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
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
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
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
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
- 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
design tips should help.
Tips from our readers