and hellebores. Some forms of irises and daylilies will repeatedly

    bloom throughout the season.  These plants can often tolerate

    extended neglect.


  • Plant flowers more randomly

    instead of grouping them. Yes, this violates standard gardening

    principles. However, if you do this, and put your plants close

    together, no one can tell if a few weeds are present.


  • Some weeds have nice

    flowers too.


  • Planting from seed can be

    tricky. It is easy to forget what you have planted. Sunflowers are

    an exception. They are large, dramatic and easy to grow. They are

    great to plant over things that have died or have just finished

    blooming for the season. 


  • Make the garden a family

    task. If you have the type of garden that requires less weeding and

    fussing, the kids are more likely to be enthusiastic. 


  • If the kids are to help,

    avoid some of the more toxic sprays and herbicides. Using corn

    gluten on your garden as a pre-emergent weed killer may avoid the

    use of more toxic sprays. Horticultural/castor oil can help control

    moles and several varieties of insects. Pepper Wax, capsaicin, found

    in hot peppers, repels insects.


  • Consider the use of

    landscape fabric and mulch when you plant your garden this will cut

    down on the need for weeding.


  • Spraying plants with

    Miracle Grow, diluted with water, can bring many plants back from

    the brink of death.


  • Benches and all-weather

    sculptures can beautify your garden and they will not ever die.


  • Use your periodic bursts of

    energy to do the regular maintenance tasks such as fertilizing and

    mulching. These tasks don’t always have to be done when everybody

    else does them. 




easy-to-grow plants

Consider the

following plants for your garden: Perennial lilies (including

daylilies (Hemerocallis) toad lilies (Tricyrris hirta) and Asian

lilies. Lilies are beautiful, sometimes reblooming and require

little maintenance. Hostas are a great way to fill in shady

borders quickly with large, vibrantly green foliage. Musk

Mallow, also called hardy hibiscus, have large, dramatic flowers

in a variety of colors from blue to white to fiery red. Peonies

produce large, dramatic flowers in the spring. They grow quickly

and the roots can be easily divided so that you have multiple

plants. Periwinkle (Vinca minor) is a rapidly growing, low

maintenance ground cover for shady areas.


December 2004

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