Tips for Building Your Garden

It’s that time of year! snuggle up in your favorite chair with your pumpkin latte and build your garden for next year!

Decide on Your Style!

            With fall on our heels, it’s a cozy time to flip through garden magazines, books, and Pinterest for garden ideas. If you haven’t started your flower garden, or you’re thinking about redoing it, doing some research will save time, money, and garden mistakes.

It’s so easy to be wooed into buying every pretty plant in a nursery or garden center. But the first thing you need to decide on is: What’s your style? Do you like country wildflowers, formal gardens, or something in between? Do you have a small area or acreage to plant? Spend your time really looking at why a picture appeals to you. Visit gardens to observe how they feel to you. Once you’ve leaned into a style or theme, you can copy it or modify it.  Then…

Study the Amount of Sunlight!

Does your garden get 5+ hours of sunlight? Or is it mostly in shade. Or do you have several areas within your garden? For example: My garden has four quadrants. Quadrants 1 and 2 are in the shade until 3 pm, but then in direct sunlight until sundown. That means quadrants 3 and 4 are in direct sunlight all day. #1 and #2 have Hostas, miniature roses, peonies, rose of Sharon, and hardy fuchsias planted in them. They’re thriving. #3 & #4 are filled with roses, echinacea, annuals, speedwell, mondo grass, wisteria, foxglove, Daphne, Rebeka, golden chain, autumn joy, mallow, smoke bush, bee balm, and a variety of flax.

Knowing what kind of heat the plant can flourish under makes a difference in it struggling along or thriving. It also saves money from rebuying and replanting.

Check your Soil

Is your soil hard? Clay? Sandy? Different plants like different soil. Either buy your plants to soil you have or amend the dirt to be more hospitable to more variety of flora.

Choose Your Theme Color

For many, we just buy and plant but making a garden look pulled together adds to the impact it may have on the eyes. We all have our favorite looks: some like blends of colors and others like contrast. But picking one color to repeat throughout the garden regardless of what all you plant makes the growth look intentional. In my garden I use red. I have a red bridge, red chairs to sit in, red tulips in spring, red roses that accent the entrance and exits to the garden, and pops of red pots randomly placed throughout.  There are a wide variety of colors within the garden, but the red repeats pull it all together.

Choose for all Seasons

Chose plants that bloom at different times of the year. For instance, there are the first bloomers of spring, the late spring flowers that are done for the year about the time the summer flowers appear. Be sure to not ignore the fall foliage and the winter interest plants. Plot your plants so that there is something blooming or eye catching for every season.

Plan your Scents

Be careful not to plant heady fragrant plants beside each other that will be blooming at the same time. For instance: I have a climbing rose bush beside a Daphne which both have wonderful but strong scents but—the Daphne blooms and sends out her perfume in March, April and the first part of May, and the roses share their aroma from late May through October.

Plan your Heights

A level garden can be pretty to look at but one with a variety of heights draws the eye in various levels. Plant a multitude of ground cover, dwarf heights, medium and tall plants to bring variation and diversity to the garden. Use an assortment of plants as well: colors, shapes, sizes. I randomly plant flax in pots and plop them in the middle of the garden to give texture, colors, and an array of levels.

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PS-The picture on this article is a Purple Beauty Berry. She just stands green in your garden all summer, but in winter she puts on the most amazing purple berries!