by Scott Beuerlein, horticulturist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Here are 5 easy tips from professional horticulturist Scott Beuerlein at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden that you can employ for a more successful garden.
1 Successful Gardens Start at Ground Level
Build your garden beds as if that is how you’ll be forever judged. Soil prep: Learn it! Nothing else matters as much as good soil for surviving and thriving gardens. Ask your extension agent how to do a soil test. Have them help you interpret the results. Then, do what they say.
2 Visit Gardens
There’s no better way to develop your own vision than by visiting other gardens. In them, over time, you’ll discover what you like, what you don’t and inspiration to guide you to your potential.
3 Grow Plants from Seeds in Containers
Seriously, this is your portal to proficiency. It will acquaint you with everything from water, soil, fertility, light, plant biology and how all of that comes together to create a green and better garden. Google “Norm Deno seed germination theory and practice.” What a great free resource.You’ll find that literally everything you learn growing plants indoors, and then in containers outdoors, directly applies in the garden. Zero to fifty-five right here, folks. And you’ll have a cheap and abundant supply of plants for yourself and others.
4 Don’t Fear the Reaper
And when that “hardy” camellia you impulsively bought for your USDA Zone 6 garden gives up the ghost, sure, be sad. But remember, you still get to live. Make note and carry on. And don’t be afraid to edit. Sometimes you are the reaper. When something isn’t working, fix it. Often, that means the removal of a perfectly healthy plant you paid good money for, or one that dear Aunt Agnes bequeathed to you. No matter. Ugly is ugly, and you have a compost bin.
5 Be Observant
Walk your garden regularly, and note changes—for better and for worse. Did your oak defoliate earlier than normal? Is the color of your holly not quite right? No chance to learn from something if you never see it happen.
Click here for more tips from Scott Beuerlein that will help you grow a more successful garden. This article is an excerpt from a longer version that ran in the September/October 2017 issue of Horticulture.