Earlier this week my wife took her cat to the vet. As soon as he arrives, they put him in a harness (straight jacket) so he can't claw their faces off. This would happen, and has happened.
The receptionist noticed my wife's name and asked if her's was the garden she saw pictures of in the paper a month or two ago. Well, yes, sort of. She asked my wife if I spent a lot of time in the garden, if it was a lot of work. If I was there, I would have fallen over laughing. Then told her to hire me.
No one believes me when I say I hardly do anything in my garden anymore--except swoon over it. Sure, I go out everyday and putz around, and I suppose if I wanted I could trim and tidy until I was blue in the face.
In March of this year I dragged out spring cleanup a whole week--cutting down hundreds of perennials by hand and using them as mulch. I also went to the city dump several times to get free compost, which I dusted over the garden and some of the lawn.
That's all I've done. I did just water the garden for the first time this year a few days ago--we haven't seen a good rain in a month. That watering was more for the new plants I put in this spring. The established plants all look good. And as an aside, I have a penchant for tall perennials and thick planting (plants will then support each other above and below the soil). I think this is serving me well. Hardly any sun makes it through to the soil, thus I have pretty much no weeds, and under the plants the soil is still moist an inch down, whereas in open areas it's the usual August dry.
So, don't be like this monarch butterfly and run yourself ragged:
Plant tall, plant thick, plant the right thing for the right place, and then mulch. You'll look more like this tiger swallowtail: