Bold and colorful flowers won this reader over at a young age.
By Brenda Kari, Scandia, Minnesota
My love for gardening started when I was 5. My mom was an avid gardener, and she always took me with her on trips to the greenhouse.
I remember looking around at the flower displays with wide eyes and a big smile. Everything was gorgeous! It was like my own little secret getaway.
My favorite part of the trip was when Mom would turn to me and ask me what I wanted. She always let me pick out a couple of plants, and I had a weakness for bright colors.
As I got older, my love for gardening faded a little bit. I was busy with other things in life, and didn't have much time to plant and tend a flower garden. But then, just as I was about to get married, this all changed.
At my bridal shower, one of my friends gave me some potting soil, plant containers and flowers. It was a perfect gift, and from that day forward, I was hooked...again.
Color Doesn't Fade
Now, I'll admit that I'm not a gardening expert. Even though I've been gardening for several years, I'm still not great about knowing the names of plants. But one thing hasn't changed since my childhood—I still love using bright, flashy flowers in my backyard near St. Paul.
Wave petunias are my favorites by far, which you'll easily see by strolling through my yard. I use them just about everywhere, from my hanging baskets and trellis to the many containers scattered about my backyard. I love the bold purple and fuchsia blooms spilling over the top by the dozens.
I absolutely love annuals. It's fun to start with something small in spring and then watch how it grows through summer. Annuals make a big impact, no matter the size of your yard.
To save time (and space) with the many annuals in my garden, I take my hanging baskets to one of the local greenhouses in fall. They plant the blooms for me in early spring and keep them there to grow and flourish. Come May, I pick up my baskets from the greenhouse and hang up the gorgeous displays.
Each year, I try to do something new with the color scheme in my backyard. Mixing different colors throughout the garden really adds a lot of visual interest. My favorite color is yellow, and I'm secretly hoping they'll figure out a way to grow yellow Wave petunias. That would be the best of both worlds!
Though my garden is planted almost entirely in annuals, I do sprinkle in some perennials, such as clematis, daylilies, Karl Forester feather reed grass and hostas. The plants create attractive combinations.
People see my colorful yard from the road as they're driving by, and they sometimes stop in for a closer look. I love to share my garden with guests!
I find gardening very therapeutic. During the growing season, I go out in the morning and water before I go to work. This is the perfect time of day to clear my mind, and it's also beneficial to my plants.
If I water at night, the plants tend to get moldy. But after a morning watering, the flowers seem to soak up the energy throughout the day while the sun shines.
Not everything is as easy, though. One of my greatest garden goofs happened a few years ago when I burned my plants.
It was a sunny day, and I was out watering my plants. I like to use one of those convenient fertilizer jugs where you just add the powder and then hook it up to your garden hose.
Unfortunately, too much fertilizer flowed out at once. Plus, it was really hot that day. This combination burned my flowers, and I eventually had to throw many of them away.
Now I have my fertilizer routine down perfectly. I got some great tips from a local greenhouse, and my plants stay looking good much longer these days.
Passing It On
Today I am a mother myself. I have twins—a boy and a girl—who are about to turn 1. It might be a couple of years before they can really dig in help with the garden, but I do hope it's something they will want to be involved with.
Gardening is part of who I am, and I want my kids to be a part of that. It's such a good way to spend time outside and enjoy nature.
I'm sure they'll pluck some blooms along the way and my flower beds won't be perfect, but it will be fun. Pretty soon, I'll be the one taking my kids to the greenhouse.