Starting your garden from scratch.
It may seem daunting but starting a garden from scratch may prove more rewarding than you ever thought possible – and it doesn’t have to be that hard. With a little forethought and a lot of enthusiasm, you might just find yourself with a new hobby that brings you joy. What do you need really? A plot that gets some sun, good quality soil, and a garden hose or watering can – and if your plot is the size of postage stamp, so what?
The first thing to consider is what plant where? And it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you mind about keeping things neat, plant taller plants at the back of borders and lower ones at the front – don’t worry if you don’t know what’s tall or short – the label will tell you. If you’re planting by a path, why not think about plants that will release a lovely scent as you brush past them – herbs and lavender make great scented borders. And if that’s about your design limit but you’ve still got empty space, sprinkle in some flower seeds and wait!
It’s worth doing a bit of research. A little time finding out how much sun the different bits of your garden get, and when, will help you when you go to buy your plants because all the information you need to make an informed decision is on the label. If the plant you’ve fallen in love with prefers sun and you know it won’t get enough, then you’ve saved yourself both money and disappointment. If, by any chance, there isn’t a label to tell you remember that most flowering plants, fruit and veg need as much sun as they can get. And if you have a north facing garden, just check out some shade-lovers – they’ll be fine.
Now to the soil. Most plants like fairly fertile, well-balanced, well-drained soil. If you’re not sure, or don’t know how to redress the balance, buy a topsoil mix – then the balancing has been done for you. If your soil is particularly chalky or clay-heavy, you can always ask for advice at your local garden centre because the soil you’ve got is likely to be the same as theirs.
Obviously, watering is important. Again, the labels on the plants will tell you what you need to know. It’s simple really: don’t drown them, don’t parch them, water early morning or late evening and water the roots not the leaves. Just make sure that you’re extra-vigilant during a heatwave.
It’s fair to say that some plants and flowers are easier growers than others and it make sense, if you’re a beginner, to give yourself the best chance of success. Look for sweet peas, poppies, pansies, geraniums, nasturtiums and calendula. And if you want edible success, go for peas, cherry tomatoes, and radishes for a start.
Planting from seed straight into the ground should be left until the end of April so that frost doesn’t stop them before they’ve started. Or you could raise some seedlings earlier indoor and plant them out from May onwards.
See – easy. Just give it a go.
The Willow Wand: beautiful living art for your garden.
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