ChatterTip of the Month May 2011

Spring Gardening Tips

So this month, I thought we’d feature some “gardening tips” because Taurus says, “I have, I have the fruits of the earth in my hands.” Not only is Taurus an Earth sign, they love to grow things and make marvelous gardeners. Growing up in England, I come from a family with a long line of gardening enthusiasts, especially on my mother’s side. And so, I invited my sister, who has certainly inherited this gardening ability, to write the tips for us! So hot off the presses here we have some gardening tips all the way from the UK for you, and the photo is one that I took of her garden a couple of summers ago.

Giant Peonies and a “Niobe” Clematis

Photo by Louisa J. Curtis, 2009

Weeds

One of the most important quotes I ever read in an old gardening book was, “A plant can only ever be called a weed if it is in the wrong place”.  In other words, what we term as weeds and therefore a perfect nuisance (here the main culprits include dandelions, ground elder, and bindweed) are all plants in their own right.  The bindweed is actually a wild form of convolvulus or “Morning Glory” and has a gorgeous flower either way.  Make friends with your weeds!

Grow Your Own

In these economically challenging times it is well worth considering growing your own fruit, vegetables, and herbs.  Anyone can grow something to eat, even in the tiniest pot or smallest window box.  All you need is good compost, plenty of sunshine, and regular watering for a crop that will be guaranteed to be more nutritious than anything you buy from a grocery store.  There is such pleasure to be had in nurturing your own crop, however limited, and ultimately tasting the delicious fruits of your labor.

Fewer Chemicals

We are all aware of global warming and the need to preserve our planet’s decreasing flora and fauna.  Those of you who are lucky enough to have a garden can contribute to this sentiment by minimizing the use of chemicals to control pests and diseases.  There is always a delicate eco-system in every green space where the natural hierarchy involved in the food chain ensures a constant balance. Try not to advocate a “scorched earth” policy when eradicating those pesky slugs and snails.

Bulbs

By now your spring bulbs will have flowered and are in the gradual process of dying back.  Resist the temptation to remove any foliage before it is so dry and withered that you can easily pull it out of the soil.  Whilst still green, the leaves will be providing vital nutrients for successful growth of next year’s bulbs so bear with the unsightliness for a little longer.  Concentrate instead on choosing and planting this year’s summer bulbs and looking forward to their wonderful blooms.

Color

Consider the use of color in your garden – you can have such fun with this!  Every year I have a great time color coordinating my new bedding and hanging basket plants.  For a cool serene effect use green and white, just as Kate and William did quite exquisitely in Westminster Abbey for their wonderful wedding.  Be adventurous if you feel like it – orange and purple look fabulous together, as do yellow and blue.  Use hot colors – crimson, red, orange, and yellow – to maximize the sensations of high summer in your garden.

Handle With Care

When you are in the process of growing any plant in your garden, treat it with respect and nurture it as best you can.  You may want a particular flower in a certain position but will it be happy there?  Please the plant and not yourself.  When handling your new young plants, handle them with care – they are fragile and delicate until they have established themselves.  Garden with love and respect in your heart; I talk to my plants all the time and don’t care who knows it!

Contributing writer – Charlotte I. Murphy

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