Monday, August 29, 2011

Garden Lessons Learned

I am not the perfect gardener, yes I will say it again I AM NOT THE PERFECT GARDENER!  Sometimes you just have to jump in and try things.  Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail miserably.    You just have to be willing to try.  The same is true outside of the garden.  For example, I often lead lots of computer trainings at work.  The biggest problem I see is that people are afraid to try things.  They think if they push the wrong button or click the wrong area the computer is going to explode or something.  The reality is that the best way to learn the computer is to try things and learn from mistakes and successes.  The same is true with gardening.  Here are some things I have learned from gardening:

  • If you see something cool growing in someone's yard, before asking if you can have some make sure it's not growing ALL over their yard.  Definite things to stay away from: Loosestrife of any kind, Bishop's Weed or Snow on the Mountain, etc.  No matter how cool that Gooseneck Loosestrife looks, it's not cool when you have to try to eradicate it from your garden for years to come.
  • Always water new plants well after planting them.  Don't be lazy and wait for the next rainfall to come.  An unwatered plant is a dead plant.
  • Almost all of those plant catalogs you get in the mail in winter, though tempting, are not worth ordering from (unless it's seed catalogs).  More than likely you will receive plants the size of your pinky that will be dead upon arrival or die within a couple of weeks.  It's always best to buy plants local where you can see them, or from reputable mail order companies.  Look at Garden Watchdog before ordering from any garden company.
  • In my experience, almost all those cool colored coneflowers eventually revert back to all pink.  Green Envy and the white ones have been the exception for me.
  • If your containers are not near a water source, it's best to make your container self-watering so you don't have to water them by hand every day during dry spells.  
  • Setting up a drip-line system is easy, and it beats dragging a hose around the yard to water all the time.
  • As much as you want to share your hostas with friends, let them grow a few years before deciding to divide them.  
  • Never leave your husband home alone with a loppers in your garden.
  • NEVER use landscaping fabric.  It dries out your plants, weeds still grow on top of it, and it's very hard to dig through it if you want to add plants.  Instead use cardboard to line your new garden beds.
  • Rocks are only good for cactus and succulents garden.  Unless it's big rocks you will use to line flower beds or add interest to your garden.  
  • Don't plant things too close together, either the strongest plant will survive or you will have to dig it out and move it down the road.
I'm sure I could rattle off a ton more, but what lessons have you learned in the garden?