There are 4 things in life I absolutely love: my family, my work, traveling, and gardening. The last did not become a love of mine until I got married and even then it took quite some time to understand how to grow plants. Amazingly enough I discovered that if you read the directions and actually plant according to the instructions you can avoid part shade plants dying in full sun and full sun plants never blooming because they are in shade. So over the past 6 years I educated myself more and more about gardening. When we moved into our house in Ross Bridge over 2 years ago, I was determined to create a beautiful garden. I thought of the secret gardens of the Twickenham District in Huntsville where I grew up. It was so magical to walk past one of those houses and peak into the backyard through an arbor to find a beautiful well kept garden of Nikko blue hydrangeas, roses, and gardenias.
The satsifaction of digging in the dirt, planting a seed, and watching it grow into a plant is a feeling that warms your soul. You have created something that is living and growing and is a part of this earth.
So after 2 years of building beds and a pea gravel garden, 2 years of watching my Nikko blue hydrangeas bloom brighter and fuller, 2 years of seeing my gardenias more plentiful, 2 years of witnessing my knockout roses flower throughout the summer, 2 years of countless trips to Leaf and Petal and Lowes, 2 years of watching my new dawn roses climb and weave in and out of my arbor, and 2 years of unendearing word exchanges between my husband and I after days and days of yard work, imagine my delight when I received a letter this month saying that my garden had received 'Yard of the Month' from The Ross Bridge Garden Club. For the month of May a sign has been stationed in front of my home designating this title.
There is no place I would rather be than sitting on my patio watching Marybella play and looking at my garden. This spring and summer I have had countless cuttings from my garden already. Being able to create bouquets and bring them into my home and office adds a nice, refreshing, romantic touch to everyday living. I love living in the climate of the South where life allows for beautiful gardens which bloom from early spring to late fall.
With the encouragement of friends and coworkers, I put together Bailey's Best Bets for a Beautiful Garden:
1. Start out simple with herbs. They require full sun and little water and when you are comfortable with herbs you can graduate to bigger plants.
2. Embrace plants that are full sun. With our sweltering summer sun, if your yard gets full sun make sure to plant accordingly. Roses, gardenias, daisies, lantana, and vegetables all require full sun.
3. Some hydrangeas say full sun, do not be fooled, plant hydrangeas where they get half shade/half sun.
4. Watch how the sun hits your yard and remember this can change with the seasons.
5. Beware of afternoon sun, the harshest sun is in the afternoon. Make sure to not water during this time you could hurt your plants.
6. Plants like petunias are more heat resistant, this can be a big advantage during our hot summer months.
7. Remove old blooms, called dead heading, from your plant so that they keep blooming and coming back more vibrant.
8. Creating mixed baskets is fun and beautiful, a visit to your local nursery and someone can help you pick out plants that will work together.
9. I love incorporating herbs like lavendar and rosemary into my actual bed and herbs like oregano and thyme into my mixed baskets, they add different colors of green and nice aromas.
10. Share your garden - learn how to reroot hydrangeas, forsythia, and other plants to give to friends and family. Also, succulents and potato vine can be regrown and shared simply by picking a piece off and placing it in water.
11. Enjoy! Make sure to spend time in your garden and on your patio enjoying your hard work. Create bouquets for your home and family and friends.