1. Never pay full price for perennials if you don’t have to. You can always find a friend or neighbor who has some to transplant. Case in point, these beautiful irises from a friend from church who put out a desperate plea that she was being taken over by them. Call me in three years and I will give you some!
2. Do read on the label if the plant needs full sun or part shade to full shade. And, when in doubt, if the part of the yard where you want to plant something gets sun most of the day look for “drought tolerant” somewhere on there because if God doesn’t send rain, my plants don’t get watered. I am a lazy gardener and proud of it.
3. Plant a few veggies you know you will eat in a bucket near your door. More than that will require watering (see point #2) and likely canning or freezing. I like to can and freeze but I work 40+ hours a week outside of the home and there is not enough time in a day for me to enjoy that right now.
I learned this the hard way one summer when three tomato plants in my yard about wore out my welcome from co-workers and choir members as I brought around tomatoes every day for a month. One day, I may relish my inner Ouiser. Again, check back with me in three years.
4. Buy a good shovel, a thick pair of gardening gloves and always wear a hat with a brim.
5. Don’t garden in a bathing suit; you do a lot of bending and stooping. (This should be obvious but it apparently wasn’t obvious enough for me.)
6. However, cutting grass in a bikini is perfectly acceptable if you are using a riding lawnmower. It is called multi-tasking. Just remember to put on the sunblock before you shimmy into your suit. And wear a hat with a brim. Jackie O glasses are optional … but recommended.
7. Dirt does not hurt. You can scrub it out. Red clay is a bit harder to wash. Invest in a good hand lotion to use after a day of gardening; I like to set mine within reach of my recliner for post-gardening reflection.
8. Hire someone to move rocks, cut down and haul off trees and large clippings, or spread mulch. Neighbor kids are always in need of some extra spending funds and usually willing.
9. Make friends with your neighborhood cats. They will make your yard their home whether you want them to or not. Just deal with it.
My dogs love the garden, too.
10. Find a good place to just rest and sit in your garden, even if you are like me, right this very minute, plopped down in a folding chair under the Bradford pear enjoying an early evening breeze while typing away on your smartphone app. Crickets chirping, dogs crunching through the woods and a soft strain of country music from the neighbor kids across the street is the best way to relax. My irises are all planted… And I had enough for three plots of them!