For the last 25 years, I have played in the dirt in Georgia. The soil is easy to work with and the temperature was always on my side when it came to a longer season of warm weather. My planting would typically start somewhere around the end of March, to the beginning of April. I applied this rule for flowering plants as well as vegetables. This allows the plants enough time to get adjusted to the new soil, environment, and temperature. By mid-summer, my garden was always flourishing, and quite thirsty. The more my garden grew, the more water my precious plants required. As the temperatures soared closer to 90 degrees in late July this was a daily chore to ensure the plants didn't dry out.
Relocating to an entirely different climate gives me a brand new challenge and adventure. Like a kid in a candy store, I can't wait to dive in! I have a few ideas in store...
Speaking of curb appeal. Defined as, 'attractiveness of the exterior of a residential or commercial property, as viewed from the street.' That about sums it up. It also depends on the beauty in the eye of whoever holds it. Not everyone is interested in the maintenance that it takes to keep that curb appeal flourishing. After all, it takes a great amount of hard work.
Depending on what type of ground cover you decide on, the price can start to climb, and before you know it your trip to the local nursery has turned into a very expensive outing. As always, it is important to do a bit of research before making those trips to know what you are looking for and what type of plant you are getting yourself into. Annuals or perennials? If you are indecisive and want to switch it up every year then go with an annual. Once the growing season is over the plant will eventually wilt and you will need to pull out the roots. If you want to see the same plant every year then perennial is for you. The plants will thrive with tender love and care which allows the root base to grow stronger and more beautiful every year. It's also important to consider your planting space. Does it get full, partial sun, or absolutely no sun at all? Paying attention to these types of things can save you from making a mistake when planning your garden.
Tip: Some annuals come back year after year despite what the label says. This depends on the climate and the area in which you choose to plant the flower. So you've decided to leave the annual in your planter or in the ground, just make sure you pay close attention to the stalks and stems of the plant, if they are soft, brittle, and black, the plant has most likely died down to the root. If the root base appears to be firm, start watering with plant food consistently and check for signs of life within the next few weeks. If you see tiny leaves along the stems, you have just been tapped by Mother Nature's wand and you can proudly claim a green thumb.
Oh, I'm just getting started! Up next, I will talk more about ground covers, shrubs, and preparing your area after the last frost.
Ground covers never truly get the attention they deserve, however, they serve as a border for your lawns and they do just what their name says. They cover the ground!
Shrubs come in many varieties, each with something different to offer. If color is what you are looking for, then search no more. Serving as the base of your flowering garden or on their own, they are beautiful and add so much to the visual appeal of your home.
Tip: Pay close attention to the instructions for planting. Ensure you leave enough space between your house and your plants to prevent excess moisture against your foundation. It is equally important to leave ample space between plants to prevent over-crowding. Last but not least, find out what zone you are in for planting and always consult with your local gardening center if you have questions or doubts.
PREPPING YOUR AREA
Now that I am a full-time resident of the greater midwest I know that my preparation for spring will be quite different. With winter comes snow, followed by ice and that means hardened soil that will need lots of tender loving care to spring back to life.
I love gardening as much as I love writing. Very therapeutic and extremely rewarding, you can't lose with either hobby. I have thought about hiring a landscaper many times to do the dirty work for me, but it's just not as fun. Seeing the hard work pay off is well worth the time and effort. So I get my music ready, my tools nearby and prep for my favorite time of the year. Planting time!
AJ writes & blogs from her home in Indiana. You can also find her work as a contributing writer at www.groovmagazine.com
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman