Planning and planting a garden takes a lot of work. But, with a little know-how, a patch of dirt could become your oasis. Sarah Catlin, a Palisade-based garden enthusiast, recently shared a little insider knowledge for folks just starting out. Catlin's garden was featured in the 21st annual Grand Valley Garden Tour, June 2-3.
New projects can be a lot of fun, but there is much to consider such as 1) light during the day; 2) what was planted there before and getting rid of it; and 3) what will compliment the current yard and add a new dimension.
Make sure to test the soil, amend the soil if necessary, and watch the area for light and changes in light. Also, look at lots of pictures and choose what is most attractive to you, as you will be looking at the area for a long time. Now for the really important stuff: Envision a garden that will make you laugh and where you will find peace after a long day.
Perennials are easy once they are established. Color can then be added with annuals each year.
Anything that will need constant care like fruit trees. Often a first-time gardener will get disillusioned with something that's difficult to care for if it involves too much work.
Weed, weed, weed, amend the soil with nutrients, mulch and watch. If you watch your garden, the plants and how they are growing, then you can adjust or change to make sure you have the right things in the right places. Plants are like children - they will grow and change in front of your eyes, but they need to get haircuts, teeth brushed, fed good food and nutrients, etc.
I like to blend things in so that most of my beds are a variety of color, texture and smells. I have herbs with perennials, and I am never afraid to try new things. Many of the plants from the East Coast grow well here, and it is fun to see all the different and exotic things that can be planted and that will survive here.
Mainly, I tell people to have fun! There is nothing more joyful than putting a little plant in the ground, watering it and watching it grow. And then, all of a sudden it blooms and smiles at you as if to say "thank you."