I am a new gardener with some questions. I bought a house and i
have gotten the gardening bug! Being cheap,lol....i'd like to know
what is the best way to start. Should i come up with a plan or just
start? I have a neighbor who is willing to give me some daylillies
in exhange for my help with her yard.
I think it is a fantastic trade off....How did you start your garden?
Thanks in advance...isabela
You should have some idea what you want, a trip to a few local garden
centers should help. See what they have and what YOU like and form a plan.
You have 2 basic types of plants as far as sunlight go, plants that like
shade and plants that like Sunshine. This is important. Putting a shade
loving plant in full sun is not good and visa-versa. Astilbe likes shade,
Black eyed Susans like Sun for instance. There are plants that come back
year after year (perenials) and plants that die at the end of the growing season
I've always loved gardening so for me it was easy, I see something I
like and I buy it and plant it. It's THAT simple.
The above has the good basics. I'll add that you would do well to know what
garden zone you are in. Also look around the homes in the area and see what
is growing there at different times of the year. Just because wal-mart sells
it, doesn't mean it will grow in your zone. E-bay has some great plant buys,
and I've not been ripped off by a plant person yet! Start as you can. Most
things can be moved later, if a 'plan' comes to mind. Don't hesitate to try
your hand at cuttings. It's a great way to get plants that are hard to find.
Get involved in plant trades, and if you admire a plant you see in a yard,
ask the owner for a root or cutting. Most will feel flattered and happy to
share. I doubt that any would yell at you for asking. There are some great
garden forums on the web, (like this one :) where people will gladly help
with problems. Above all, Enjoy!!
First thing to do -- find out what USDA Plant Hardiness zone you live in
(I'm assuming you're in the US). This will tell you what types of plants
you can grow. For example, a plant that is rated to zone 8 will not survive
in zone 5. The USDA zone is based on winter conditions. About.Com has a
nice little set up for this, including some brief descriptions of gardening
in each zone, at:
you are in a particularly warm area, look for your Sunset zone as well.
Second thing to do -- look at your neighbors' landscapes. What kinds of
plants do they have growing? Which ones appeal to your interests? Bear in
mind, we're in the dog days of summer so you're not likely going to see much
in the way of blooming -- spring is best for that of course -- but there
will be many that are blooming or have excellent foliage.
Third thing to do -- map out your property and get an idea of how much sun
each area gets during the day. Note how the rainfall distributes as well.
This will help you as you actually figure out what to put where throughout
Lastly, get on a few catalog mailing lists and check your local nurseries.
These will be good sources of plant ideas.
If I were you, I'd wait until next spring to REALLY dig in. Put a couple of
trees or shrubs in for now, but wait until the spring so you can see what is
Well, that's a loaded question. Initially, I started looking at nurseries
and home improvement stores at the trees they had and just picked a few I
liked, then stuck 'em in the ground. This was after I also went through and
ripped out every aspect of the landscape that I didn't like growing up (I
bought my folks home when they moved -- good west side boy).
After all that, THEN I started actually planning things out. :) Over the
last few years we've tried a variety of shrubs, roses, and perennials in
various parts of the yard. Some have fared well, some not so well, some
were destroyed by neighborhood strays. A couple of years ago I took a
little extra time out and plotted out what was going to be the changes in
the front yard landscape in the following couple of years. I've just
recently started implementing the formal design (health problems) but I have
an actual sketching to go by. It will be modified a bit here and there, but
the gist of it will remain the same.
I'm also focusing on gardening and conservation. We have two foci here --
first and foremost is for the wildlife. We have been sizing up a variety of
plants that produce fruits and berries that will feed local bird, squirrel,
and other wildlife populations throughout the winter. Secondly, we are
looking at shrubs and trees for their windbreaking and soil erosion fixing
uses. We want privacy of course, but that's really not as important as
getting trees on our northern side of the home to keep it cool in the
summer, or trees and shrubs to grab the cold winter winds and deflect them
away from the house.
Remember too that plants are just one part of a landscape -- there's a whole
bunch of things you can do to be creative and really put your personal touch
on the garden. Globes, statuettes, or other art type objects go great in
the garden. You'll want to start thinking about adding one or more water
features like a pond or at least a bird bath or two as well. You might want
to create an outdoor room -- an area with a bench and a particular viewpoint
you enjoy. Stone or lumber can be used to build raised beds or outline
walkways, mulch can become the pathways you use.
There are LOTS of neat things for you as a gardener -- you're going to have
a blast. :)
I started by going to the library and getting all the books on gardening
checked out over a two week period.Your neighbor can tell you about what
grows well in your area but you should also check a basic garden book
that will help you get some basic information and give you some idea
about garden styles. You can also check your soil and start a compost
pile. Since the gardening season in zone 5-6 is more than half way over,
you may want to just pot up some moveable plants and spend the rest of
your time and money in ordering some bulbs for a fall planting for next
spring. You can use the next winter for planning and ordering for next
year. Good Luck, Randy
Trial and error always worked for me. thank goodness I have a natural green
Pick up a good book or two from your local library, and find out what suits
your climate/zone best.
"Come into my garden, my flowers want to meet you!"