Starting a garden might seem daunting but it’s actually accessible for many people no matter the size you have to work with. Good reasons why you should get your gardening gloves on:
● Tending to a garden, watching it develop and all that is involved will give you a sense of achievement.
● It’s a healthy use of your free time; being out in the garden means that you are likely getting some exercise; you are away from modern distractions like smartphones and you’re getting fresh air. It can be tempting to just throw yourself in front of the TV but this will force you outdoors.
● You can get the family involved in building up the garden to its potential so it’s a great team building exercise and the kids will learn about nature in a practical way.
● Should your garden develop and depending on what you’ve planted, you’re likely to reap the rewards in the form of beautiful flowers to display in your home and maybe even some vegetables for dinner!
Gardening Tips: Tools & Equipment You Will Need
Walk into any garden centre or gardening supplies shop and you will be bombarded with a wall of tools which are almost all likely to confuse you. Instead of getting bogged down on spending lots of money, focus instead on getting the basic tools that can assist you with almost any gardening endeavour; you can always add to your collection at a later stage as you gain experience and love for your garden.
2. Hand Trowel
6. Long Hose with Adjustable Nozzle
Basic Gardening Terms you’ll Need to Get Started
Annuals are plants that complete their life span in a single season. A “Hardy Annual” is set outdoors in spring.
● Bedding Plants
These are Annuals, Biennials or Perennials set in autumn or spring to provide a temporary display, usually lasting the summer.
Biennials are plants that have a life span over two seasons. They are sown outside in summer and will produce stems and leaves in season one before flowering the following season.
A climber attaches itself to or twines around an upright structure, such as a trellis, wall, fence etc.
A plant that sheds its leaves for winter.
These retain their leaves through winter.
A hardy plant is one which is not affected by frosts or cold weather.
A perennial is a non-wood plant that flowers every year, retreating over winter and re-growing the following spring. These will live for years in a garden.
A shrub is a plant of relatively low height with several stems at the base and lacks a single trunk.
If you need more extensive help on gardening terms, this article is useful from American gardening outlet Bachman’s.
If it’s a perennial bed and border area of your garden that you want to achieve, below are some guidelines. Perennials revive annually to add beautiful areas of colour and texture to garden beds and borders so are a wonderful choice for any garden and are worth the effort involved.
Plan for scale: A degree of proportion needs to be exercised in terms of your home and the flower bed. A big house, for example, will work better with wider and fuller beds and tall, distinctive plants; a smaller garden will work better with a series of more compact beds and lower-height plants. For beginner gardeners who are totally new to things, it’s best to start on a very small scale.
This video from Better Homes & Gardens is a useful short video guide on how best to lay out your garden from the beginning.
How to Plant Bulbs
When buying bulbs, reject any that are soft or showing signs of mould. Before you begin planting, you need to do some prep-work on the soil; ensure that the chosen area you plan on adding the bulbs to has good, well-draining soil. Bulbs will rot in soggy ground and in turn struggle in sandy soil; adding some compost eases this issue.
1. Know when to plant.
● Plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths, preferably by the end of September
● Plant tulips in November
● Plant hardy summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia, in September and October
Plant tender summer-flowering bulbs, including gladioli, in early spring
Plant autumn-flowering bulbs, such as nerines, by late summer
2. Dig the hole where you want the bulbs to go.
Not all bulbs are the same size, so they won’t all be planted at the same depth. Plant a bulb three times as deep as its height. Important to note thought that this guideline will vary depending on your soil type. You can also refer to the guidelines on the bulb packaging (if there is some).
Sandy soils: plant a little deeper.
Heavy clay soils: plant a little shallower.
This aspect of the planting of the bulbs is important because if they are planted too shallow, the bulbs may come above the soil surface too early and as a result get damaged by poor weather conditions but then in contrast if they are planted too deep they’ll take longer to emerge.
Roots grow out of the bottom of bulbs, so the quality of the soil underneath the bulb is more important than what you fill the hole with. If you’re amending the soil with compost, dig slightly deeper holes so you can accommodate the compost addition. Don’t let the bulbs touch one another when you plant them in the ground; the general rule is at least three bulb-widths apart – from the centre of one bulb to the centre of the next.
3. Fill in with soil and water.
As you place soil back into the hole, firmly press it in place to prevent air pockets but don’t pack the area too tightly. Add water and add more soil as needed. Stick laminated card into the ground to indicate where you’ve planted which bulbs.
Gardening Tips to Prevent & Deal with Weeds
The idea of gardening and having a nice garden is all well and good and you might invest a lot of time and money into getting it started but if you don’t tackle the weeds situation at the outset, they will cause you a lot of headache after you have begun. When starting your garden and are new to the whole gardening scene, don’t take on a huge space or the weeding situation is likely to overwhelm you as the first season is likely to be a rough one. Try to set out some sort of schedule whereby you do some weeding consistently.
1. Don’t Disturb Them
Weed seeds are all over every garden no matter how closely tended it is. The key thing to remember though is that it is only those in the higher parts of the soil that get enough light to set off germination. Therefore, movement of soil close to the surface including digging brings hidden weed seeds to the surface so try to keep soil ‘disturbance’ to a minimum. Dig only when necessary but if you do, amend the disturbed area with plants or mulch.
For weeds like dandelions, use a sharp knife with a narrow blade to cut through the dandelion roots to sever their feed source rather than digging them up and out of the ground which will help disperse and encourage more weed growth. Weed seeds can remain dormant for a long time.
2. Add Mulch
Mulch has many garden benefits including keeping the soil cool and moist and preventing weeds getting light. Add more mulch to the site to keep it consistently at two inches deep (more than 3 inches deep can deprive soil of oxygen). A good way to halt weed’s progress is by covering the soil’s surface with a light-blocking sheet of cardboard or newspaper and then spreading mulch over it. For seldom-dug areas, such as around shrubs and trees, use a tougher fabric such as refuse bag plastic for the base covering.
3. Chop Off Their Heads
If you are stuck for time, try to save in the short term by just cutting off the heads of the weeds as this will temporarily solve the issue and is immensely satisfying as well as being less laborious than getting down on your hands and knees. Perennial weeds, like bindweed, are damaged by this method as it forces them to use up food stocks and exhaust their supply of root buds, which helps to prevent them spreading albeit in the shorter term.
4. Close the Gaps
While it’s important to take the recommendation from the plant directions of how much to space different plants apart, you can reduce the advised amount by 25 percent and as a result shade the soil between plants. This will help discourage weed growth in that area at the outset.
5. Water the Plants, Not the Weeds
While it’s important to water your flowers and shrubs, you don’t want to feed your weeds. If watering by hand, try to focus the water direction carefully to your plants and not a haphazard manner. If you water the weeds, it will help them to thrive so while hand watering might be time consuming and tedious, it will help to prevent you having to weed the place later.
Gardening is a wonderful hobby but it definitely can become overwhelming. If you need help with landscaping your garden, we can help so get in touch today. We have the experience and knowledge to make your garden one that you can enjoy and everyone will admire!