Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Gardening Tips

I like to consider myself an amateur gardener.

I have spent many years learning from my gardening mistakes.

Like not planting before April 15 or Easter. It is so frustrating when the gardening centers have all those beautiful flowers out, yet, there may be a chance of frost within the next month that will kill all of your flowers. So you can either do two things:

1. Chance it and if a frost does happen, have a creative answer when the neighbors ask why you have sheets all over your yard.
2. Plant them in pots, so that you can bring them inside if there is a chance for frost. 

I have experienced both. And, no I did not have a creative answer for my neighbors.   

This year to avoid sitting on my hands wanting to get everything planted, I have found something to do with my hands until that blessed April 15 date. This would be raking leaves, weeding, drawing out my landscape, making a list of flowers I want to add, starting seeds, getting my soil ready, adding mulch, planning and researching for future projects, and reading gardening magazines to get my fix of wanting to plant. This is enough to make you want that hour of sleep back!

{BTW: This month's Better Homes and Gardens is the garden issue and is fantastic. Not only does it have a variety of flowers, it also has a vegetable garden lay out that looks great.}

Now to the next tip:

It is best to water in the morning so that the plant leaves can dry before night time to prevent disease. I like to water right after I get back from my walk. It just makes the rest of your day easier knowing that your flowers have been watered and are not dying of thirst outside.

 {I am really excited about my automatic irrigation system! This well help save a least an hour a day which brings me to my next point.}

Talk about saving time ...

Sometimes you can wear yourself out working in your yard constantly. I am yearning to get to the point where my yard is almost maintenance free so that I can just enjoy my flowers. I have discovered that using perennials such as day lillies





and hostas

 are great and almost worry free. You just have to divide them every couple of years to produce more blooms.

{Dividing flowers is an awesome way to work out some frustrations! It also keeps you from buying lots of different flowers each year.}

Also, shrubs are fantastic and most are maintenance free. Just a little fertilizer in early spring and watering a couple of times a week, you are free to do whatever you want. Some of my favorites are


nandinas (they have a beautiful red color in the fall)


 and lorepetalum

 Most keep their color year long or at least bloom in Spring and Fall.

{I love Miracle Grow Shake Fertilizer. Makes fertilizing a lot easier.}

Annuals such as impatients, 

petunias (this is a double petunia)


 and begonias

 add great pops of color to your landscape. I just put these in hanging baskets and pots around the patio and front porch. It makes it easier to designate a specific place for annuals so that you can change them out seasonally.

Also, some annuals are really perennials. I have Gerber daises that bloom in both fall and spring. Petunias and impatients may also reseed themselves. So don't be so quick to jerk these out of your hanging baskets. You may want to find a corner of a flower bed and replant these just to see if they come back next year. If they do, free flowers for your hanging baskets!

This year, I discovered a nursery close to our home, and I love it. I feel that I am not only getting a little better quality, but also a lot more quantity. I have always been a Lowe's buying girl, especially with their 1 year warranty on their flowers; however, it doesn't help, though, if you forget where you put the receipt.

Dirt tip:

It really is best to use good quality soil. I never test my soil, but can often tell by the color and the way dirt feels if it is going to work. Usually, the darker the better. You can also had some things to get your soil to be better such as compost and mulch.

Also, potting soil is a lot better for your potted plants than regular soil. I often get the two confused when looking for dirt, and have been able to tell how my flowers act whether they got the right kind or not.

One more tip:

In the fall, to help maintain weed control, you can place a few sheets of newspapers in your flower beds and water them really good. The newspaper not only helps prevents weeds the next year, but also breaks down thus creating better soil. You may also want to throw mulch over the top for two reasons:

1. You don't want questions from your neighbors nor have them come over to "read" the paper
2. Mulch hides the paper as well as breaks down thus creating richer soil.

Some things that I am learning this year:
  • How to grow flowers from seed.
  • If Jiffy Greenhouses really do work or if I need to convince Ken that I need one of these.
  • If zinnias will grow from last years zinnia heads.
  • That I truly need to learn more about my plants
  • That you will be so glad that this garden celebration should be over this week.
  • You may get more tips as I think of them. It is for your own good!

 I am no way an expert gardener, but just enjoy (as you could see this week) working in my yard learning from mistakes as well as finding new ways to plant.

So, how does your garden grow?

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