Kris’ Gardening Tips (From the September 2016 Issue of Alabama Gardener Magazine)

Alabama Gardening Magazine - September 2016 - Kris' GardenHave you seen the September issue of  “Alabama Gardener” magazine? Well, if you haven’t, I’ll just tell you that the Blevons garden is in it!

Now, I’ll be the first to say this is a plant person’s garden. We could use a windfall in cash to take care of issues with retaining walls, steps, and other hardscape details that “finish” a well designed garden.  But I hope the huge, ancient moss-covered rock outcrop makes up for it…and well-placed, interesting plants.

The fun thing about being in the issue of the magazine was that writer Peggy Hill let me contribute my thoughts on gardening tips for readers. Here they are, since the article isn’t online yet and I’d like them available for anyone to read.

    • A great garden with healthy plants begins with the soil. Get a soil test, add amendments, and start a compost pile.
    • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Studies have shown that gardening can be an anti-depressant. It’s good for the body and the mind!
    • Be careful with your plant selections, especially groundcovers. Our mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), planted by the previous owner to prevent water runoff, threatens to overrun nearby plants, and keeping it in check consumes almost as much time as dealing with the neighbor’s bamboo. (!!)
    • Do a little bit in the garden each day. If you see weeds on a walk through the garden, pull as many as you have time for – they multiply fast!
    • Groom and deadhead plants regularly.
    • Find a good independent garden shop and frequent them for healthy plants and advice.Cuphea 'Bat Face' Alyssum, Pentas, White Roof Iris - Kris' Garden
    • Plants are great! Try something new or unknown just for fun, and research everything you can about your new acquisition.
    • It’s okay to start small. That shrub in a one gallon pot will grow just as well as one much larger, and your reward is tending it and seeing it mature. While small shrubs and trees are growing, add annuals to fill space and provide additional color.
  • Kris' GardenProvide for and protect wildlife in the garden.
  • Limit pesticide use as much as possible and, if needed, start with the least toxic option.
  • Educate yourself. There’s so much to learn and more ways than ever to get information. Take classes, consult botanical garden and university websites, follow favorite gardening bloggers, and read books about gardening. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there!
  • Be observant in your own garden space.
  • Gardening takes some work, but try not to let it overwhelm you. Don’t fret if things don’t get done exactly when the books or experts say. You’ll be forgiven. Spend time strolling through the space, enjoying what you’ve accomplished so far.

By Kris Blevons