Spring is finally in full bloom and the good weather is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already spent a few days basking in the sun, working on my spring cleanup, and getting ready to enjoy the outdoors.
Personally, I have quite a large garden. I don’t say that to brag, I just want you to know where I’m coming from. All in all I have just shy of ten flower and decorative plant beds and four large raised beds for vegetables and herbs. Needless to say, this time of year always means a lot of yard work is right around the corner. There is cleanup to be done, seeds to be sprouted, compost to be spread, seedlings to be planted, and so much more. It’s really a daunting task if I’m to take a step back and evaluate it all.
I realize though that with over three decades of gardening under my belt I have started to take certain things for granted. Younger gardeners often reach out to me with questions that, to me, seem to have quite obvious answers. For that reason I felt it might not hurt to give a quick run down of my gardening activities. For this article I’m going to focus on decorative gardens and landscaping.
Beautiful Landscaping Starts With A Vision
Before you get started digging and sweating, I really find that it’s important to have a concrete idea of what you’re working towards in mind. There have been so many times over the years where I’ve put a ton of effort into moving my garden a certain a certain way, only to find I’m not quite satisfied with how it looks or where it’s placed and end up doing all of the work over again.
If you’re brand new to this, I’d probably recommend following your favorite TV shows or writers on social media to get some inspiration. It’s amazing you can get from taking a look at some of the professionals’ gardening ideas and using them as the seeds for your own creativity. Of course, over time you’ll gain experience and have your own foundation to work with, and as you grow you’ll become more sophisticated and wise as to what will work best in any particular situation. Just think about your yard as a whole and how you would like it to look before you get started with any of the strenuous labor.
Place Your Plants in Order of Importance
With a vision in mind, it’s time for you to make it come to life. First things first though, you want to start by identifying and placing your largest and most important ornamental pieces first. The reason you do this is to ensure that you have space for everything once it has all been put in place. You can always move your flower beds around to conform with the balance of your landscaping, but moving larger species like trees and bushes can be much more challenging if not impossible without killing them.
Once you have your larger species in place, you can fill around as you see fit with smaller species. Keep in minds that some plants bloom at different times of the year than others, so you’ll want to try to group them by when they bloom. Over time you’ll have a pretty good handle on this and you can integrate your gardens such that something is blooming at pretty much any point in time.
When you’re all finished placing the plants you’ll want to cover up the ground with mulch and/or stones. This will not only look nice, but also keep weeds and stray species at bay.
Aside from ongoing watering, which is essential to maintaining a beautiful ornamental garden, there are a few things you’ll want to do to make sure that your plants and flowers are happy for years to come.
With these types of plants there is no need to shy away from the usage of fertilizers, at least in my opinion. Since you won’t be eating them I feel it’s best to give them all of the nutrients they need. If you’re a hardcore organic gardener you can even find some organic nutrients that will get the job done, though they may be quite a bit more expensive.
You’re also going to want to make sure that you keep your gardens thin and free of weeds. Weeding is something that needs to be taken care of quite regularly, as foreign plants will detract nutrients, water, and other resources from the soil that your prized plants would otherwise feast upon. I’d recommend weeding thoroughly on a monthly basis at the very least.
It may seem counterintuitive, but over time you’ll want to thin out your ornamentals as well. They will get large and bushy when treated well, but they can begin to crowd each other which will not only inhibit their growth and their appearance, but can even lead to mold development on the leaves – a problem that can escalate quickly if not taken care of. Believe it or not, plants are completely happy being trimmed back. They tend to grow back stronger than ever. As long as you don’t kill them, you won’t go wrong.
So there you have it, my primer on building a beautiful garden. Hopefully you can put some of these tips into action and have your garden blooming better than ever!