Home & Garden

The 10 best ways to improve your garden this year

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

The 10 best ways to improve your garden this year

Now's a great time to set some goals for the upcoming garden season (and think positively!). Here are mine – hopefully they'll inspire you to lay some plans for your own garden.

Goal #1: Lose the needy plants. In an effort to cut down on pruning, spraying and fertilizing, this year I'm focusing on plants that don't require a lot of attention. Goodbye, hybrid tea roses; hello, coneflowers.

Goal #2: Set a budget.
Every spring, I jump into the garden centre with my wallet open and no budget. This year I'll invest with a plan in hand – I will not just plunk down my money on the first beautiful flower I see.

Goal #3: Build a children's garden.
This year I'll give my sons Gavin, 3, and Matheson, almost 1, their own gardens. No rules, just their own personal patches.

Goal #4: Plant herbs and vegetables that I'll use. In the past, I've planted cool new ones, but I never end up using them. This year, it's tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and parsley.

Goal #5: Think long-term. Kids tend to cut in on gardening time – this year, I'm downsizing my annual plantings and installing a few more perennials, which will pay off in the future.

Goal #6: Be creative. I live on a beautiful forested property, but there's an extreme slope at the back. This year, I hope to naturalize the slope and create something out of that unused space.

Goal #7: Purchase plants that fit my criteria: long bloom time or high garden interest factor; disease- and insect- resistant; drought-tolerant; minimal pruning or deadheading necessary. All at a fair price, of course.

Goal #8: Volunteer my time to a garden project. Giving back to the community is important to me.

Goal #9: Motivate others. Gardening is one of the most rewarding activities, and motivating others to garden helps create pride within communities and beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy.

Goal #10: Nurture my dream: an outdoor kitchen with a lounge area surrounding a wood-burning outdoor fireplace. OK, my budget doesn't allow for it, but my motto? A day without a dream is like a seed without soil!

My goals always seem to grow during the garden season – but I always seem to manage to make at least three of them happen!

This story was originally titled "Goals For My Garden" in the February 2010 issue.

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