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How Does Your Garden Grow: Tips I’ve Learned So Far

There are certain things in life that just make you feel like an adult. And one of those things, is plants! I never, in a million years, thought gardening would get my juices flowing! (Creative juices, you guys. Apparently Urban Dictionary has a different definition for this, which, also makes me feel old! #youths). ANYWAYS. I officially feel old now that plants, and flowers, and succulents, and maintaining our yard make me giddy with excitement. Going to Home Depot and spending way too much time strolling through the garden department has become such a regular occurrence that it feels like my second home. I still wouldn’t say I have a green thumb though, but after several months of trial and error, and lots of googling, I would say that I’ve learned a few things along the way!

I have loved adding plants and flowers into our little space, and it has truly changed our backyard. (Don’t ask me about the front yard, it’s still pretty much exactly as it was when we bought the house! We’ll get to it someday!) It has made our little yard feel so much more cozy and personal, and when I look back at pictures of how bare our yard once was, I’m so proud of us for putting forth the effort. 3 Crepe Myrtles, 4 rose bushes, lots of potted plants along the way, and one giant Aloe Vera, and our backyard is still trucking right along and I am loving our successes!

I thought I’d share any tips and knowledge I’ve picked up, in case anyone out there is also looking to dive into yard work and gardening and landscaping, oh my!

Crepe Myrtles

  • They need A LOT of water at first but then it can be easy to over-water.
  • They dry up easily if not watered enough. Basically it’s a fine line!
  • Keep them pruned at the base or else you’ll end up with lots of sprouts and a shrub looking bottom.
  • They may not bloom at the same time as every other Crepe Myrtle and that’s ok! I always think ours are behind. Ours fully bloom in mid to late July but I often see Crepe Myrtles start blooming much sooner than that.
  • You can spray Neem Oil to keep bugs and mildew at bay.
  • Prune off any dead twigs or branches.
  • They prefer full sun and are pretty heat tolerant.
  • There are lots of different varieties of Crepe Myrtles – different colors, sizes, shapes. Be sure you know how tall they will be before you buy. Our two pinks ones I think are going to be about 9-10 feet high, whereas our big purple one should be 15-20 feet high.

Knockout Rose Bushes

  • They prefer full sun.
  • They do best in well-drained soil as opposed to hard clay soil.
  • If planting in hard clay soil, be sure to fill in your hole with plenty of fresh soil so its roots will be happy and be able to grow.
  • They too prefer lots of water at first, but again, it’s easy to over-water them.
  • Yellow leaves typically indicates too much water.
  • Brown leaves typically indicates not enough water.
  • New growth typically looks red/maroon in color.
  • You need to deadhead the dead blooms once they die. Simply cut off the dead blooms at the nearest “3” base, and soon a new, if not two or three blooms will grow back. Deadheading helps your rose bush bloom even more full than before.
  • Neem Oil is good for bugs.
  • You can also use a rose fertilizer. Be sure to only fertilize according to the directions!
  • They are fast growing, for the most part, and pretty resilient!
  • You need to pick off any bugs, caterpillars, or spiders you see.
  • It will feel like they bloom in waves throughout the summer.

Aloe Vera + Succulents

  • They don’t require much water, but just enough to moisten the soil every few days.
  • Full sun is best, but just watch the plant and see how it responds. I move mine into the shade if they seem to be getting too hot or dry. But, succulents are really made for the heat!
  • It is VERY easy to over-water succulents.
  • Aloe Vera can sprout babies, or “pups” which are clones that grow off the base of the original plant.
  • Succulents to me have been the most difficult to learn.
Once the weather cools off, I’m planning on re-potting this to bring it inside. Hopefully I can keep it alive inside – it’s gotten so big!

Petunias, Zinnias, Hydrangeas

  • These are some of my favorite because of how colorful they are but they are pretty difficult to maintain in a full sun yard without any shade during the day.
  • They need sun, but not necessarily FULL, harsh sun. They love a good partially shaded yard otherwise the sun will quite literally bake them. (Speaking from experience!)
  • They need a healthy amount of watering, but again, you don’t want to drown them. Daily watering is definitely best – especially Hydrangeas!
Hydrangea on the right – all that survived a long, hot summer! Ha!

Ferns

  • My new favorite! I have LOVED our fern all summer, but honestly, it’s looking pretty sad these days after I skipped one too many waterings when life got a little busy. If you’re diligent though about your watering, and keep it happy in the shade, they are SO easy and add the perfect amount of green to any space! I will definitely be adding one to our front porch next year!

Snake Plant + Indoor Plants

  • They need watering once a week or so, if that!
  • Certain indoor plants can help naturally purify the air in your home, per NASA!
  • Indoor plants are shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • They “thrive on neglect” – very little light, very little water, basically they are very difficult to kill!
  • If they’re in a well-lit room, just keep them out of the direct sun.
  • I’d love to buy a BIG snake plant to keep in a cute basket in the living room, once Barrett isn’t into everything!

If anything, I’ve learned that trying to grow ANYTHING in Texas is way more difficult than I thought. The heat, the soil, the sun – it seems to be a steep learning curve. But, it’s been a fun journey! Even if it’s just a little here and a little there. And now that we’re headed into fall/winter, it’s going to be another learning curve learning the art of indoor plants!

What are some of your favorite plants where you live? If I could plant a million big, beautiful hydrangea bushes, I would! My top fave for sure!

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