What keeps me excited?

As a gardener and lover of all things natural, I am constantly surrounded by flowers. Whether they’re in my own garden or simply popping up in the woods behind my house, they’re everywhere.

Nothing is more exciting to me than seeing the first shades of green when seeds sprout. I already have an idea of where in the garden the seedlings will go, and when I’ll be able to plant them.

But months before those seedlings become reality, I have a few little jobs to do. A little rudimentary planning. With fall upon us and winter approaching, this is the time to review my successes and my not-so-successes; to remind myself what worked, and, how I will be able to build on the gardening events that gave me and my family (and our visitors), so much pleasure over the past months. When it’s too cold to be out in the garden, I use the “downtime” to improve my garden plan. Gardening is a mind game. If you can imagine it, success will follow.

While we’re inside looking out, I like to do some additional research, check out potential plants to incorporate next season, and pour over gardening magazines, where ideas can jump off the page!

Get local advice.

Get local adviceThe best way to get local advice is by going straight to the source, and there are a few:

  • Ask a friend or neighbor who has a garden. They likely have some tips and tricks that will save you time, money and frustration. And don’t forget, neighbours may also have plants they’d love to share!
  • Talk to your local nursery or gardening club for advice on which plants will grow best in your area as well as what fertilizers work best for each type of plant.
  • Ask an expert at the nearest home improvement store if they have any suggestions based on what kind of soil you’ll be working with and how much sun each area gets throughout the day. Find out if there is an area where gardeners help each other solve problems–a community garden. If so, join that group! This usually comes with free seeds so all will be good in this world once again 🙂

Visit (and read about) other gardens.

If you’re feeling discouraged about your own lack of progress in the garden, visit other people’s gardens. There is no better way to learn from their mistakes and successes. Take note of what plants they have chosen, how they are arranged, how they are maintained and how they were planted. Ask yourself: What would I do differently?

The winter is a wonderful time for reading about or watching documentaries on special and historic gardens, international and local. The passion that fuelled those gardens is contagious.

Visit (and read about) other garLearn from mistakes – yours and others’.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s a part of life, and you’re going to make them regardless. The important thing is that you learn from them. If part of your garden fails this year, don’t give up on growing flowers altogether! It’s an opportunity to learn why it didn’t thrive.

If you’re like me, then gardening isn’t something that came naturally when I first started out—but now that I’ve been doing it for a while, I’ve learned how beneficial it can be for my mental health (and also my wallet). Gardening has taught me patience and perseverance in ways nothing else has before.

A little planning can help you have a garden you’ll love.

If you’re new to gardening, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Be aware of the seasons, weather, soil and plant selection before planting anything. You’ll also want to understand how much care each plant needs in order to thrive in your garden’s hardiness zone.

Test your soil.

Soil testing is essential to a healthy garden, and it’s something you should be doing every year whether you have a small patio or acres of land. This can be as simple as taking a soil sample from your yard and sending it off for analysis to a specialized lab. If that sounds like too much work, there are plenty of options for DIY testing kits available now—many of which are even pocket-sized.

Soil is made up of many different layers: topsoil, subsoil and bedrock (which is the hard layer just below the surface). These layers affect how well plants grow by providing them with nutrients they need on their journey through life. And while most folks understand these basics, there’s still plenty more knowledge to get into when it comes down to actually getting started in your own backyard patch.

Use the right tools.

The first step to staying positive when starting a flower garden is using the right tools. If you’re like me, you want everything in your life to be easy and effortless, so I’ll cut right to the chase: Having good tools for gardening makes it easier and more enjoyable. The best part is that once you have them, they last for years!

I use my tools every day, so buying quality ones was important for me. For example, I invested in a solid pair of gardening clippers because I know how long they’ll last compared with those flimsy metal ones. This made sense financially because they’ll last as long as I do. And since these clippers are ergonomically designed with soft grips on both handles, they feel comfortable in my hands no matter what angle I hold them at. Good basics – clippers, a rake, a spade, comfortable gardening gloves (if you’re so inclined) and a pruning saw are all you need.

The most important thing is to have fun! Your garden will be a reflection of your personality and interests, so go ahead – dig in and get creative. Experiment with new colours, change up the height of some of your plants and look for different foliage. Next year, watching those new sprouts emerge will bring a whole new garden to enjoy!