I have long admired beautiful gardens and those with a knack for creating those enchanting spaces. I remember a childhood friend's mother who was quite the gardener. I always think of her when I see Marigolds. Although I have dabbled in dirt I still consider myself a novice gardener. A number of years ago my friend Erin, brother Eric and I went to the garden show in San Francisco. It was so inspiring that we decided on the spot that we should start a gardening club! Eric immediately named himself President. We never did start that club.
This is the 2nd spring in our new home. Last year we built raised beds where I planted mostly vegetables I started from seed. I was disappointed in my tomato harvest so I didn't go the seed route this year. I will revisit the "starting from seed" thing again but, this year I am buying plants already started. We have built a picket fence around the beds for aesthetics and to keep certain animals out (my dog and possibly some baby doll sheep but, we still need to check into that) and we plan on laying brick around the beds.
There are a lot of things to take into account that make gardening more challenging for me than decorating the inside of the house. Sun exposure, soil conditions, climate zones, not to mention size of these sprouts when they are all grown up! I have devoted one bed to flowers. For some reason I find growing flowers more intimidating than vegetables. I think it is because vegetables, although beautiful in their own right, aren't necessarily grown for the beauty you expect from a flower garden. My approach to the flower bed is going to be one of experimentation. Part science, part design, I am choosing plants I think will work out and ones I am curious about. It is a work in progress, adding new finds from my frequent trips to the nursery. If you are intimidated by gardening I invite you to follow along with an experiment of your own. It doesn't have to be large, you could try some container planting to start. If you are an experienced gardener I welcome your tips and insight.
Here are some tips I suggest and plan to do myself-
- Don't overwhelm yourself. If you go to the nursery and can only decide on 1 or 2 plants that's OK. You can always add but, at least you've taken a step.
- Start with a manageable project and (I mean this in the nicest way) maybe don't make it a focal point if there is the chance that it will mess with your confidence.
- Have some resource books or look online for info on the types and care of plants that interest you. Pictures are helpful to see what to expect when mature. Also, don't be afraid to ask the nursery staff for help and recommendations.
- Record your efforts. Start a garden journal and calendar. This is something I have not done yet, but will do starting now. It can be as simple as printing out info/photo about the plants you have chosen and making notes right there. I always think I will remember what I planted, how it grew and even what future maintenance it will need but, I don't. Just the other day I pulled up what I thought were dead plants and then realized they were the Dahlia bulbs from last year. Oops!
- Relax and enjoy! It is an experiment not a test and you don't get graded, only rewarded with beauty and confidence.