Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beginner's Guide to Gardening

Close up of a plant

Get Growing

So, it's garden time. Your outdoor space is cleared out, cleaned up, and ready to be planted.
And whether you're taking on larger endeavors or simply planting containers for the patio, it's important to do your homework and really know your outdoor area before getting started.
With the following to-do list (don't worry, it will be easy!), you'll be fully prepared to take on shopping for and planting your garden with confidence and style.

image of a nursery

Guide to a Nursery

Garden nurseries can be a bit overwhelming when you visit for the first time. There are so many beautiful plants to choose from, how do you know what's best for your home?
Lydia Pursell, owner of Leaf 'N Petal, says, "The best customer is a prepared customer."
What to Do Before:
• Know the dimensions of the area (or container) you're planting.
• Take pictures of your space to help choose plants and containers.
• Study your beds to see how much light they get during the day.

garden containers

Choosing Containers

Even if you're lacking outdoor acreage, container gardens are easy to incorporate into many spaces -- including porches, decks, and even front entries.
There are a wide variety of containers on the market, making it easier to choose a color, size, and style to fit your home's look and add outdoor appeal.

close up of a garden gnome

Garden Art

From whimsical garden gnomes to adorned stakes, garden art is back and bigger than ever.
The rule to choosing garden art is that there is no rule! Simply pick and choose pieces that you love, and then let your personal creativity and style shine through in your selections.

fragrant plants

Engaging Your Senses

Take a cue from your kindergarten days and remember the five senses when planting your garden. (If you need a refresher course, they're touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.)
By incorporating all of these, your garden or outdoor room will feel completely relaxing, whether you're enjoying a good book alone or entertaining guests at a weekend gathering.


Carefree Coreopsis

Tolerant from zones 3 through 11, there is coreopsis for just about every flower garden. Commonly called tickseed, this relative of the sunflower prospers in dry, sunny locations with poor soil, making it ideal for problem areas in the garden. Coreopsis makes an ideal centerpiece in containers surrounded by shorter trailing flowers.

Potted succulents

Succulent Success

A broad group of tough, drought-tolerant plants including sedum, aloe, agave, and cacti, succulents are the perfect plant for gardeners who forget to water. If planted in well-drained soil, they require only a sunny spot and occasional watering.
Potted heat-tolerant cactus and aloe beautify decks and patios in the summer before being brought inside for the winter. Not all succulents are warm-weather plants, however. Showy sedums, such as the popular 'Autumn Joy', are hardy from zones 3 to 10

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