All winter long you have been dreaming about the summer. You imagine relaxing outside,  surrounded by flowers of many colors. The blue sky and the cool breeze through the hot air invite you to the outdoors. The scent of joy radiating off a small flower attracts you to it. You touch the soft and delicate leaves of velvet. The sweet fragrances enter your nose and you sigh with a smile of complete relaxation and joy. The sounds of bees buzzing as they fly from flower to flower in their task of pollination catch your attention. The birds chirping at your feeder entertain you as you look around your beautiful garden.


This is a dream many of us have each winter, when we become caught up in the cold ice and snow. But, when summer comes along, our gardens are too much work. We don’t want to be bothered with the “difficult” task of creating our own gardens that we dreamed of. It just takes too much work. Gardens are not simple. They do involve work and it does take time. But a garden can give you so much satisfaction, year after year. All it takes is lots of love and determination, and you will create the garden you always dreamed about. Here are the steps to creating your dream garden:


1. Location

Chose a location that has proper sunlight. It is not good to have trees directly above your garden. The area you choose has to be close enough to your water source. Rain is usually not enough water for your plants.


2. Test the Soil

Checking the soil’s pH is very important to the plants’ health. The pH will tell you if the soil is alkaline or acid. A pH of 7 is neutral. Plants usually need a soil with the pH 6.2 – 6.8. Check the label of the plant for your plant’s pH level. Each plant may be different.


3. Prepare Your Location

You must clear your location. There are two ways that I would suggest. First, you can just use a spade or rake to dig out the weeds and rocks. This method takes more work yet a shorter amount of time. You also can cover your area with a layer of about 10 newspaper pages. Then allow the paper to decompose and kill all of the existing grass and weeds to create a bed for your new garden


4. Choose Your Plants

Chose plants that you can care for and will fit with the amount of work that you can give them. The proper environment must also be present. Choose one to three flowers to plant together. A good way to find a plant that will grow successfully in your yard is by looking around your street and seeing what plants are growing well there. If a certain plant is thriving in your neighbor’s yard, it will most likely do well in your yard. Then you can choose according to color.


5. Planting and Transferring

Water the plants in their pots the day before you intend to plant. Don’t remove all the plants from their pots and leave them sitting in the sun, because the roots will dry out. If the roots are densely packed, tease them apart so they will stretch out and grow into the soil. Bury the plant to the depth it was in the pot. Too deep and the stem will rot. Too high and the roots will dry out. Don’t press down hard on the plants as you cover them. Watering will settle them into the ground.


6. Weeding

Pulling out the weeds is the most work that a garden requires. Let the beauty of your plant show through the contrast with the mulch. Don’t let the plant become overcrowded by other plants that are unwanted in your garden.


7. Mulching

Mulch conserves water, blocks weeds, and cools the soil. It also can create healthy soil when organic mulch is used. Place about 2-4 inches around your plants. Try to keep the mulch from directly touching the plant’s stem, as it may lead to the rotting of the plant.


8. Watering

Plants need about one inch of water a week. If it is hot or dry, more may be needed. A sprinkler is a great way so that you do not have to manually water your garden. If it is a rainy day, watering may not be necessary.

9. Enjoy Your Garden!

Sit back and relax. Take off the gloves and smell your flowers. They are successfully planted and your dream has come true. You have created a garden of colors, happiness, and life.


This article first appeared in the Summer 2006/5766 issue of YALDAH (issue #8).