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Top Ten Tips for Gardening Success.


The great thing about gardening - and having a garden – is that it is generally your own creation. We are all different; we all have our own rules; all gardens are different; our needs as gardeners are different. And of course, every gardener will have tips on how to succeed  

So much is the difference, that offering or seeking advice is fraught with problems – especially from afar, such is the case with this page! There are many simple questions asked about how to garden, but the answers are not normally as easy.  Trying to write ten garden tips which are applicable to all types of gardening is more or less impossible. Here on this page we simply set the scene and provoke you to thoughts (hopefully), then follow up the details for the success rules for the different gardening sections.

Questions in my mail box are often put quite simply such as “Why is my apple tree not fruiting this year?” From experience I can normally isolate the problem, but it will often need a follow-up question or two. Hopefully – over time, these basic gardening tips will help 

Forgive the use of the cliché, but prevention really is better than cure!

Here are my own top ten tips or rules to follow on the way to becoming a successful gardener, and having a garden as trouble-free as possible.

As with all rules and tips you can bend, ignore, or simply manipulate how you want – fitting in with your own particular circumstances. Above all, the number one rule would be….

Enjoy Your Garden!

  •  Plants: Never forget that your plants are living things, and as such have the same needs as humans – food, water and light energy! If you are thirsty or hungry, you can walk to the fridge or put the kettle on. Plants rely on you to ensure their nutritional needs are taken care of!
  •  Shrubs: Impulse buying is the norm, but do not back it up with a bit of impulse planting. Find out how big your shrub will grow – height and spread; what it needs regarding soil and light; plant it in the right place and pad it out with smaller temporary plants if it is looking lonely. Do NOT prune it until you know how!
  •  Perennials: Any vacant space in the garden can be a home for a perennial plant; they do not have to be planted in large herbaceous borders. The important thing is to select the right one. A huge range of plants with minute rockery perennials to large back-of-border giants – sun or shade.  Perennials are normally long lasting – often many years or even a lifetime. It is really important to get the right plant in the right place, so even if you go for the impulse buy of a container plant full of flower, take time to know what it really needs. 
  •  Herbs:  Be daring with Herbs. It is the norm to aim for a dedicated herb garden, but most herbs are happy growing in association with other plants – shrubs, perennials, even in the rock garden or in containers.  They taste just as good and can be an integral part of the ornamental garden. BUT make sure you know which the medicinal herbs are, and which are culinary! So even if you don’t have the space to set aside for a herb garden, you can still garden with herbs. Go plant your sages in between shrubs, gaps in walls and paving are an ideal home for Thyme. The possibilities of having herbs in your garden are endless; just think ‘plants’ instead of ‘herbs’!
  •  Vegetable Plot: Eventually, you are going to eat what you grow. Be aware of where it’s been and how it has been looked after! Forget all the pictures of nice rows of vegetables and only sow what you need at harvest time. Learn and experiment about successive sowing and growing so that you do not end up wasting half a row of carrots or cabbage.
  •  Lawns: No plants get abused like the grass plants that make up your lawn!  Do NOT cut the grass too short unless you are a cricket field grounds man. Water your lawn only if it needs it. Don’t use it as a football pitch and expect it to look like a bowling green. Most lawn problems can be attributed to the actual making of the original lawn!
  •  Container Plants: Almost any plant can be grown in a container. That’s how most are grown at the nursery before you buy them. The secret is choosing the correct plant in the right container! The preparation is the basis for success with growing good container plants. Nurserymen do not garden soil – neither should you; though there are a few plants which will do best common garden soil. Soil is for the garden; compost is for containers!
  •  Indoor Plants: There is a plant for almost any situation indoors. The success rate – as with many things in the garden - is normally decided by your choice of plant for the space that you have. Dark gloomy corners will are suited to some plants; well lit rooms to others; sunny window sills for very few – unless you are a cacti enthusiast. Most indoor pot plants stay in the same pot and compost until they eventually die – sad! They are living things wanting to grow and give you years of pleasure. Why deny them?
  •  Garden Ponds: Choice of position is the single most important factor about starting a new garden pond. That most basic of gardening facts will largely determine the success or otherwise of your oasis of pleasure. Much thought should be given to what you expect of your ponds, and which situation in the garden will give you the best chance of realizing that expectation. It will essentially be a living environment. Living things such as fish and aquatic plants grow. Allow them the space to do so.
  •  Landscaping: Gardens evolve over time. After the initial plan, you can throw away your piece of paper, for a few years later your garden will almost certainly have changed, or outgrown the original concept. Starting from scratch can be an awesome task needing time and discussion with family to ensure that you are all heading in the same direction.  Fads change; uses change; kids grow up; we grow older; the environment will throw increasing challenges at us. Will your garden be flexible enough to meet the challenges and changes. These garden design tips should help.

Top Gardening Tips from our readers



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