I am a new member.I have a new house in Camden Maine. I need landscaping from the ground up and do not know where to start. It has to be low maintenance. I Would like to have some fruit trees in the environment. I welcome any suggestions. Thank you
In general, fruit trees are NOT low maintenance. Several diseases and pests can overwinter on the branches and in the leaf litter which requires dormant oil spray, and then once fruit is set, worms, flies, wasps, rust, etc., can all become an issue. Poor weather and insufficent pollinators can result in imperfect or little fruit set. In addition, many fruit trees draw squirrels and deer to the yard (I've even seen mice climb the branches of trees to feast on apples), and once in your gardens, they do damage to ornamentals as well. I am considering removing my dwarf apple trees for that reason.
I hope this moves the thread along and that someone can give you more positive advice, at least as far as fruit trees go.
Both blueberries and raspberries are in my experience somewhat easier maintenance than fruit trees. You may need to cover them to keep the birds from eating the berries first. We have a frame of pipe up year-round and then cover the frame with netting when the berries need protection.
I would suggest that you get a subscription to the ME based magazine People, Places and Plants. They have advertising from many local nurseries and once a year have a listing of public gardens in New England and local garden tours organized by state. Each month they also have a listing of garden-related education and events. Visiting nurseries (many of which have demo gardens) and other public and private gardens will help you get ideas for plants and layouts that you like.
Before you begin your garden you may want to live in your house for a while and see how you want to use your space, where there's sun and shade at different seasons, where it tends to be wetter or drier,etc. In the meanwhile you can work on improving your soil. There may be a municipal composting facility or even just a place where people dump organic debris at the local 'dump' (we get woodchips left by the local utility crews clearing lines) or manure from local farmers. Turn this in in places you may want beds and plant annuals for the first year. Make a list of your wants and uses for your property; besides fruit, do you want flowers, veggies, grass, a place for kids to play, a patio, pool, pond . . . Look at what's already there: trees, patio, driveway, etc.
By this winter you'll probably have some ideas of what you like, want, and need and can ask some more specific questions that may get some more specific answers.
The one thing that I do that helps reduce maintenance in my garden is mulch all bare ground a couple inches thick. It reduces weeds and makes those that sprout easier to pull, reduces need for watering, adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil over time. I use a combination of compost that we make in bins out back, wood chips from the dump, and wood shavings from a local wood shop.
Good luck and welcome to Gardenweb! (Are you aware that there is a New England forum and a Maine forum as well?)
Here is a link that might be useful: People, Places, and Plants magazine