This is a little blog post on my 5 things I wish I knew about gardening. Now gardening is learning curve. So I don’t regret anything except not looking after my garden 6 years ago and watching some plants die out when all it would have taken was a bit of watering and care. A garden is a personal thing, some people are naturals and others, like me, just have to learn as we go.
1. You are going to make mistakes. You will get to know your garden over time there is no race when it comes to gardening. Your plants will Shady spots and which way your garden faces. You can follow the instructions on a plant but it will still shrivel and die infront of you. Over watering and over feeding is just as bad as neglect. But you will make mistakes and you will always learn from them.
Things to be wary about is highly poisonous plants, lots of them are! The thing is it’s easy to be super cautious with your dog as they tend to stay in your garden but cats travel everywhere, so if your neighbours have foxgloves then you cat may go in there. It’s about finding a balance.
2. Plastic is fantastic. Okay this is what I have learned all my eco recycled pots never worked. No seeds, mold…… a waste, luckily they could go straight into the compost bin but honestly don’t waiste your money. When you buy plants they come in plastic containers, keep them reuse them, use them a hundred times this way they stay out of the dump they are great. If you can’t afford terracotta pots make sure the plastic ones have holes in the bottom or you will drown what ever you plant! Even though I prefer to use materials that are better for the environment when it comes to seedlings plastic is fantastic.
3. Frost is bad, sun is good, rain is great and drainage is so important. I monitor the weather especially coming out of winter. The frosts can be a nightmare and when I was planting it kept threatening to freeze so left the gardening later and later. Then June happed, the sun came out and my garden rushed ahead! So tip number 3 is that it’s important to watch the weather but understand that plants can come back. They can choose not to flower one year and then come back in abundance the next. So don’t be too precious with your garden.
4. Your garden is different from everyone’s, your soil, light, etc. Plants and flowers like sun and shade you learn what likes what. Hydrangeas don’t like full sun, dahlias love it and wisteria is a naughty vine that you need to keep on top of. Pruning needs to happen and don’t be too shy. Roses, shrubs, most plant love a good prune just wait till after they have flowered. The best time to prune is late winter so all the growth can focus on the leaves and roots and early spring just before growth begins. Also you don’t have to dead head flowers but some say it encourages growth. Dahlias will spring up more flowers the more you cut.
I had a really pretty jasmine at the front of the house. It doed about 8 months later. Jasmine likes a lot of water and I neglected her. Also our box hedge got attacked by a moth blight and we lost that as well. You just learn to accept that with gardening.
5. You are going to have to learn to cope with bugs.. the good the bad and the ugly. I am terrible with bugs, I just can’t kill them. so if I find a big fat snail I just pop him over the fence. I know he will just crawl back but I can’t bear to hurt them. And just before you are worried I meant my neighbour fence I don’t I meant our back fence that leads onto the railway. Bugs are going to be apart of gardening. Although I am not afraid of spiders I do get some scary jumpy looking ones. I just squeal and get on with it! If you don’t like them then cover up and wear gloves. Spiders crawling across your back or bees landing on your shoulder may not be to everyone’s taste but there is a balance in nature.
I am still learning, I am still making mistakes and I am looking forward to watching my garden grow. We have a dog so I don’t use pesticides at all. I am currently learning about companion planting were companion plants acts as natural pesticides, it’s fascinating. I do use plant food but it’s completely pet safe. You need to consider things when planting a garden.
Don’t be hard on yourself, google each plant you buy to find out what soil they like and how much sun. Water regularly but try not to over water!
But most importantly have fun! Grow what you love!