Help Gardening Newbies... Best Tips and Worst Mistakes!(4 Posts)
Trying to help a friend in need of garden tips at the moment and can only call on personal experience of trial and error. So far I've come up with
- Plant in big groups rather than singles for better impact
- See what grows well in neighbours' gardens and chances are it'll grow well in yours
- Take note of how tall and wide your plant will end up and give it room
- Don't plant a new shrub in summer unless you want to spend the next few months running back and forward with a watering can as you watch it slowly die.
- Don't get suckered by alluring plant catalogues and try planting something that likes 'damp shade' in 'full sun' or something that likes 'humus rich, acid soil' in 'dry, crumbly chalk'. It will die.
- Never think.. 'the slugs couldn't possibly eat that'... but keep your slug pellets dry.
Don't get suckered in at the garden centre and end up buying plants that won't grow well in your garden....may garden centres sell plants that are not suitable for the area e.g. not hardy enough. Local plant nurseries can be much better than chain garden centres.
Consider gardening organically - it's much better for the environment. Don't buy slug pellets that are harmful to wildlife.
Get into wildlife gardening...it adds loads more fun...e.g buddleia bush for the butterflies and so on
Buy a good simple introduction to gardening book, for example this one
Don't expect to get it right straight away. It's trial and error.
Most importantly - enjoy your garden, whatever state it's in.
Keep a gardening diary that you fill up every time you buy a plant so you are clued up on when to feed it/prune it etc.
When planting, use good quality compost and add bonemeal and Growmore (or whatever is recommended for that particular plant) to give it a good head start. And dig a BIG hole to give the roots a free run!
Lavatera and hydrangeas are my favs for easy, huge, free flowering shrubs that flower for months and make a big impact.
Worst mistakes have been pruning at the wrong time of year so I lost all the next season's flowers .
Also, shouldn't have bothered with certain perennials like delphiniums which have been a real faff to stake and take care of. Get some easy to grow shrubs established first to give the beds structure and enjoy the success of those first before experimenting with harder plants.
I think your tips are really good and would also add to buy a soil testing kit as will save ££ if she isn't clear about her soil type!
Watch out for some garden centre 'bargain' plants as they may be pot bound.
Quite agree about giving plants room to grow even if the garden initially looks really bare - is easy to make the mistake of overfilling the borders!
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