Gardening with What You've Got
I once read a quote that said, "You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt." How true this is! For some people, however, it's their dirt that is providing the trouble. So maybe your little patch of earth isn't exactly the Garden of Eden. Well, that certainly doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of what Mother Nature has to offer. I've identified a few common garden issues and some simple ways to turn your outdoor headache into a source of joy!
If you don't have much ground space, don't let that deter you from digging in. Make the most of your mound by going up! Vertical planters, trellises, hanging baskets and window boxes give you a chance to bring a little life into your environment without a huge footprint. They also add height to gardens that are short on space. Brightly colored blooms make the biggest impact in tight quarters.
Don't be fooled! There are plenty of plants that (ahem) ROCK in stony soil. Try something like thyme, English lavender or echinacea. All of these plants can grow through gravel! Wineleaf cinquefoil is another pretty (and easy care) option. These plants thrive in less than hospitable soil. Their roots are adept at finding the nutrients they need to survive.
Pounded by the Sun
Having absolutely no obstacles in the way can actually be a problem for many plants. Exposed plots of land need special care, but that doesn't mean you have to dote. Seriously hardy perennials like yarrow and Russian sage not only excel during drought conditions, but they're also easy to grow. (I should mention yard pests like deer, rabbits, etc. will steer clear of them too.) Brightly colored Mojave sage and agastache are two sun worshipers that will attract hummingbirds to your garden! Sunny areas are also great locations for your solar-powered accents. By day, they soak up that glorious sun and by night, they give back by shining light on all of nature's glory.
Being shady isn't ALL bad. Diffused light during the day can make for a wondrous retreat. If you have the space, add some seating or a path and create a little personal refuge. Shady areas are also wonderful locations to show off your personality through yard art. If that isn't quite your thing, choose brightly colored shade-loving plants (like multicolored azaleas) to liven up the area. Who says the light can't come from within?
Short Growing Season
Maybe a quick check-in with the plant hardiness zone map has given you a less than desirable diagnosis. You can still start your plants from seed and garden your fingers off. My recommendation is starting inside. Window sills are a sweet place to keep your eyes on your seedlings through their early days. A portable greenhouse is another way to maximize your season. They keep your plants much more temperate than they would be while exposed to the elements.
No Green Thumb
Maybe the biggest problem in the yard isn't the soil, the sun OR the precipitation...but you. There's no shame in that. You too can toil away. Try a rock garden! Even the most forgetful gardener will have a hard time destroying a rock garden. Add a variety of stone sizes, colors and formations for interest. A simple and inexpensive fountain or some playful garden creatures could be focal points, if you need some extra "oomph."
Sarah is a former buyer for The Lakeside Collection with a special eye for finding the perfect products to create just the right style, whether you're working on an indoor or outdoor space.