Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gardening for the Rest of Us, Part I

Think you can't garden?
Overwhelmed by the task of planning and creating a new garden?

Think you can't afford to have the unique plants of your dreams?

Think you need to plan your garden to the ninth degree before planting?

I know how you feel. To me gardening was an overwhelming task until I realized that plants have been blooming without our help since before humans existed. Eventually, I've learned to let go and just get my hands dirty and try things in the garden. Now some people compliment my garden (which is still in the minor leagues of gardening in my mind) and say "I could never do that." Well if I can, then trust me, anyone can!! But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I knew nothing about plants or gardening when I bought min hus and wanted to create a garden. I didn't grow up around any gardeners, and I didn't have friends nearby who were into it. So, as I do whenever I want to learn something new, I went to the library and checked out a bunch of books on gardening. Make a plan before you plant anything! was the credo I read over and over again. So I planned and planned. I wrote list of flowers that would grow well here and bloom for a long period of time, then I drew up a plan for the garage bed.

Finally, after way too much time had passed, I went to the garden center armed with my shopping list of flowers to buy. And you know what? They didn't have most of the plants on my list. Where was all the beautiful and unique flowers I'd lovingly selected from my gardening in Ohio books? I didn't want a garden full of geraniums and petunias like everyone else. I wanted to garden creatively! Far too overwhelmed and disappointed to change my plan on the spot, I left the garden center.

This was pretty much the sum of my garden that first year.

I didn't end up planting anything my first season in my house until July and that was only to spruce up the place before some friends came over to have dinner and see my house for the first time. I bought my first plants from the farmer's market: two yellow coreopsis, two balloon flowers and two purple sage. July in Ohio is hardly a good time to plant anything, it was 90+ and the area was in full sun, but I watered them and managed to keep them alive. That was all I bought the first year except for fall bulbs and a few planters for my deck.

Gardening turned out to be a lot harder than I'd thought.

Read part II and part III.


  1. looking forward to the next parts - slow and steady thus far...

    It's always interesting to hear how each gardener has built his/her garden.

  2. This is really enouraging. I don't technically have a garden. I live in a tenament in Glasgow, in Scotland so it's all concrete and planters for me. I am really excited about what I could do but take your advice about planning ahead. Look forward to reading the next installments!


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