(260) 687-9560 rocky@smokeysgardens.com

As a general rule, you can almost always get more favorable and productive results when you have a long-term plan for achieving a desired outcome. The same rule applies to garden designs and an annual investment of time and money in plants and flowers.

This is particularly significant with avid gardeners who typically spend over $500 and a few hundred hours of effort each growing season. Over a life span of 30 to 40 years of gardening, that’s a significant investment. A few simple strategies can go a long way towards achieving the most productive use of your time and money in search of your dream garden.

There are millions of serious gardeners contributing to a vibrant industry. The plant and flower growing industry will rake in a projected $15.5 billion in revenue this year.

Of course, landscaping is one of the best ways to boost home value. While an average landscape project costs $3,000 to $5,000, it increases home value by 5% to 10%.  However, one should not forget the maintenance cost of maintaining that beautiful landscape throughout the season, every season.

Whether you hire a professional landscaper or do it yourself, it is highly recommended that you have a game plan that reflects your long-term goals and the scope of dream gardens. We all have different expectations and differing levels of passion and commitment to creating and maintaining our home gardens. The more ambitious you are, the more demanding it becomes. All things considered, serious gardening demands much labor of love and a long-term commitment. It happens that I love to dream big and play big – always in pursuit of big dreams with a best in class philosophy in all things that matter.

To ensure that our family and friends enjoy the beauties of our creations, the need to invest only in low maintenance, self-sustaining gardens is crucial. With that in mind my wife and I built a two-acre private garden which we intend to enjoy for many years into our retirement with low maintenance and low annual investment.  

The goals for most do it yourself gardeners, with limited resources of time and budget, are simple – surround the property with beautiful gardens that come back every year with low investment for new plants and low maintenance, especially weed control. Once you have learned the secret, it is within the reach of every homeowner.

The secret is to build a series of gardens with a balanced selection of annuals and perennials. Pick one or two perennials as your foundation plants and allocate at least half of your budget for them every year, with the rest for other perennials and annuals.  Annuals are essential for most garden designs to create season-long stunning colors and structure, but they should never consume 100% of your budget.  

It pays to also invest in a fair share of perennials every year. With the right selections, they not only come back every year but continue to multiplly, contributing to a free supply line of plant materials of proven winners for future expansion. Over the years you will know how they perform and where they should be placed for your next garden project to give you the best color contrast for the entire season – from Spring through fall.

Hosta is the most popular perennial, with daylily in second place. For a variety of reasons, daylilies are my foundation plants. Almost all my gardens have a light to dominant representation of daylilies, blooming from mid-June through late September with an array of stunning colors.

A two-acre garden is gigantic, but you can build a smaller one using some of the same design principles. The picture above is an early stage of a 24’x24’ lot designed as a part of a larger circular garden. Notice that it is surrounded with daylilies and mulched pathways with plastic weed barriers. The center focal point is filled with about $20 worth of annuals flowers. 

All great gardens are a collection of many smaller gardens, with each incorporating a different theme. Generous pathways are provided to connect a series of smaller gardens that shape the landscape.  Colored mulch and rocks highlight the gardens’ shape with added structure to help the scenery pops out.

Once you get to know your plants, you will come to realize that there many viable plant selections for sunny and shaded areas. Hosta dominated this garden as the foundation plants.

Daylilies prefer full sun. So do roses. They are great companion plants complimenting one another throughout the bloom season.

We have daylilies everywhere, since they are our foundation plants. With little effort, we turned a dead tree strum into an interesting garden feature.

Oriental and Asiatic lilies are great companion plants for daylilies.

Hosta are excellent shad plants and the best-selling perennial plants.

80% of this garden is filled with Hosta and other perennials plants. The outer ring is populated with shade tolerant annuals. Some hanging plants and container plants are often added to enhance their beauty.

Bee balm, sedum, daylilies, and hosta are great for free-style garden design. They come back every year with low maintainence. If you cannot take care of them, you need some of your gardens to take care of themselves. Phlox, Hosta, sedum, and black-eyed Susan are among those perennials you can count on. Once established, they come back every year.

A selection of plants of different heights and color that contrast and complement each other is a good theme. The white daisy contrasts well with the taller red bee balm behind them. Each year, just add some colorful annuals in front.

Daylilies are the second most popular perennial plants but most owners are not aware of the immense selections available. There are over 90,000 registered cultivars or named varieties with over 15,000 available commerically. Smokey Gardens, is the largest daylily grower with a single focus on dayliles. It typically starts off the selling season in January with over 1,000 selections but that is often cut in half by May as available inventories are sold out.  

The Pink Valentines shown here are among many hybrids we created. After three years they become sufficiently established to be almost maintenance free. They can survive a long period of draught with little to no watering.

DNotes is among my favorite creations. It is named after digital currency “DNotes” I co-founded in 2014.

NextGenHERo is another one of my favorites, named in honor of HERo – a global hub dedicated to women and women organizations to network, collaborate, and help one another.  

Although not a common practice, daylilies are excellent for flower arrangement for special occasions during the bloom season. They are best for the day, with guaranteed wow factors.

Key Take Aways:

  • Have a long-term plan to make your investment of money and time most productive.
  • Balance your annual spending with an overweight on perennials but no more than 50% allocation on annuals.
  • Pick one or two foundations plants that best fit your situation – full sun, partial shade, colors, heights, and bloom time. Continue to add to your selections each year and multiply them to create a supply line for new garden expansion.
  • Hosta is the most popular perennial and grow best in partial shade.
  • Daylily is the second most popular and my top choice. I have access to a very large selection of daylilies from Smokeys Gardens, including some of my own creations. They grow well in full sun and partial shade, with an array of stunning colors, sizes, heights, and bloom times.
  • Always design your gardens for low maintenance. Use plastic weed barriers to the maximum practical and mulch over it.
  • Rocks and different colored mulch are excellent materials to use to define the shape of the gardens and pathways joining a series of smaller gardens.
  • Fill in 80% or more of every garden with perennials with no more than 20% annuals, most commonly along the outermost ring. This can save you an immense amount of time and money so that you can have time to enjoy your gardens and opportunities to expand.

About Alan Yong:

Alan Yong is an author, well regarded technology visionary, and co-founder of Smokeys Gardens, DNotes, DNotes Global, DNotesVault, DCEBrief, and HERo. He has been a frequent radio podcast guest covering digital currencies and his book “Improve Your Odds – The Four Pillars of Business Success”.  Alan is featured as one of NLTV’s documentary “Blockchain SuperStars”. He has many published articles that appeared in a broad spectrum of publications giving him a large Internet footprint. Alan is also the creator of Dauphin DTR, the most innovative tablet computer of its time in the early 1990s.

Alan is an avid gardener, and a passionate speaker committed to DNotes’ vision of an inclusive trusted digital currency to gain mass adoption. He has been spending the last 6 years assisting and mentoring a global team in building a fully integrated ecosystem that serves as the center piece in bridging our centralized systems with the new decentralized world.

His most recent global project is HERo – a global hub for women and women organizations to network, collaborate and help one another –  empowered to advance gender parity.

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