CREATIVE MULCHING

It is all too easy to be put off by the idea of garden maintenance. It is true that some essential tasks are neither interesting nor much fun, but this is not always so. The apparently dull task of mulching your soil can be an opportunity to think creatively and add a personal decorative touch to your garden.
Covering the bare soil of the garden with some kind of mulch (inorganic or organic matter that helps to conserve moisture and suppress weeds) is one of the most important labor-saving devices in the garden. The choice of materials is very wide: some are just attractive, while others, although less attractive, help to cut down the work invoked in weeding
and watering. Among the commonly used inorganic materials are pebbles, shells, gravel and sand, and black plastic (best covered with something more aesthetically pleasing). Among the best organic materials are bark chips, composted straw (not very attractive, but useful in the vegetable garden) and various animal waste and straw combination.
Any layer of mulch needs to be thick enough to help prevent weeds from germinating and moisture evaporating (normal about 3-4 in.), and those that are enough not to blow around last the longest. You can use more than one material to cover the surface, and interesting patterns can be created with different-sized gravel and pebbles.
Mulches are usually in position for a long time, if not indefinitely, so think about how the materials will affect the look of your garden. Inorganic materials can have a dramatic impact on the color scheme and feel, hook for unusual shapes and textures, such as sea shells, slate, or attractive pebbles, and choose colors to enhance your plants: slate-grays and blues
can look marvelous against bright green foliage, for example. You can also incorporate elements that have special relevance to you—such as stone from your local area. I he key is to achieve a look with which you are happy, and not to despair that your garden needs to be covered over. Let your creative side loose and your mulched beds can be beautiful.

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