Want to do my garden, new to it all ! But fed up with it just looking plain and boring. Need some help....?
2009-01-05 16:01:55 UTC
As I'm new to it all, and I have 2 young children, I need something that will be there all ye
Five answers:
2009-01-07 13:57:16 UTC
Rachel it would be helpful if you said where exactly you, state, county?
2009-01-05 20:01:21 UTC
Now is the time to go to the library. You want to thumb through the magazines, the gardening books, the landscaping books, and anything else you see there that has pictures of gardens. Guaranteed, you will spend more time with each picture in the beginning than you will after a few references. After a while, you will find yourself taking longer with some pictures, pausing, or even doing the ahhh. What this exercise is for is to get a feel for the different designs and types of gardens. Ideally you will find a general style you like. It may even be a mix of styles.

Keep a planning notebook and write down things that catch your eye. An inexpensive spiral notebook is good. Or, use a 3-ring notebook, some notebook paper, some photo copy paper, and a few sheet protectors to gather anything clipped or copied. In this notebook, also start writing descriptions of your yard's lay out, soil type by area, type and amount of sun by area, natural moisture conditions by area. In the notebook, start writing what you envision in terms of gardening labor: amount of time, type of tasks you do or do not like, seasonal differences in terms of your availablility, etc... And, start writing out what you would like your yard to do for you and give you (i.e. edibles, ornamentals, play areas, entertainment areas, hide the garbage cans, privacy concerns, security concerns, traveling paths, etc....) Don't forget to write down the names of books/magazines and enough information to be able to find again the "cool" things you come across. If you see plants you like, write down their common and ideally their latin name.

Ultimately, you will probably want a plant encyclopedia that has some type of a picture or drawing, something about the conditions the plants like, something about thier growing habits, and ideally any notes about specialized care or maintenance. The book I like is the Sunset Western Garden book. Even if you don't live in the west, there is enough description about their climatic zone classifications that it is probably useful throughout most of the country. A used book is cheaper and just about as good as a new one; actually I like some of the older editions better than the newer editions.

In terms of what grows best in your area, how big does it grow, and when does it bloom - I like to do a lot of neighborhood driving. If "everyone" for miles around all have a particular plant or shrub ranging in age from 1 to 100 years - you know it is hardy in your area even if the books say it is questionable. If the books and tags say a plant grows 5'-8' and yet all of the older houses have 20'-30' monsters of the same plant in their yards, you know that not only is the plant hardy for your area but also to disreguard the maximum plant size reference on the label and in the books. Don't forget to look at wooded and open areas for ideas among the native and naturally growing.

For year 'round green, think evergreen shrubs.
2009-01-05 18:17:41 UTC
Start by planning.  I like to use a 35mm camera to make a panoramic shot.  Start where you want to view from.  If you don't have a panoramic camera, start with the main view, ie centered on the front of the house.  Make a mental note what is on the outer edges of the photo.  For the second photo, if you have an auto focus camera, focus on the first photo area.  Press the button down half way, and hold it while you move to the second photo area.  This will keep the second photo with the same focus so you can tape them together into a panoramic.  Continue until you have your whole view.  Develop and tape together on back to be one continuous shot. 

Now you need wipe off pens.  You can draw on the photos and wipe it off if you don't like it.  Starting on the corners of the house is good.  A sudden change calls attention, so many people will use shrubs or trees to let the eye fall gradually from the roof to the ground.  Try a pyramidal shape on the corners as tall as house, then round shapes below, gradually going down to ground level.This may seem like more than you want to do now.  But start with a plan, and then install it gradually over several years.Once you find the shapes you think look good, draw it out in bird's eye view making note of the shapes and height.  Then make note of your sun exposure.  Check the areas several times during the day.  You need to know whether the areas get morning or afternoon sun, and how much.  Make notes on your drawing.

Now go to your local nursery with the drawing and info and an idea of where you want to begin and how much you want to spend. Remember you must buy soil conditioners and mulch for the planting areas too.

Hope I didn't overwhelm you. A few more pointers: use odd numbers in groups; use evergreen in front yard if possible; shop several times during the year, nurseries put plants on sale when they are in bloom. My favorite shrub is on sale now; variagated Daphne odora. It blooms in Jan or Feb, and smells like Fruity Pebbles.

Good luck.
A'Nena Jewelry
2009-01-05 19:24:27 UTC
I know how you feel. I never had a garden until I moved to Georgia and since then I have been hooked on gardening. Some thing that helped me with gardening was this. I closed my eyes and imagined what my ideal garden would look like. What shapes did I see? Did I see a lot of green or so did I see a lot of colors? I saw lots of color. I also kept a journal and I kept asking myself questions, and I imagined what me and my 4 year old son would plant in the garden. We planted bulbs because they were easy for my son to hold and plant.I also realized that I wanted a fragrant garden. ( I realized that I wanted a garden that I could sit in at night with flowers that open up after 4pm ( and that birds and butterflies could visit so I did lott of research in the library on flowers and plants that could so everything that I wanted in a garden. Are you mainly interested in seeing different shapes of leaves? After you can have an idea of what you'd like to see, go to the library and get books that tell you what grows in your zone. ( I am in zone 8 so I pick out plants and flowers that are cold hardy but can also survive in 100 degree weather.Find books that tell you about different flowers and plants as well as soil.From there on, you'll be able to figure out what plants to grow or buy. I hope this help. Good luck.
Amy R
2009-01-05 18:06:40 UTC
You need to take the kids over to the local botanical garden to look at plants, then you take them over to the local agricultural extension office for your local agriculture college program and you can ask those people ANYTHING - they have master gardener programs to train them to answer your questions and most are avid gardeners. So - ask to talk to the Master Gardeners and they can tell you how to start and what is easiest to grow in your area, how to grow it, and where to find it cheap!

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