Creating a garden expresses individuality

Why garden? Is it to: create a beautiful area, increase the value of the property, produce food, or relax? These are just a few reasons people garden. Why people garden is as individual as the garden they create.

Why garden? Is it to: create a beautiful area, increase the value of the property, produce food, or relax?

These are just a few reasons people garden. Why people garden is as individual as the garden they create.

In summer, the garden becomes an extension to the house, a place to live and entertain.

It takes time and energy to achieve a garden that is attractive and functional, similar to decorating a house.

One of the differences is that gardens are living things. As plants mature, the garden changes and adaptations occur. Most seasoned gardeners will always say that their yard is a work in progress. Very few gardeners ever feel that their garden is completed.

Carefully planned and well-cared-for gardens enhance the house and increase the value of the property. Even the simplest well-maintained landscape adds appeal and value.

When planning a garden, know that the main focal point in the front yard is the house. A common mistake is to place large trees in the front yard, hiding the house.

Vegetable gardens are planted by people who like to eat fresh foods, want to know their food’s origin and to be somewhat self sufficient.

It is possible to purchase local fresh produce but it isn’t the same as going to the garden and choosing what will be eaten for the next meal.

With a garden, there isn’t the feast and famine associated with shopping for fresh food once a week. There is a definite pride in knowing that the food on the table was planted, cared for and harvested by you.

Growing vegetables can save money but be sure to factor in all costs, which can include: seeds, plot rental, cultivation and soil amendments, tools and fertilizer.

For those who like gardening, it is relaxing. It allows people to spend time outside, enjoying the nature and the weather. A garden is a quiet place to get away from the pressures of everyday life. Working in a garden allows one to, think, plan and interact with nature.

The learning curve for new gardeners can be steep but if it is broken into small segments, it is manageable. Even the most seasoned gardeners continue to learn as there is always new research, plants and products on the market.

One of the side effects of gardening is physical fitness. The physical effort but into gardening helps develop muscles and improves fitness levels. Gardening is a low-impact activity where each individual works at their own pace.

The word gardening encompasses all activities that take place in the yard to develop and maintain the garden. As a result, the gardener carries out a multitude of tasks that require the person to bend, walk, lift, carry, stretch and dig.

Some jobs like weeding are repetitive and can eventually cause muscle strain, but others are not. If possible, plan the day to contain a number of different activities to avoid repetitive strains.

People who are not active during the winter months should approach the garden season slowly to avoid injury.

Gardening can be overwhelming as there is much to do in a short season. Be realistic and limit the garden to the amount of time available. If time is in short supply, avoid labour-intensive projects like large areas to weed or too many small pots to water. Keep the garden manageable.

For those who hate gardening but want a nice yard, keep the design simple and hire company to maintain part or all of it. Gardens can be enjoyed without working in them.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist who lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.com.

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