Have you been staring at the tangly mess of grass, weeds and brambles in your backyard and wondering what on earth to do with it? Perhaps you have a dreary balcony you’d like to spruce up. Or maybe you just have a windowsill that needs a dose of freshness and colour.
Gardening needn’t be a chore. If you prepare properly, you’ll find it can be both relaxing and energising. Here are some handy tips for getting started.
Get to know your space
Two things that are really worth knowing are the direction your garden faces (and therefore how much sun it gets) and the type of soil you have (i.e. is it acidic, clay, boggy?). Both will determine what you can grow there. If you’re planting in the home, you obviously won’t need to worry about soil type, but you will need to think about how much sun that particular spot gets.
Some plants are easy to grow, such as Geranium and Primula, but others are more particular, and your local garden centre or nursery can help you determine which species are most appropriate.
Plan your garden
This is your space, so the garden you have should be personal to your tastes and needs. Think about your favourite colours, how much effort you’re prepared to put in and which plants are likely to thrive in the environment you’re putting them in. If you have animals, will the plants you’ve chosen be toxic to them?
You might also want to think about the theme. Are you looking for a traditional cottage garden look, or something more contemporary? There’s a whole host of options out there, and having a plan means you can set a goal, rather than just making it up as you go along.
Get kitted up
If you have a large garden or you’re starting a big project, you’ll want to make sure you have all the gardening tools you need. Think about what each job will require – you’re far more likely to keep going if you’ve got the right tools ready to go. Appropriate clothing is also important. You’ll want a good waterproof jacket, old trousers you won’t mind getting muddy, strong gardening gloves and sturdy footwear that can cope with knocks, bumps and boggy soil.
You’ll be amazed how easy it is to forget what you’ve planted where. Plonk a plant label into the ground next to the seeds, plants or bulbs you’ve just planted and save yourself problems and confusion down the line.
The key thing is ensuring you water the root balls well. The roots need to be soaked before you put them into the ground and you want to keep them that way. As a rule of thumb, poke your finger about two inches into the soil. If it’s dry you’ll need to add some water.
You should never be scared to delve into the world of gardening. Yes, you’ll make loads of mistakes – everyone does – but that’s part of the fun, and the reward of creating something beautiful or tasty is hugely satisfying.