How to Deal With an Old Overgrown Garden Full of Heirloom Plants

by Alex ThatcherMay 15, 2017

Regaining Control of an Overgrown Heirloom Garden

Winter can certainly wreak yearly havoc on even the most resilient of our plants. Summer’s blooming trellises fall into disarray, and fall’s sturdy vines wither under the harsh winds and cool temperatures in the early months of the year.

While your garden might seem irreparably chaotic, now is actually the perfect time to wrangle your overgrown plants and restore order in your garden for the coming season. Whether you’re priming your home for a summer listing, or you’re tending to long-neglected heirloom plants, here are the best ways to restore your overgrown garden to its former glory.

Understanding Your Heirloom Plants

Heirloom plants are often the most overgrown parts of a garden. This comes as no surprise to those familiar with heirlooms. For those with less experience, an heirloom plant is any form of vegetation that was grown in an earlier era and that is open-pollinated.

Heirloom plants are passed down, and according to Seed Savers Exchange, they carry a “generational history of preserving and passing on the seed.” While heirlooms carry a historical connection to food production and gardening, their open-pollination qualities can lead to out-of-control gardens if the plants don’t receive the yearly and seasonal attention they deserve.

Finding the Good Bones

If you find that overgrown landscape beds and garden plots are in disrepair, start the journey from chaos to order by “finding the good bones.” To recover an overgrown heirloom garden, begin by sifting through your plants to classify any new, emerging heirlooms and to identify any plants that have under-performed.

While it can be tough to say goodbye to newly budding sprouts and roots, focus on the heirloom plants that thrive in your home garden. Once you have removed the heirloom plants you no longer want in your garden, you can focus on rejuvenating the remainder of the plants.

Create a Clean Garden Edge

After you’ve removed superfluous plants, tame your overgrown garden by redefining the edges. Often overlooked, edging is essential in creating well-kept gardens. By delineating which space is yard, verses which space is garden, you reduce the visual clutter of your yard.

Without edging, heirloom gardens can get lost in your lawn and resemble a floating array of chaos; with edging, your planting spaces appear intentional and organized.

Protect Your Heirloom Plants With Mulching

A step beyond edging, mulching not only adds to the aesthetics of an heirloom garden, but it also helps with controlling weeds. Once pruned and weeded, add mulch to your heirloom garden to improve water retention and to suppress weed growth.

Mulching is a great asset to any heirloom garden, as its practical benefits are amplified by the strong visual appeal of dark mulch against the vibrant leaves of heirloom plants.

Final Steps for Creating a Streamlined Garden

Recovering an overgrown heirloom garden is a daunting process – we get that. But with hard work, patience, and these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating an organized garden space that can thrive in the growing season ahead. Creating the lush heirloom garden of your dreams takes time, even multiple seasons, but the payoff is always worth it.
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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.