Gardening is a world all unto itself, with lots of rules of thumbs and technical terms that can get pretty intimidating at times. Don’t worry, horticultural basics are simple – give your plants, no matter what they are, enough water, sun and fertilizer, but not too much, and make sure to pull out the weeds. Ornamental horticulture is a good place to start if you’re just dipping your toes in the gardening pool, and you’ll be quickly rewarded with stunning flowers and shapely plants. If you’re looking for a basic list of horticultural dos and don’ts, you’ve come to the right place. Follow these tips to get your garden growing: Do know your plants and their needs. If you buy a hydrangea and plant it the hot sun, it’s going to die – arm yourself with knowledge and your garden will thrive. The more you learn, the better your landscape will look. Do provide your plants with plenty of water, especially if they’re living in containers. Since containers dry out easily, some gardeners invest in optional well reservoirs that store excess water and feed it back to your plants when they need it.
Do start making your own compost from garden and kitchen scraps. You can buy compost, but it’s hard to know what’s in it or if it has been treated with chemicals. Nitrogen deficiency is a common problem in plants everywhere, by producing your own compost you’ll have an endless supply of fertilizer. Don’t just think horizontally. By adding window boxes and hanging baskets to your landscape or garden, you have more space to grow your favorite plants and create visual depth. These kinds of containers can tie into existing landscaping with tumbling vines or stand alone and serve as a focal point to draw attention to architectural features or special outdoor spaces. Don’t limit yourself to plants from the nursery.
Learn how to start your own seedlings, be it in plastic cups, mini greenhouses or liners specially designed to fit inside your containers. Seed starting is one of the great joys of gardening and gives you practically limitless choices in plant varieties. Don’t underestimate the power of a handful of weeds. Not only do weeds compete with your plants for resources, they also reproduce rapidly. One or two weeks in the garden this week could be a dozen next – you don’t want to know what next year will look like. Take a little time to pull weeds each time you’re watering or doing other chores, you’ll thank yourself later!