Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by JaimeSays
When my husband and I were looking to purchase our first home, we saw plenty of nice houses. What ultimately drove us to purchase our house though, was the yard. And while life in the suburbs has come with many adjustments, the biggest has been taking care of the yard. When you choose a large, highly landscaped yard, you have to keep up with it or it will end up looking out of control. While some people opt to hire a service for help or complete maintenance, that may not be an expense you have to incur. Or perhaps you find you enjoy the exercise, peace, and sense of accomplishment associated with gardening But I’ll tell you, as a beginning gardener, you will need plenty of garden advice to be successful. When you are doing it yourself, there will be a few years of learning best practices. As a beginning gardener, I’ll tell you what worked best for me and how I have improved upon my garden maintenance.
Talk to your Neighbors About Their Gardens!
One of the best ways I’ve learned about gardening is by spending time with my neighbors! In particular, I have two neighbors that have been in their houses for a decade or three, and they know what’s what. They’ll probably have planted just about everything and will know what grows easily, what is finicky, and may even have some examples to show you! Neighbors love to give garden advice, and show off their own yards to the beginning gardener.
My front yard is about 90% native garden bed, meaning that it is all plants that are native to my area of Illinois. Across the street from me, my neighbor has a similar set up. My first year in our house, she walked through the yard with me to point out what were weeds, what chokes out other plants, and when I could expect to see blooms. She also pointed out what plants were best to bring birds to the yard. If you are a birder, I highly recommend checking out this Southwest Florida attraction. For a beginning gardener, that was extremely helpful. I pulled the bad stuff, waited patiently for the good stuff, and eventually, had an entire yard in bloom.
It’s also helpful to talk to your neighbors when you have an off year with one of your plants. Last year, I had five viburnum bushes fall victim to a viburnum beetle. I thought I was the only one,.ut after speaking with neighbors, their bushes suffered similar fates. With appropriate treatment, I was able to save three of them but now I’ve got room for two new bushes!
Download Picture This for your Phone and USE LIBERALLY
The best plant identifying app that I have found is called Picture This. It is a little sneaky because after a few uses, it appears you can only use it if you pay for the advanced version, but that’s not the case! The free version has really all you need, whether you are a beginning gardener or an expert. While it does get annoying to get advertised to regarding the upgrade, as long as you don’t mind scrolling for the (x) to close the app, the free version is fine.
This app identifies just about anything in my garden. I use it pretty heavily in the beginning of the year when I can’t remember what plant is white aster, native flowers, and what plant is white snakeroot, a weed. I also like to use it when I am on walks and see plants in the neighborhood that I would like in my yard. Secondarily, Picture This identifies sicknesses on plants and trees and offers suggestions for treatment. With my resident feral cats in the yard, I choose the options that are effective yet safe for them.
Find Your Nearest Garden Center or Plant Club
You may live in an area where Ace Hardware and Home Depot are the only places to buy flowers. Most likely, though, there is a nearby garden center. These are priceless for numerous reasons. First, for a beginning gardener, the layout and planning of a garden center is paramount. You’ll probably see how to best arrange plants and flowers, and, like wine, what grows together goes together. Hang out in the shade section, and you may be inspired to buy some hostas and ferns. Head to the full sun perennials, and knock out roses with some bearded irises may call your name. The associates at a garden center will give great garden advice, like how to arrange a bed of flowers that will have something in bloom from April through October. You don’t want to just have a thousand tulips for two weeks and then green fronds for the rest of the season!
Additionally, I find that my garden center is a great place to ask questions when something isn’t going right. I’ll take a photo of a sick or underwhelming plant, and ask them to help diagnose the issue. If you’re especially lucky, you may find there is a local garden or plant club in your area. Do a search for plant clubs in your area and see if there is one you can join.
Add some flare to your indoor plants with these awesome planters.
Please don’t garden without the right equipment. You wouldn’t hike in Idaho without appropriate footwear and gear, so don’t do it in your own backyard either. You’ll constantly have obstacles like sun, ticks, mud wasps, thorny vines, poison ivy, and others that will have you question your sanity. As long as you are adequately outfitted, you won’t have issues in the garden. Just make sure you don’t forget to hydrate!
If you have any additional garden advice for a beginning gardener, let me know in the comments below! Happy gardening!
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