Even though my daughter is suffering through her umpteemth snowfall this week (sorry VT), it is spring here and in other parts of the country so I want to talk about gardening basics and offer a few bits of advice. I also have a few websites that you might enjoy. So, in no particular order...
1. PACE yourself. This applies year 'round, but is most important now, when we aren't in our best gardening shape. If I had followed my own advice I would not have mowed all of the lawn at once (first time this year), and had sore legs and arms for two days. LOL I usually work for about 30 minutes each evening. I try to alternate between lifting, reaching, hoeing, shoveling, pruning, bending, etc.
2. Do it this year. If there is something you really want to do, start now. Don't wait for the perfect time or more money or better weather, or whatever. Just do a little bit this year. Want more shade in your yard, but can't afford to buy ten-gallon trees? Buy one small one this year. You'll at least be started on your dream. Want a 5x10 island flowerbed, but don't think you have the time and energy for it this year? Start with 3x3 this year and expand a little each year. Sounds silly and it may even look silly for the first year, but you will feel better because you are working on your "master plan".
3. Don't buy annual bedding plants if you can start them from seed. Buy perennials. They will return each year, often multiply, and will save you time, money, and energy.
4. Plant what makes you happy. I wrote an article about garden style and everyone has their own. Don't try to copy something in a magazine if it's going to require too much maintenance.
5. Don't just work in your garden. Stroll in it. Sit in it. Wander, ponder, and dawdle. What good is all that hard work if you don't take the time to just enjoy?
6. Strive for balance. This applies to color, height, shapes, types of plants. Stand back and look at your garden from a distance. Better yet, take pictures. Sometimes the addition of a white flower, or one taller plant, or a clump of variegated grass will do it's magic and bring out the best in everything around it.
7. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Having daisies in three different beds gives my garden a sense of continuance and unity. If you have drifts of flowers here and there it makes your yard seem larger.
8. Nature hates a straight line. Try to curve the edges of beds and paths. Even if you have some straight edging, and we all do, soften the edges by letting some ground cover drift over.
9. Make your plants happy. Pay attention to plant labels and don't ask a sun-loving plant to sit in the shade. Many plants will adapt to less-than-ideal conditions, but they will always perform best in their most natural environment. Read Perfect Plant, Perfect Place for more advice.
10. Be generous. Share your plants, advice, seeds, even your time and energy with other gardeners. You'll always be happier it you do.
There are lots of gardening groups and forums and blogs. I read Gardening Gone Wild and there is a list of at least a dozen other blogs on that one. Just don't get carried away and forget to actually work in the garden!
So, get out there today and do something. If you want specific plant advice or any other information, send me an email. I'll try to help.