NOTHING makes a house feel like a home more than a luscious green garden.
How you achieve that, however, is lost on many.
Professionally trained in horticulture and working in the business for thirty years, he’s become an expert on all things gardening. Dan spoke to The Sun about his top five easy tips to make your garden flourish.
WORK WITH THE CONDITIONS
His first tip is to work with the conditions that your garden presents, rather than fight against it.
“A lot of people want the opposite of what they have. So, if they’ve got a really sunny garden, they want a cool shady one, and vice versa.”
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If you have a sunny yard, instead of trying to grow lush plants that flourish by the water—like Hostas or Ferns— look into Mediterranean plants like Lavender or Rosemary.
“If you’ve got a slope, terrace it in and use plants that like to grow on slopes.”
Learn what your garden fosters best, and go with it.
Dan’s second tip is to be careful about how much you take on at once—as overdoing it and creating more than you can manage may turn you off from gardening for life.
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“A lot of people try to do their whole garden all at once and they can’t do it because it requires a lot of maintenance.”
Instead, start small.
“Do something you know you can achieve that will make you feel better.
“Planting a container garden or getting a tree in the ground is a great first step.”
Although you may be excited to start digging at your soil, Dan says you’d be smart to plan and plot it out beforehand.
“Some people just dive in without really having a plan. I think it’s better to look through some magazines, Instagram accounts, Pinterest boards, and decide what you want before you plough through.
“That way, you won’t waste time and money on stuff that you later realize won’t work for you.”
Dan says he’s seen one too many people make the mistake of not thinking their garden through.
“I’ve had friends that put trees in and then they realize that’s the exact spot where they want to sit out in the sun. But they already sort of messed it up.”
LOOK AFTER YOUR SOIL
Although it may not be glamorous, spending time on your soil will make a world of difference.
“Look after your soil, and it will look after your plants.
“For example, by adding compost, or manure, or grass—whatever it is that you need to improve your soil—it will make your life so much easier later on.”
Many times, especially if your house is a new build, the soil in your garden will be filled with debris from construction and just general pollution. This makes it even harder to successfully get your garden going.
“Cleaning out your soil early on will cut your problems in half because you won’t find that things aren’t survive or things are looking a bit sick.”
Similarly to working with the conditions of your yard, Dan says you need to embrace nature rather than fight against it.
“Historically, gardening has been about controlling nature.”
He points to the French laying out their formal gardens at Versailles as an example of humans using gardens to show their power over nature and their perfectionism.
“It’s time to let go.
“People need to see the value of attracting birds, and bees, and other pollinators to the garden.”
Because many pesticides have now been banned, there are less chemicals and controllers to make use of.
“If we let our gardens arrive at a natural balance, it’s a bit like our bodies eating the right things. If you’re eating correctly, your body reaches a good balance and looks after itself. It’s the same with the garden.”
Dan urges aspiring gardeners to let things be “a bit more untidy.”
“Don’t feel that you have to have everything looking perfect all the time because it’s actually better all-around if you let things sort of reach a natural equilibrium.”