By MG Calla Victoria
Along with all of your other New Year’s resolutions, you should resolve to have an amazing garden in 2015. Winter is the best time to survey the bones of your garden, with many of the leaves gone you can really see all of your garden.
If you have been gardening for a couple of years now you should know which parts of your garden have the driest soil, which plants are thirsty, which ones are drought tolerant, etc. Use that knowledge and plan you garden accordingly. In areas of your garden where the ground stays very dry plant your cacti, roses, Wandering Jews, and other plant material that do not require much water. As opposed to irrigating those dry places, let the dry spaces stay dry, save on your water bill, and put drought-tolerant plants in dry places. If you have a pond or low-lying areas in your garden where water collects place your bog plants (love water /like wet feet) there. Supertunias, sunflowers, most varieties of elephant ears, and king Tut papyrus are heavy feeders and need lots of water, so plant them in the moist areas of your garden. If you do not have a moist area in your landscape but love those thirsty plants sprinkle some of the Miracle Gro potting soil around them. This potting soil holds a lot of moisture and will help to keep those thirsty plants hydrated without you having to water them every day.
A few points to consider:
- Have a plan for you garden design drawn out on paper-Layout your gardening plans on paper including pathways, and plant selections and locations.
- Prepare the soil and beds-Turn the soil, aerate the soil, and amend the soil with organic matter and compost.
- Plant selection-Do some online research on plants you wish to add to your landscape. Make sure the desired location where you want to place the plant offers exactly what that plant needs. If the plant requires full sun then make sure you are placing that plant in a full sun area of your garden. Also pay attention to the plant height and spread so that you are spacing properly and you are not placing the plant in an area where you will constantly have to trim it because it is too tall or wide for the space.
- Curb appeal-Along with your backyard, do not forget about the front of your home. The curb appeal is what people see as they approach your home from the street. It should look inviting and be complimentary to the front of your home.
- Year round beautiful garden-Include some evergreen shrubs to anchor your garden and will keep your garden looking great when the perennials have all died back.
- Statuary-Garden statues add additional charm and texture to your garden but do be careful not overdo it. In this case less is best.
- Family friendly areas-If you have small kids it is important to include some kid-friendly areas with open spaces, lawn, sand boxes, etc.
- Containers for containment-Select containers that compliment your home décor and use them to expand your planting area to control those invasive plants that we love like mint and bamboo.
- Cutting grass at 3 inches height-If you do have a lawn then have your yard guy keep his mower at the 3 inch level when mowing. At the three-inch height the blades of grass are long enough to photosynthesize which will allow your lawn to stay lush and green.
- Weekly maintenance-Set up a schedule of maintenance for your garden. Pull weeds on a specific day weekly, treat your garden with organic pesticides on a weekly basis.
- Vertical accents-Add interest and additional growing space by including vertical elements in your garden in the way of trellises, vertical planters, and climbing vines.
- Privacy-Create your own little garden paradise by screening out your neighbors. Jamie Durie, garden designer extraordinaire, says that you should be able to walk naked in your garden.
- Titillate the senses-Fragrance, sound, texture, and color are a must. Install fragrant plant material throughout your garden but especially at entrances to welcome everyone to the garden and near windows to perfume your home when the windows are open. Create sound in your garden with water features and rustling swaying foliage like sugarcane, and other tall grasses. Add texture with different kinds of foliage and statuary. Add pops of color with annuals.
- Lighting-Illuminate your horticultural treasures so that even when the sun goes down your garden looks fabulous! Solar outdoor lighting is the most economical way to go.
Check out my “Gardening Tip of the Week.”
This article appears in the January 17, 2015 issue of Data News Weekly.
Remember, never get too busy to stop and smell the beautiful flowers.