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Beginning Well

Avoiding problems takes less time and work, in the long run, than solving them. Make your first steps in the garden count by having the patience to wait, to learn, to give your relationship to the land and the plants time to grow. 

Cultivating patience


More gardens have been ruined at the start by impulse purchases and hasty planting.  Why? Plants are not furniture.  Some need shade, some full sun. Get that requirement wrong and you'll think you have a brown thumb, can't grow anything. And that's not the only need to take into account.

Then there's the weeds. A quick planting can leave monsters under the ground just waiting for a chance to ruin your garden.

Patience is essential in gardening.  Consider your patch of ground a long-term investment.  Start small. Build enthusiasm. And have fun!

Cultivating curiosity


First, know what you need from a garden. Next, find out what your garden has to offer potential inhabitants. Where is it sunny? Shady? What's the texture of the soil? the pH? How cold will it get in winter? Any warm corners or frost pockets? And so on.  The more you know about your garden the better.

And find out as much as possible about the trees, shrubs and flowers you could invite into this space. Visit nurseries, look at the options, find out what you, personally, like and what you don't. Read, gather photos, just let your curiosity guide you into all sorts of odd places. 

Spending a year in this process is probably minimum if you've just moved in and you're starting from scratch. Short-cut it and you'll be in for some unpleasant surprises.

Cultivating relationships

Making a garden may seem to be about what you do but the important things are the intangibles, the ties between you and the plants, the people who live and visit here, the whole world around you. Plants can be good company, as can the birds who visit.  While you're patiently putting off the planting, spend some time just walking around, noticing the way the light shines through the petals of a flower, watching bumblebees, enjoying the breeze on your skin. 


The "fertilizer" for relationships is attention and time spent together.  Both individual plants and the garden as a whole will become more real to you, more settled and rewarding, the more time you spend together.  

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