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Three Secrets to Happy Gardening

Gardening is a satisfying past time. Gardening brings beauty and order to the world, and gives the gardener the reward of a job well done. My Aunt Dorothy says, "Achievement is happiness", and few pastimes are as generous with rewards for achievement as gardening. Gardening produces beauty to share with others while satisfying the inner urge to achieve. The hard work required gives the gardener an even deeper sense of ownership and accomplishment when the garden successfully blooms.

A garden is not a static object frozen in time, but a dynamic living place with changing moods and appearances. One of life's great enjoyments is watching the changing seasons, the visiting birds and butterflies, and the changing light and colors of a garden you helped to create.

In order to be happy with your garden it helps to be successful in getting the plants to grow. Selecting the right plant for the right place is the first secret. Some plants like dogwoods, azaleas, rhododendrons, and columbine originated in the woods and do best in rich soil in the shade. Other plants like roses, geraniums and bermudagrass do best in full sun. Analyze your site and determine if it is sunny or shady, damp or dry, and choose plants that will be happiest in that site.

The mature height of the plant is important to consider. Most of us plant too close because we see the plant in the pot, and don't envision the plant's mature size. By allowing space for the plants growth, we can prevent unnecessary pruning because the plant will grow to fill the space instead of having to cut the plant back to fit a smaller space.

The second secret is proper planting. This factor affects plant growth the most. A weak plant, planted correctly has a good chance to live and prosper, while a healthy plant installed (planted) improperly will most likely failed. Good planting techniques will help insure, assure success.

The third secret is the after planting care of watering and fertilization. A newly planted plant will want frequent deep watering, but will need to have the water tapered off to get the roots to chase after the water. Mulching is important for holding in moisture, keeping down weeds, and providing an aesthetic look. Fertilization will stimulate healthy plant growth and aid in disease prevention.

These tips will help lead you onto the path of good garden techniques and help you achieve a happy, healthy garden. Dig in, and remember, you can't get a green thumb until you get a brown thumb.

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Paul Burns

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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