I am going to be overseas for a year from this summer, and my partner will be joining me from next February. We'll have a house sitter, but I don't hold out too many hopes of finding someone who is a wonderful gardener (as well as wonderful with cats, perfectly tidy, and all the other things we are hoping for!). I think that mowing the lawn and pulling up the odd dandelion is probably as much as I can ask. So I really need to think about ways to put my garden to sleep for a year - or at least minimise the damage we have to undo when we get back.
Ideally I would get a gardener to come in for a couple of hours once a fortnight or so but the finances may preclude it.
Assuming that the gardener doesn't happen, my main question is around some sunny flowerbeds where we grow veg every year - I don't want to leave them empty all summer. Any suggestions as to what we could put in easily and cheaply before February, which would just take care of itself until the autumn, without taking over the garden (and maybe help the soil)? I was wondering about one of the natural nitrogen fixers like Comfrey but I've heard it's impossible to eradicate?
I don't think there's anything much I can do about the rest of the garden, except hope that the groundcover I've planted does its job of suppressing as many weeds as possible! But any tips would be much appreciated. I've put so much work into the garden that I will be heartbroken if I have to start again.