Does this count as an experiment? Introducing myself. Kinda LONG
Uh, sorry, this became a monstrous long post! :-) Puff
I have 5 acres of yard I want to turn into pure garden environment using groundcovers, native plants, and some appropriate aggressive spreading plants- including a few weeds I actually find pretty. Don't worry, I am researching everything and avoiding the noxious weeds on my state's list as well as others that are suggested to be a problem for the ecosystem. I have a few plants I selected before I understood certain things, so I do have some ivy, myrtle, and other things that some gardeners might disapprove. I don't plan to get any more of those, but I am planning to keep hat I already have, for now.
I am definitely experimental in my approach- I get an idea, I try it, and then then I work around what works and doesn't. I don't plan a whole lot. I like to just get out there and look, and see what might come next.
Here are some examples of what I have done:
On a hill that was overgrown with wild raspberries, pruned them back to a couple of canes each, mulched with yard waste, and am hoping to have a kind of random, loosely organized set of raspberry bushes.
I have set myself up with a local tree trimmer to deliver his shredded scraps as often as he can. I am spreading newspaper and wood chips over large areas, and using them liberally around volunteer wildflower seedlings to create patches wherever the plants seem happy. So far this year, I have spread three large dump truck loads of chips, and am eager for more.
Since I don't know a whole lot about plants yet, I pick out all the volunteers from my lawn as they come up and move them to places where I think they might look good in groups. I am moving every healthy wild strawberry plant I can find to create a large patch of groundcover, and doing the same with a couple of other plants that look low-growing and happy.
I am contemplating creating a dandelion patch, or using dandelions as "groundcover' under the wild raspberries.
We have no neighbors for 1/2 mile in either direction on our side of the road, and only one neighbor directly across the street. We have all kinds of conditions, from black dirt, to sandy clay, to rocks, to heavy clay and hardpacked road dirt. allkinds of moisture, too, from very dry to boggy, to flooded. Most of it is full sun, though there are a few areas of partial shade. I love the challenge and the variety.
I want to water as little as possible, and use compost and mulch to improve the soil rater than chemical fertilizers. I also want to use natives wherever I can.
I am looking for suggestions and thoughts about some experiments and approaches. But, as I said, I am working large-scale and favor aggressive plants others find annoying. I'd really like some guidance and creative suggestions form experienced gardeners. My local gardening friend says my site has so much potential, and I want to try all kinds of things.
So my first question to you experienced garden experimenters is:
Given a LARGE varied area, what would YOU try??
PS- Hope I've picked the right forum, but I understand if maybe I don't get too many responses.