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Monday, July 30, 2012

How I Stopped Killing Plants and Learned to Grow Something...

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Yes, I admit it. I am a horrible gardener. I don't even think 'Gardening for Dummies' could help me. I just don't have a green thumb or a green anything. However, I do have a yard to take care of and I have to work on getting the green thing going on. I am so proud of  myself because this summer I had some very small successes! {I so admire all you gardeners out there who share your lovely gardens & plants on your blog!}
This is the garden you see as you walk to our front door. Not so long ago, it was looking nasty. Unloved & untended. Every year, I weed this garden and I plant things to fill in the bare spaces, but usually 3 out of the 4 things I plant die. It is very discouraging. In my defense, going to Nova Scotia for 6 weeks in July & August doesn't help. But still...I was determined to do better this year. It began with this question, "What was I doing wrong when planting new plants?" . Hmmm. I watered them after planting...just like the gardening books said. They still died. I killed them.
So I did a little more research and talked to some people at the greenhouse. And you know what I learned? It helps if the hole is watered before the plant goes in, then  back filled and then watered again. So this is what I did differently this time around. {I know this is probably common sense for a lot of people, but not for me unfortunately}. I also bought some 'root booster' nutrient mixture and mixed that with the water that went into the hole first. I bought a total of 9 plants and planted them using this method, and they are doing great! Small steps. Small steps. Here is the front garden now....completely weeded, and planted with some new perennials.
And after 6 weeks, the plants have filled in nicely and we have Shasta Daisies blooming,
Brown Eyed Susans,
and some Lavender.
And I also 'baby' my little babies...I talk to them and ask them to grow and I water them as soon as they look dry!

Next year, I want to try a vegetable garden....a big honkin' vegetable garden full of tomatoes and beans and swiss chard and beets and everything yummy!

Have you had any small successes lately with a job that has been your nemesis?
What did you do to overcome it?


If you would like to see my spray-painted bucket planters project, please go here.

And to see Part I of my back deck makeover, please go here.

And you might like to take a peek at these Pinterest Boards:
Summer Mantels
Outdoor Ideas
Camping Recipes & Ideas
Flowers To Love
Canning Projects To Love

24 comments:

Leslie said...

I am not the greatest gardener either. Great tips! Your flowers look gorgeous!

How2home said...

Your garden looks fabulous, love to have our garden to look like that! I have no patience for the garden, perhaps thats why our garden is never successful! I'll try again once we 'find' our perfect house :)

Gayle Boyd said...

Your garden is looking lovely! Gardening is all trial & error.. and lots of patience!

JoKnows said...

The garden looks beautiful! I don't have a green thumb either, but I have a husband who gardens. ;) I want a vegetable garden too!

Liann said...

Beautiful garden. I'm hoping to do a big vegetable garden next year too :)

ritajoy said...

Your garden is beautiful! Good job... You've reminded me that I need to go do a little sweet-talkin' to my plants as well.:)

Homemakersdaily.com said...

Congratulations! Gorgeous plants and flowers.

My last name is Gardner but I joke that I'm a gardner in name only. My husband is the gardner in our family. My job is to admire his work and I'm real good at that!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Good for you for sticking with it, Angie! Congrats on your blooms! : ) I used to find that I would have to rethink some plants. Ones that I loved {like impatients} just didn't do well in most areas of my gardens because I had full sun ~ back and front ~ at my old house. I made sure every plant I bought was a full sun plant lover. No shade lovers; unless they were going underneath a tree or got a good amount of shade at some point during the day. Now that we are in Ohio, I'm finding things are a bit different. With the horrible heat we've been having, I feel like I should have gone with tropicals!

Bronwyn said...

Gardening IS hard. I have been at it a few years now and I have had some great successes (lilacs, daisies and clematis) and some disasters (hostas, poppies and hydrangea). My biggest lessons have been about plant placement - shade, full sun, partial sun, partial shade. Now that I am finally figuring this out, things are growing much better. Oh - and fertilizer! Everything needs fertilizer!!

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

Great tips! I must say your garden is doing quite well. Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Chef in Training. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com/2012/07/make-it-pretty-monday-week-8.html Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

southernscraps said...

I don't have much success with gardening either. An entire bed of newly planted flowers died one year so I gave up. This year I tried container gardening. I've done pretty well so I may go back to the yard next year. Congrats to you on your success.

Our Pinteresting Family said...

What a beautiful garden you have! :) I'm sure you are enjoying spending time outside in such a pretty space. Megan

Sparkling said...

I am a huge gardener and I get really sad when people say they have tried and failed and just give up. I'm really excited that you persevered. However, I am all about no chemicals, so I have to say tsk tsk for adding the root booster. Maybe in time, you will figure it all out sans root booster! Talking to and touching the plants is what I am convinced actually makes things grow. I manhandle those things all summer and the rougher I am, the more they grow. Keep it up and come see my recent vegetable garden pics.

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust said...

Your garden looks fantastic! Great job sticking with it.

Warmly, Michelle

Jennifer@ Blissfully Ever After said...

Ok ok, but do you have a solution for saving indoor plants...hahaha! I just received a fun beautiful green plant from my aunt tonight, I am going to see how long I can keep it alive! Wish me luck ;)

Charlene@APinchofJoy said...

Coming over from Ginger Snap Crafts . . . what a great tip! I've been gardening for quite a while and never heard that one before -- makes total sense!

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

Hi Angie: Your garden looks fantastic! I've gardened for a long time, and what I've learned is the more you garden, the more you learn about gardening, so it's great that you are jumping in and trying out new ideas. I totally encourage you to try veggis next year--pick a sunny spot--that's key to getting vegetables to grow well, give the soil some compost and fertilizer and have at it!

Marlis said...

Your garden looks great. I took the plunge and planted some things a few weeks ago.. I tend to overwater, so I'm ignoring them for now.. Good luck with yours.. xo marlis

Joyce said...

I am an absolute shocker when it comes to plants, although I imagine gardens filled with flowers!

Kim @ Too Much Time said...

HaHa-your title got me. I have a love hate with my garden! I am getting better, but whoa, it is a learning process for sure. If you get a sec I would be jazzed if you stopped by and linked up at my party {Get Schooled Saturday} going on right now!
xxx
Kim @ Too Much Time
http://too-much-time.com/2012/08/get-schooled-saturday-34.html

Al@PolkaDotsandPaisley said...

I think your garden looks great. I only started gardening a few years ago and this year planted some veggies in pots. I'm still waiting to see how they'll do.

Stevie from GardenTherapy.ca said...

Great job in rejuvenating your garden! That Bergenia will be a great plant for you as it is really hardy. In my climate it is evergreen and blooms from March to November. If you cut off the dead flower spikes and it just may start blooming again.

I'm not sure that last photo is lavender though. Looks like it might be an Astilbe which is a shade lover (as opposed to lavender which likes hot dry conditions).

Have fun taking care of your 'babies'.
Stevie

Sandy said...

I had to laugh when I read your post.
I have a large yard and for the past 6 years here I have planted so many things that eventually died..
I really think it has a lot to do with my soil.. hot humid sandy south Florida... So I caved and changed it all to Tropical and know what, it's growing... being from the North, I miss so many different northern plants but hey, when in Rome!
Great post.
Sandy

The Single Nester said...

Thanks for the helpful hints! I will definitely keep them in mind.

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