Building a Garden From Nothing at All
Gardening doesnt have to be an expensive hobby. Some of the
most beautiful gardens Ive ever grown cost me nothing but sweat
and sore muscles and paid off with the kind of satisfaction
youll never get from a paid-for landscape. Throughout the
spring and summer, I have the pleasure of tending the miniature rose
bush I got for Mothers Day six years ago, the Virginia
bluebells that grew in my mothers garden, the border of hostas
that my son dug up from behind a neighboring store (with the store
owners permission, of course!) It is a found garden a
friendship garden a special garden that was never planned, and
is all the more beautiful because of it.
Building a Found Garden takes a bit of foresight but just a
bit. To start, youll need three things:
A Sunny Spot In Your Yard
Location is everything. Find a spot in your yard that gets plenty of
sun during the day at least 6-8 hours of full sun is ideal. If
you dont have a spot like that, though, you can work around it
by being careful in your selection of plants. If the spot you want to
fill with flowers is shady, look in other shady gardens for plants
that do well in the shade.
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Simple Garden Tools
A spade and a rake are all the tools youll need to get your
garden going. If youre really skimping it, and only can afford
one tool get a 4-tine pitchfork. Its one of the most
versatile gardening tools ever created. You can loosen and turn soil
with it, shake out the biggest of the rocks, and even use it to mound
earth for trenches.
Friends, Neighbors and Vacant Lots
The beauty of a found garden is how it grows and what it comes to
mean. If a neighbor has a beautiful garden, chances are good that
theyd be happy to share a few cuttings for your garden. The
woods behind your house or the vacant lot across the street can yield
a bumper crop of stones to build walls and borders. Keep your eyes
open for plants along the side of the road.
Building a Border From Found Materials
Borders and walls are an easy way to set off a flower bed or garden
patch from the rest of your yard. You can use broken paving stones,
bricks, and construction blocks any material that is weatherproof.
Simply dig a trench around your garden perimeter that is 2-3 inches
wider than the base of the stones or bricks, stand them on end, and
pack dirt around them.
Acquiring Plants for a Found Garden
If you have gardeners among your acquaintances, you wont have
to look far at all for flowers, border plants, bushes and more. If
you do your building during gardening season, you can
take advantage of the cultivation efforts of friends and neighbors.
If you notice a neighbor out in his garden transplanting or moving
plants, dont be shy. Ask for root divisions or cuttings for
your own garden. True gardeners believe in sharing the wealth.
DO NOT dig up plants from public gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, along
highways or in public parks. Its illegal in nearly every state,
and many states have protected species of flowers and plants. Stick
to friends, neighbors and properties whose owners are known to you.
Among the best plants to propagate from root divisions are:
Hosta Shade-tolerant perennials that make beautiful
borders or ground cover, hostas are easily among the most popular
border plants in the United States. They spread so easily that
gardeners often thin them by root division.
Iris and day lilies Like hostas, irises and day lilies
spread quickly. Gardeners often thin them in the autumn to prepare
for a spring growing season, and are nearly always willing to part
with a few root divisions. Plant in the fall and let them winter over
theyll bloom in the spring.
Virginia bluebells Wildly beautiful, the delicate
violet flowers of the Virginia bluebell open in the sun, and close in
the shade. They also grow like wildfire wherever you plant them.