Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Garden

Starting a garden is one of the most rewarding things one can do and anyone do it. From creating a cut flower garden, growing your own sustainable veg patch or planting an amazing border display, getting your hands dirty in the garden has so many benefits, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are our 7 easy steps to guide you through the process of starting your own garden!

1. Make a Plan

First things first, what do you want to grow? A vegetable garden? An herb garden? A flower garden? All of the above? All are great choices but have different maintenance requirements. I’d recommend for all beginners to start small until you know what you’re getting into.

2. Pick the Perfect Spot

Your garden location, soil type, amount of sun exposure and access to water will play a big part in what plants you’ll be able to grow. Most plants, vegetables and fruit thrive in sunny spots but if you garden is shaded for most of the day, there are still plenty of plants (Hostas, Heucheras, Grasses) that can thrive in the shade. Go outside and study your outdoor space, learn about your soil type, and then research which plants would be the best fit.

3. Start the Ground Work

Get rid of the top layer covering the area you plan to plant. If you want quick results (e.g., it’s already spring and you want veggies this summer), cut it out. With a spade, cut the ground into sections to make it easier to remove, then put it on your compost pile to decompose. Now, you have your planting area ready to go!

4. Choose Your Plants

Choose your shopping style. Some gardeners like studying plant catalogues to create their shopping list, others head to the garden centre to select their plants, or you can simply shop online. The key planting seasons are Spring and Autumn, so choose your plants according to their planting times. Summer-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Spring (Dahlias, Begonias, Roses) and Spring-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Autumn (Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus).

5. Hydration is Key

Close care and attention is essential for young plants. Once plants establish a strong root system in the ground (usually a few weeks after planting), they tend to be less needy. After that, how often you need to water depends on your soil, humidity, and rainfall; although once a week is a good place to start.

6. Mulch for Protection

Mulching is life-saving for gardeners. Mulching your plants helps them retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch after planting and you won’t have to water as often. Also, by preventing sunlight from hitting the soil, you’ll prevent weeds from forming in your soil.

  • For annuals: Choose a mulch that decomposes in a few months.
  • For perennials: Use a longer-lasting mulch such as bark chips.

7. Care, Grow and Enjoy!

Now that all the planting is done, now is the time to care for your garden and watch it grow.

Don’t forget to keep up with common garden jobs such as:

  • Watering plants regularly. 
  • Pull out any weeds.
  • Prune dead blooms, or leggy growth on plants/shrubs.
  • Remove garden pests (e.g. Aphids) by picking them off the plant, hosing them off with water, or spraying on an insecticidal soap.
  • Support tall plants (e.g., tomatoes) with a trellis, stake or pergola.

5 Simple Steps for Growing Clematis

Available in an assortment of stunning shapes, colours and sizes, it’s no wonder why Clematis plants are so popular! Whether you prefer wall trailers or pretty potted plants, there’s a perfect Clematis out there for every garden and they even flower almost all year round.

With spring planting season upon us, it’s the perfect time to get your Clematis plants in the ground. If you’re in need of some gardening tips, follow our essential Clematis planting steps below:

1. Choose the Perfect Spot

Whether you prefer pots on the patio or planting in the border, Clematis plants can do both. Ideal for planting in the springtime, don’t forget that Clematis plants need plenty of space for adequate air flow as well as a rich, well-draining planting area. Dig the hole large enough to accommodate the plant – at least a two foot depth of soil amended with compost prior to planting.

2. Provide Proper Support

As with other climbing plants, the growing end of the vine is on a mission, always searching for something new to grab onto. When a vine can’t find anything to grab, the end stops growing and will die back. Providing the right type of support from the start helps the plant look good and grow well.

Clematis vines can break very easily. Older stems look woody but will crack if they’re bent. Young stems appear to be supple but are actually brittle. So to avoid the heartbreak of your plant flopping, make time in late spring and early summer to correct wandering stems and tie-in top-heavy growth.

3. Pruning is Key

It is tempting to plant your lovely, leggy Clematis and let it get on with it. In fact, all newly planted clematis benefit from being cut back to just above a leaf node no more than 12″ off the ground. 6″ is even better.

This first prune encourages the plant to sprout from the base and gives you a much bushier healthier plant. If you really must, let it flower, but sometime between planting and the following November, cut all clematis back hard.

4. Water well

Until they establish, Clematis are thirsty plants. They should be watered about an inch or so weekly, and more deeply during dry spells.

5. Keep an Eye on Pests

Be on the lookout for common problems that affect Clematis plant health. Clematis wilt can cause vines to suddenly collapse and die after their foliage and stems have blackened. Powdery mildew often affects plants with poor air circulation. Aphids and spider mites can be a problem as well.

🌸🌸 Now you’ve got all the key ingredients to grow a beautiful climbing Clematis! 🌸🌸