Creating An Original Garden

Creating An Original Garden

3574411866_717f8d2b91_bYour garden is a special project, where you express your love of growing things, creating an outdoor retreat or fantasy land. Maybe you just like to grow the same roses your mother loved, or you prefer home-grown tomatoes to the flavorless store bought kind. You may simply like the expanse of lawn with even, deep green, or fascinating hedges neatly trimmed, forming a mini-maze in your garden. Whether you prefer planting beds, big planters, or a mixture of several different displays, these ideas for your garden will make it look original and fresh.


Big Planters


One of the quickest and easiest ways to add a unique touch to your garden is with big planters. You can find them made out of many different materials, any of which may suit your decorating style or your individual taste. For example, for an earthy, natural look, you may want concrete planters. These will retain the roots of invasive species like bamboo so that you can plant that wind break or sound buffer you have always wanted around your garden.
Metal planters are available in all different kinds of planters, from zinc to stainless steel or wrought iron. Metal usually ages nicely, developing a lovely patina through the months and years. This can add a touch of history to your garden, looking like the piece has been made to place in your garden.

Specimen Plants


We all have special plants or planting beds in our gardens. At my house, it is the bed of hostas under the live oak tree in the back corner. This area which never gets much sun, due to the shade from the oak, was once a dull, lifeless area. While hostas don’t have very impressive blooms, they do come in a wide variety of foliage styles. You can find them in chartreuse, dark green, almost white, and every shade in between. The leaves may be smooth or corrugated, solid colored or variegated. The wide variety of hostas available make this one of the prettiest planting areas in the garden, now.

You can also draw attention to certain areas of your garden with a single plant. A heritage oak tree, for example, is worthy of its own special spotlights to highlight the texture of the trunk at night, or to shine up through the leaves. One of my favorites is black mimosa tree. This striking specimen looks particularly wonderful in a big concrete planter in a section of my garden where the soil is not so healthy. Everything else dies when planted in that spot, but my potted mimosa tree thrives. Since nothing else will grow there, I have mulched the entire area and added seating under the spreading, fragrant branches of the tree. As a bonus, since the mimosa is sort of a “trash tree,” the location keeps the seeds from sprouting, and the big planter keeps the roots retained so that they don’t spread.
Other ways to make your garden original and unique are with water features and seating.

Great Garden Hacks

Spring is on the way, and gardeners can hardly wait to get their hands dirty. As a gardener, you may have already prepared spaces in your garden for new plants or flower beds. Trees have already been shaped and pruned to allow sunshine through the canopy, and last season’s mulch has done its job of smothering weeds and preserving moisture in the soil. Perennials are starting to peep out of the soil, and bulbs are already blooming. During the planning sessions for your spring garden, keep in mind these great garden hacks. You’ll save time, save money, and the payoff is healthier, happier plants.

Coffee as Fertilizer


When I started teaching, I was awed by the potted plants in veteran teachers’ classrooms. When I finally got the courage to ask about their green thumbs, every one of them said the secret to their healthy plants was coffee. It acts as fertilizer, stimulating plants just as it stimulates the freshly awakened brain over the morning paper.

When your coffee gets cold, pour the remains onto your plants. Save the grounds, too. In fact, some coffee shops such as Starbuck actually package their used grounds and sell them. Work these grounds into the soil in your garden and they will give your seedlings a jump-start. Regular watering with left over coffee, and mulching with grounds, will make your plants stronger and more vigorous.

Buy Bugs


Did you know you can buy bugs? Ladybugs eat all kinds of pesky – um – pests. Aphids, especially, do terrible damage to plants every year. Everything from ornamental shrubs to vegetables can be decimated in just a couple of days by aphids. But, ladybugs LOVE aphids. They consider these white, mealy little pests to be the best meal in the whole world. You can buy a container of ladybugs for less than you would spend on chemicals at the nursery, and they will be better for the environment.

Get Worms


Earthworms are some of the best gardeners on the planet it’s almost like having your own personal lawn services. They burrow through soil, naturally aerating it, and their castings make a terrific fertilizer. In fact, you can buy worm castings from worm farms to fertilize your garden. You can buy earthworms, too, but usually, if you compost your garden, the worms will come on their own.

Some gardeners will even tell you to dig holes in the garden soil, about 10 centimeters apart and 20 centimeters deep, and bury your kitchen scraps. People who don’t want to have a compost bin can still reuse their scraps and enrich the soil enough to bring in earthworms. It helps, too, to keep the soil moist. Deep water at first, and then just moisten the top of the soil, and the worms will have enough moisture to live and multiply.

Planting and maintaining a healthy garden is a labor of love. Watching something that you have planted grow into a beautiful plant is rewarding and satisfying. With a few garden hacks, you can save money and time, and have a healthier garden, too.