As someone who is more experienced now as a gardener, I will tell you that I got more experienced because I did homework on my own. Sure I consult with people on occasion, but evolving as a gardener also comes from inside me based on the work I have done, research with gardening books, visiting gardens, even looking at annual plant catalogs to see how they are staging things. My evolution as a gardener was not instaneous, it took years….and many gardens, each with its own personality,
In order to garden you need to do a lot of trial and error on your own. In other words, what works in your space and what works for you and what doesn’t. I used to get really upset when I lost a plant, and now I have gotten more practical and slightly zen over the years and figure if it wasn’t meant to be it just wasn’t meant to be and I either try again or I look for another kind of plant.
It is totally cool to crowd source plants you don’t remember the names of – or things you think are weeds – for example I am going to reach out to friends to help me identify a perennial I planted a couple of years ago that didn’t do much of anything until this summer, and now I can’t remember what it is I planted.
It’s also totally cool to crowd source design ideas and planting ideas for your garden. But I have to caution the new gardeners to the fact that this is YOUR garden, so a lot of what we like isn’t necessarily going to be what YOU like. What is your personal vision for your garden space? If you can envision it, you can plant it.
My own garden as I have written before is a combination of things. It has pieces of every garden I have had growing up and as an adult. It also contains pieces of other gardens I have admired over the years. I like a cacophony of color, but the color has to be complementary so there is a method to my madness. Some of my favorite gardens in the world are English and Irish cottage gardens, so that inspires me as well. And layered gardens.
Yes my garden is a lot of work, but it brings me so much pleasure and is a happy place. Most gardeners actually feel that way – no matter how large or how small your garden is it is your happy place because you created it.
Part of what makes a good garden is your own personality – your own sense of individuality. As a rabid gardener I encourage all of you to remember that.
I also encourage all of you to go out and visit gardens -Chanticleer in Wayne, Winterthur, Morris Arboretum, Jenkins Arboretum, Tyler Arboretum, Natural Lands properties, and all of the fabulous gardens wherever you live if you are not from the greater Philadelphia area.
Supprt the nonprofits that create and sustain the beauty of nature. Also check out flower shows large and small and if you like certain kinds of plants over others, there are many societies that are plant specific.
Open your senses, your mind, and your heart, and your eyes to the beauty that is created around you and you will find your perfect garden for you.