gardening tips

5 Ways to Be a Better Gardener

Written by Grace Moores

Gardening can be very therapeutic; it certainly is for me, it is my escape. I discovered an interest in gardening about 10 years ago when we moved into our current house. It took me a long time to progress out of the beginner stage because I wanted sun-loving plants in my shade garden. Once I became aware of some key areas that needed attention when it came to gardening, my success improved. Here are 5 ways to approach your gardening that will not only help you make the most of your time, but will also help you fully embrace gardening and the many benefits it can offer.

Feed Your Soil 

You need to feed your soil well, so it will in turn feed your plants.

  • At the end of summer/fall, empty any potting soil from your garden pots onto your garden beds, as topsoil. 
  • Pile leaves from the garden onto your flower beds to act as a mulch over the winter; most leaves will break down into the soil by next summer 
  • Add compost to your soil in the spring and fall

Know Your Sun

The number of hours of direct sunlight your garden gets will dictate the type of plants you can grow successfully. You can’t force a square peg into a round hole; being aware of how much sunlight you get and where will set you up for success with the right plants for your garden. It doesn’t have to be exact, but you should have a general idea. If you don’t get quite as much sunlight as your neighbour, you may be able to grow some of the same plants, but it may be likely that yours won’t get as big, or they may bloom later in the season with fewer blooms. 

Look Beyond Flowers 

When I first started gardening, I was all about the flowers; but I soon realized that flowers are like the candles on a birthday cake, they don’t hang around for long. Most flowers only bloom for a couple of weeks through a season, and if a storm comes through they could be gone within days, so it’s important to think about how that plant will look the rest of the year without any blooms. That is where texture, height and leaf colour comes in. Explore different varieties of plants and shrubs that will bring you happiness when in your garden all year long.

Don’t Skip the Watering 

Learn to enjoy watering your garden. It could end up being one of your favourite parts of gardening because you get to take everything in, be present and admire your work. Normally I water my garden with a drink in hand, whether it’s my morning coffee during the first water of the day, or an evening drink for the last water of the day. My motto is water, sip, inspect, repeat. 

Take your time watering, so the plants get a good soak. This encourages the roots to grow down to absorb all the water, rather than stay close to the surface. I sip my drink in between watering and inspect my plants. This allows me to cherish new blooms and growth, and identify any problems with pests or disease before they become issues. After inspection, I continue with watering another part of the garden. Water, sip, inspect, repeat until the garden is all watered and refreshed. 

Plant More 

Everyone thinks those who have a green thumb have success all the time in the garden, but that is not always the case. We just plant more so you don’t notice what doesn’t make it! Trial and error is a key part of gardening, so embrace the ups and downs of it, and don’t stress if it isn’t perfect right away.

Jolly Bark designs punny products for gardeners and plant lovers. All items are reusable to bring countless smiles, not clutter, to our lives. Jolly Bark was created from a love of gardening, founded in 2019 by Grace Moores. The Jolly Bark line includes t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, tea towels, hand soaps and candles.