How To: Get Into Your Garden



If there’s one thing that I truly enjoy it’s getting my hands dirty in my garden. But this zealous obsession that I now have with gardening didn’t come about until my husband and I first moved in together into a corner-lot town home that had the curb appeal of an army barracks. Its wooden exterior was indeed an eyesore, but it had a small plot of dirt that had a lot of potential. After my first summer of successful blooms, I was in love. Gardening turned into a lifelong relationship.

GET EXCITED. Look at your garden as a way to utilize dead space to add more beauty to your home. Look at garden magazines, get on Pinterest, browse through HGTV.com and discover the possibilities. Visiting places such as the Norfolk Botanical Garden or the Hermitage Museum will definitely inspire you.

GET IN GEAR. (1) A pair of soft, washable and breathable gloves with palm padding will take you a long way for a long time—buy the best that you can afford. (2) Topiary sheers will help with precise pruning. (3) A watering can that has a fine spray for gentle watering—allowing your plant roots the chance to absorb the water. (4) The staples: trowel, digging fork and some sort of weeder-cultivator tool that you’re comfortable maneuvering with.

EXPERT ADVICE. Talk to the experts at your local garden center, and do your own research about novice gardening. There are some truly beautiful gardens in Hampton Roads and those maintaining them are always open to giving advice.Tidewater Arboretum and Display Garden, Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Virginia Beach, the Hermitage, and the Botanical Garden in Norfolk all have horticulturalists who are available for advice.

FORMULATE A PLAN. Take photos and measurements of the area that you are hoping to transform into a garden. Also, figure out what type of sun exposure you have on each spot. Is it morning or afternoon sun? Is it direct sun or partial? Lastly, how often do you want to water and maintain your plants like deadheading? These specifics will help guide you when you select your plants and flowers. My Advice:  Start with something simple—choose just a few varieties and build your confidence up from there.

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