As an 8-year-old being bribed to do my mother’s weeding, my lack of interest in gardening far outweighed my thirst for pocket money. Not much changed into adulthood and while I definitely appreciated gardens at surface level, I was mostly focused on pillaging neighbourhood blooms that hung over fences.
As someone who made a living from a passion for design and interiors, the empty banked beds of the vegie garden posed a problem. I was going to have to plant green things in it so it “looked good”.
Mother Nature is the director of all proceedings out here and an unpredictable one at that. Unlike painting a room or buying a new sofa, instant gratification is something I had to leave by the wayside. I have discovered that gardeners are extremely creative and comfortable with trial and error. Be like them.
Once the prospect of designing my own secret garden opened up before me, I found my eyes opened wide to every other garden I passed. Walk your neighbourhood and take photos, find fabulous gardens to follow on Instagram (there are so many), buy gardening magazines and Google every plant you discover. This leads you to an understanding of when plants flower, if they are annuals, perennials, biennials, shrubs and if they will work in your climate.
I rapidly ripped out boring (sorry) natives to replace with all my favourite fairytale blooms, only to be disappointed when they grew horizontally in search of light away from the shade of the fence.
My fence and mature trees have been the biggest challenge in reaching my flower garden goals and I have learnt my lessons. Read seed packets, seedling tags and research to find shade-loving plants that you will love. Success for me has been with astilbes, astrantias, hostas, heuchera, hellebores and more.
I severely underwater myself so considering the needs of my thirsty, growing green children was a learning curve. Watering systems are worth the money and you can pop them in using kits from hardware stores. Containers and pots are a favourite of mine but in summer they will need watering every day.
This was the biggest revelation of all for me.
HELP ME, HELP YOU!
If you’re at the beginning, or a gardener whose learned their lessons, please consider joining our Studio Home Gardening Club group page where you can share, ask questions and build your knowledge in an easy going, friendly forum.