Spring is here and, for me, that means it’s time to garden! When we moved into our new house, we had to remove the shrubs in the front yard because they were dying or dead. So now I’m planning what to plant. Here are my tips for creating beautiful garden beds, including planting and weeding!
These pictures are from our old house. I’m using them as inspiration for our new home’s garden beds (and to remind me how good beds can look after a little work!).
Because we’ve had a ton of rain here in Georgia, the weeds are overtaking our garden beds:
1. First, do the ground work.
The first step is to rid the bed of anything you don’t want in it: dead or dying plants, old mulch, dried leaves, and weeds. You can do this by hand or with a rake or pick. Do this completely the first time or else you will spend the summer pulling up weeds that kept growing when you left them behind.
I weeded this bed by hand, because it was such a small space and I actually prefer weeding by hand. Which brings me to my next tip…
2. When weeding, make sure you get the root of the weed.
If you just use a trimmer or just pull the leaves of the weed, you are leaving the root behind and the weed will grow back. Make sure you get the roots out so that it’s gone for good.
If you want to kill the weed without pulling it, you can spray it with vinegar. Avoid chemicals for killing weeds. They are bad for other plants, bad for the environment, and may contribute to the killing of honey bees.
3. Water, mulch, water again.
Watering plants deeply is the key to keeping them alive, especially once the weather gets hot. So, once the bed is clear of weeds and debris, I water the plants. Then I lay the mulch and then I water again. This ensures plenty of water for the plants and the mulch will help keep that moisture in the soil.
4. Water in the right spot.
Don’t water the leaves of the plant. This could result in the leaves being burned in the sun. Instead, water at the root or base of the plant. Make sure the soil around the plant is moist – that’s where the plant is going to pull the water into its roots.
5. Size matters.
When planting new plants in a garden bed like this, consider the size of each plant. Start in the back with the taller plants, then move forward with progressively shorter plants. Keep in mind their final, grown size as a measure for this. The tag on the plant will tell you how tall and wide each plant will get once full size.
I also consider the textures and colors of plants when planting a bed. I like a mix of colors and textures. In the bed here:
I have the height of the arbor vitae and the hydrangea, the reddish-purple color of the loropetalum, the red and green in the nandina, and the yellow of the marigolds. And each plant’s leaves are a different texture and shape. That provides interest and variety in a garden bed.
I love marigolds around the border of a bed. I think they look like movie marquee lights, plus they keep bugs away!
6. Take care of you, too.
While you are doing all this yardwork, make sure you are taking steps to protect yourself as well. It can be hot out there, and yardwork is hard work. Wear sunscreen and bug repellent. Also, I wear long sleeves and long pants, even on the hottest of days, to protect against bug bites and also poison ivy.
Drink TONS of water. If it’s hot, take cover in shade once an hour to give yourself a break. If you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop immediately and get inside where it is cool. You can’t have a pretty yard if you don’t take care of yourself first!
The transformation in these pictures took two days total, including weeding the bed; pruning the Indian Hawthornes (just a bit underneath); planting marigolds; and mulching.
How does your garden grow? I’d love to hear what’s planted in your home garden and beds. What’s your favorite thing to grow?