Happy Labor Day!

There’s excitement in the air!

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It’s Labor Day weekend; traditionally a lazy weekend to close-out the summer and relax. Because after this weekend we will be getting ready to plan ahead for the fall!  Most of us know that after this weekend things will change.

But for the Southern Gardner, it is more than just a lazy weekend. There’s a little bit of excitement and expectation, because we know that there’s a new season of planting about to begin.

I caught a glimpse of this for myself yesterday as I was driving by the local greenhouses. Inside, the workers were busy preparing containers and benches for their fall crops. They were planting geraniums and other fall annuals! Planting those little tiny cuttings into carefully prepared grow-pots,  that within a few weeks will turn into the beautiful blooms of the fall.

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And as I saw the workers filling the pots with soil and gently placing each cutting into it’s the center of the pot I knew that it was time to start planning for my coming season. Gardens need to be planned, pots need to be chosen, and colors need to be selected. Yes, it’s an exciting time. Now is the time to change your ideas from last year to add something new, something interesting, something unexpected to your garden. Down here in the South, winter gardening is exciting because you know that you’re the only place that many of your friends may see with color for months; because while we are enjoying the bright colors of inpatients and geraniums and pansies, they’re looking at endless white banks of snow.

So although we may not be planting in the ground for another six weeks (that’s about how long it’ll take for those little tiny cuttings to be ready) we can be planning and getting excited about what we can introduce to our gardens this season. Are you going to just plant flowers this year? Maybe you are going to incorporate some herbs or a few vegetables to make your containers into sustainable gardens and not just a beautiful garden.

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Is this the year that you add a statue or fountain? Is there an unusual piece of artwork you have your eye on for that empty courtyard wall? Make your yard and an extension of your living area and enjoy every piece of land you have to the fullest.

After all, many of us moved south for the weather and to be outside to enjoy it!

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Gardening ABC’s

The ABC’s of Gardening.

Teaching a novice to have a successful experience in gardening can be as easy as teaching a child  their ABC’s. Regardless of whether the gardening experience will be for a few houseplants, a container garden, a large courtyard garden or even your entire landscape; these three principles apply to all. And if you follow them you have a successful gardening experience. Let me explain more…

Custom-Letters-A A is Anticipation.

When you walk into your garden, look around you before you do anything. Anticipate what your garden needs are.

Do you have some wilting plants? Watering is an issue here.

Are the leaves yellow and pale? Maybe you need to consider a fertilizer application.

Do you see webbing or curling leaves? It could be a have an insect problem that needs your attention.

Looking around your garden before you start can give you an idea of what jobs lies head of you. This can also help you be prepared and have all of the essential tools that you’ll need to get your job done completely and correctly.

bB it’s for Balance.

There has to be a balance between what you want the plant to do and what the plant is physically capable of doing. You need to know what your plant’s needs are; does it need highlight, low water, or good air circulation. Placing plants in a location that doesn’t provide what they need, is the surest avenue for poor growing results.

CC is for Consistency.

It is important to be consistent on your maintenance methods when you’re dealing with plants. A good example is this; if you water to your houseplants every Saturday afternoon, then you should do it each and every Saturday afternoon. It might even be a good idea to keep log of you gardening activities, to be clear on what you have done and still need to do.

The plants will adapt to the way they are treated, but if there’s too much time between maintenance the plants get confused and they don’t know whether they should be stressed out or whether they are in a normal pattern. Consistency should also be for your fertilizing methods, your cleaning process, and your pruning techniques. Waiting until a plant is in need of something may not be the best way to be consistent in your gardening habits.

Be proactive; anticipate, balance, and be consistent for a successful gardening experience!

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Of course there are a lot more steps to a successful garden, but if you can start with these three basic steps, then you will enjoy your time with the plants and gardening all that much more.