How Does Your Garden Grow?

A great garden is the ultimate mood lifter. It’s a place to plant some seeds, watch them grow, and relax among the rewards. With spring weather in bloom, the prime season for quality gardening has arrived. Whether you have a sprawling backyard, a slice of green space, or a small patio area, a few simple tips can help sharpen your gardening game and maximize the fruits of your labor. After all, the more love you show your garden, the more it will love you back. 

Think About Design

The best gardens create visual interest with structural plants that punctuate a landscape of smaller, flowering ones. Evergreen shrubs like box tails, mahonia and juniper, tall grasses, and phormiums make excellent borders, while lower beds of lavender or star jasmine work well for defining seating areas and walkways (and smell nice too). These hearty plants are easy to maintain and ensure your garden remains green all year long. 

Veg Out

The first rule of vegetable gardening is to plant what you like, whether crunchy kale or chocolate mint. Next, space your crops of choice accordingly. Plants like sweet corn, cabbage, leafy herbs, and cauliflower require wide rows and sufficient space to develop. Root crops like carrots, beets and onions will be happiest planted in multiple narrow rows. Planting edible crops in wooden raised beds is a great option, allowing you to control soil quality and spend less time digging and weeding. 

Go Vertical

Incorporating climbing plants along your fences and railings is a great way to maximize space. Self-clinging ivy varieties can pull themselves up, whereas roses, wisteria and honeysuckle will need an assist from a wire or trellis. Going skyward also works for many fruits and veggies, allowing extra light and reducing disease. Try it with pea tendrils, tomatoes, grapes, and cucumbers, which grab on easily and don’t require heavy support systems.  

Consider Containers

Containers let you garden anywhere, even a balcony, courtyard, or windowsill. They also broaden your plant options, especially in smaller spaces or areas with questionable soil. For instance, olive and bay trees, citrus, and flowering petunias, pansies and geraniums can all thrive in containers. Herbs like thyme, oregano, chives, mint, and parsley are convenient to grow in little pots or together in one herbal spread. Remember to add drainage holes and line the bottom with small stones or broken pottery pieces, which prevents soggy soil from damaging plant roots. 

Bring in the Bugs

You might not like bugs, but your garden loves them. Insect habitats attract essential pollinators, and ladybugs, lacewings and beetles help keep bad pests out. Bright hues attract butterflies, and bees love purple, yellow, and blue plants most. A bug hotel made from an old birdhouse filled with items such as rolled cardboard, pinecones, and bricks is a perfect insect retreat. Leave it in a corner that stays a bit wild and overgrown and listen for the peaceful sounds of buzzing. 

So, how will you choose to make your garden grow?

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Written by Nicole Paskowsky

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