Gardening Tips for Beginners and Reminders for Veterans

By Cynthia "Meems" Glover,

Being a gardener has countless benefits.  Sowing a tiny seed into the earth, watering it with faith that a sprout will shoot out of the ground, and then nurturing that plant with the care it needs until it matures is nothing short of adventurous.  Successful gardening endeavors make our hearts swell with satisfaction and urge us forward to the next effort.

As a teacher of patience, diligence, commitment and resolve, a garden will hand out these valuable virtues to the gardener as they are earned.  Celebrate the victories and learn from the upsets.  Every disappointment becomes a lesson in personal growth; each success a humble reminder of what we've learned and where we began.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart.  But gardening is most definitely a recommended pursuit for anyone who has a spark of interest in the beauty and joy living plants will add to your life.

No matter the climate, the conditions, the size of the space or the level of experience, the best place to start is right where you are. Gardening is accomplished by growing herbs on a window sill or cultivating acres of botanical lushness.

In my current garden, I began with a conventional Florida landscape.  It included a single layer of shrubbery lining the perimeter of our home and the remainder of our lot was mostly lawn and a few trees.  My knowledge of gardening was almost zero unless you count the terrarium I forgot to water before we bought our first home.

One thing I did have was desire.  I wanted a garden; a space to draw me into the rewards of outdoor living.  I was tested in the first attribute of gardening for more years than I care to admit as I forged onward in trial and error.  Patience came slowly in my case.  Like most enriching prospects, the garden of our dreams will not be developed overnight.  Although my garden is an ongoing pursuit, I am steadily realizing the ultimate goal of the peaceful place I envisioned all those years ago.

Here are some tips (and encouragement) for starting where you are:

  • Find a group of gardeners in your area that you can share your gardening experiences with; a garden club, your local extension office, your neighbors and co-workers.  Gardeners love to share information and pass along plants to help get you started.
  • Take the time to do some research before you plan and plant.  The Internet, gardening books for your specific area, online newsletters like this one with reliable information will all help you gain valuable knowledge.  That means fewer mistakes and more successes.
  • Never despise small beginnings.  Rarely is effort ever wasted.  Even mistakes can add to our "what not to do" experiences.
  • By all means cherish each moment spent in the fresh air and take the time to notice the smallest beauties of our world.'