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All About You: Making A Garden of Your Own
By Carol Band

A garden is a place where you can relax, play, spend time with friends and spend time alone. A garden should reflect the personality and interest of its caretaker, whether that person is a child or an adult. Here are some ideas for customized gardens. But don’t limit yourself to these ideas. Use your imagination to create a garden that is as unique as you are.


Artistic


Do you like to draw, paint and do all kinds of art projects? Think of your garden as a blank canvas and plants as your paint. Plant a rainbow of color starting with red geraniums and orange marigolds and moving through the spectrum to blue bachelor buttons and purple petunias. Try planting a monochromatic garden using flowers that are varying shades of just one color. Hand-paint clay pots to coordinate with the plants and add accessories that reflect the theme of art. Let morning glories climb on an old wooden easel, place empty picture frames throughout the garden and paint rocks to make a colorful and artistic border.


Playful


If you don’t take life too seriously, you can express your fun-loving nature in your garden. Select plants that are bright, big and a little bit unexpected. Pick a sunny spot and sow some giant sunflowers; fill in the front of the bed with colorful zinnias and marigolds. Use a pair of old sneakers for planters or fill an old toy dump truck with dirt and seedlings. Scour your basement and your neighbor’s garbage for bicycle wheels or an old tricycle to use as a sculpture. Decorate your garden with colorful pinwheels and croquet balls. Don’t forget to leave a space where you can dig and make mud pies.


Animal Lover




Do you love animals? Plant a garden that you and your animal friends can appreciate together. Fill the space with plants that attract birds and other wildlife. Plants that are irresistible to animals include sunflowers, a butterfly bush, strawberries and catnip. Honeysuckle, raspberries and black-eyed Susan’s attract a variety of birds. Cosmos, sweet William and zinnias attract hummingbirds. Tiny hummingbirds also will come if you fill a feeder with liquid hummingbird nectar. Birds love to splash. Provide them with a suitable bath by filling the top of a plastic garbage can with water and securing on the ground on a pedestal. Or use a plastic wading pool. Decorate your garden with bird feeders, birdhouses and a tree branch hung with colored yarn for nest building.

Hide-and-Seek Garden for Kids

Would you like to find a cozy place to retreat from the world? Or the perfect place to hide from your little sister? Your garden can be just the spot. Build a teepee from bamboo poles and grow green beans or morning glories to make a natural shelter where you can meditate or meet with members of your secret club. Plant root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes and potatoes that provide a surprise every time you pull one out of the ground. Include decorative grasses that provide cover for birds, look great swaying in the wind and make a great place to play hide and seek.

Starting from Seeds

Sure, you can go to a nursery or garden shop and buy plants that are already sprouted. But growing your own from seeds is especially satisfying. For container gardening, use potting soil. Make sure that you gently water the seeds immediately after you plant them. Here are a few flowers that are easy to grow from seed and fast to flower:

• Nasturtiums – These colorful blossoms are a snap to start from seeds. Here in Massachusetts you can put them in the ground as soon as the heavy frosts are over. Early or mid-May should be fine. Find a sunny spot and follow the directions on the back of the seed packet. In about a week, you’ll see them poke out of the ground. Nasturtiums are not only beautiful; they are edible, too. Use the blossoms as a garnish or sprinkle them in a salad for a beautiful and delicious treat.

• Zinnias – Zinnias come in all sizes and colors, and they all love sunshine. Plant tall zinnias in the back of your garden and tiny Thumbelina zinnias up front for an explosion of mid-summer color. Zinnias are great for cutting and bringing inside. An arrangement of zinnias will last a week or more.



• Sunflowers – Like zinnias, sunflowers come in all colors and sizes. The tall ones should be planted near a fence or trellis where they can be tethered for support. As the name suggests, sunflowers require bright sunshine. Give them plenty of sun and water, then stand back and watch ‘em take off. Don‘t forget to save the seeds for the birds, to eat yourself or to plant for next year’s crop.The Little Things Mean A Lot

Keep your eyes open for other whimsical garden additions, including:


• Pretty glass bottles that can be filled with treasures and displayed


• Old colored bowling balls


• Outgrown toys - plant flowers in sand pails, use a toy dump truck as a planter, treat a rusted tricycle as a sculpture.


• Old clothing that can adorn a homemade scarecrow


• Seashells and pretty rocks. Bring your collections into the garden for a personal touch


 More Kids & Gardening:


  • Getting Started in the Garden

  • Kids Dig Dirt, Worms, Bugs and Mud
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