Last Minute Gardening Tips

A few things to remember when starting a garden.



© skynesher/istockphoto

During the coldest days of winter, we tend to wish that it could just be spring already. Then one day, as if by magic, the first few flowers begin to bud in our gardens and — just like that — spring has arrived and transformed the outdoors almost overnight. Suddenly, the weather is warmer, the air has that fresh spring smell to it, and that's when we remember — we didn't do any planning for our garden!

If you have procrastinated your gardening, do not worry. There is a lot you can do to get a garden together, even when it is already May.

Landscape architect Susan Cohen answered some questions and gave advice about last minute gardening.

What tools will you need to begin creating a garden?

The first tool you need to create a garden of any size is your own power of perception, in order to assess your space and the light and the views to and from your new garden.  

How do you pick the spot to plant a garden and what do you have to do to prepare it?

If you are a new gardener, then choose a small place, preferably near an entrance door, where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor several times a day, and remember to weed, water, and dead-head the flowers. Make notes of what worked best in anticipation of next year's garden.

How should you go about choosing which flowers to plant?

A good way to begin, once you have chosen your location, is to select a color scheme and start with annual flowers. You could add perennials later as you become familiar with them at the nursery. Choosing plants in bloom is a good idea, as is checking for deer resistance before making a purchase. And of course, check nursery labels for the sun or shade requirements of each plant.

What is the best way to prevent weeds?

Weeds can be prevented with chemicals that are specialized for that use. Check your local home and gardening store for these chemicals. Or, consider landscaping fabric as a prevention method. Use gardening tools such as a weeder or gardening hoe to remove unwanted weeds.

What perennials would you recommend to people who do not have time to plant a new garden every year?

One of my favorite colors in the garden is lime green, and one of my favorite spring-blooming perennials is Alchemilla mollis, also known as 'Lady's Mantle.' And one of my favorite summer-blooming perennials at the moment is Echinacea 'Green Jewel.' But gardens are personal. Read as much as you can, visit gardens, such as The New York Botanical Garden, as often as you can, and make your garden as unique as you are.

Above all, remember to have fun with your garden! Gardening can be a peaceful, calming learning experience, so enjoy it!

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