Master Gardeners: Create a small garden
BY JOE WOLKING Ask a Master Gardener
Saturday, April 14, 2012
4/14/12 at 5:07 AM
I would like to start a small flower garden in my front yard. How do I go about it? I'm new at this. Beth, Broken Arrow
Bringing a flower garden to the front of your home is a great idea. Let your neighbors share in the color. A little work and some imagination can add colorful "street appeal."
We will presume your front lawn receives at least six hours of sun, that your grass is Bermuda and that you have access to water.
Let's start by giving thought to location, size and shape. Look at your home from across the street and decide where a small garden would give the most impact. Start small. You can always add size in following seasons as you become more comfortable.
The shape of your new garden is where you can become creative. Squares and circles can be boring. The easy way is to use a garden hose to design the outline. Give it some curves. Would longer and narrower be more suitable for your landscape? Try several shapes. Use your imagination.
Once you are satisfied with the shape, leave the hose in place. Now it's time to get rid of the Bermuda grass. The easiest way is to use a liquid grass killer spray containing glyphosate. Roundup is a popular brand. Read the label carefully. Pick a sunny, warm day without wind to avoid drifting of the spray. Bermuda is tough. It might take two or three applications, seven days apart to completely kill the roots.
Once the grass is dead, remove the hose and start tilling your new garden plot with a spade, or better yet, a power tiller. No need to pull the Bermuda; it is dead so you can till it right into the soil. This would also be the best time to till in a few bags of compost, available from your nursery or garden center.
Once you have accomplished all of this, add a good quality metal edging. It will save you the stress of the Bermuda invading your new garden plot.
Now comes the fun part - picking and planting your new garden. Since your plot is probably a smaller one, consider fewer and brighter plant materials. Dwarf evergreen shrubs, like a Boxwood, might look good in the center or back of the garden surrounded by several flowering perennials. Start higher in the back and work lower as you come forward. Read the tags on your plants to determine height, width and proper spacing of each plant.
As you move outward, you can use a filler of colorful annuals. Remember, your garden will be viewed from a distance, so mass your colors to give more impact. You might finish off your new garden with an edging plant.
Add some slow-release fertilizer as you plant. Water the plants thoroughly, and then add a two-inch layer of mulch to keep the soil moist and weeds under control. Pine bark mulch is a favorite of many. Deep watering, at least one inch each week during our hot summers, is the most important favor you can give your new garden.
Finally, sit back and enjoy your color and creativity. And plan your garden for next year.
For more, go to tulsaworld.com/mastergardener. If you have a garden-related question you would like the Master Gardeners to answer in a future column, call 918-746-3701.
Original Print Headline: A new garden takes water and imagination
- Tulsa Master Gardener's annual Spring Plant Sale is Thursday at Expo Square, Central Park Hall. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions and assist you in selecting just the right annuals, perennials or native plants for your garden and containers. The funds earned from the organization's annual sale support its many educational services and programs offered free of charge to the public.
- The spring household pollutant collection event at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds is a good opportunity to dispose of unwanted lawn and garden chemicals. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Enter through gate 7 off 15th Street.
Use imagination and a variety of colors when adding a garden. BILL SEVIER/Courtesy