Beyond your own backyard
Gardening may seem like a solitary pursuit, but that's only to the uninitiated. Landscape architect Janet Rosenberg offers the following advice on how to connect with fellow green thumbs.
Join a gardening club. “Every town has one,” Rosenberg says. Chances are you'll find friendly people who share your passion for plants, and some of them have been gardening for years and have expert knowledge. If you have a big job to do, such as digging large beds, someone at the club might be able to recommend a reliable local contractor.
Connect with your neighbours. “Instead of buying soil by the bag, buy it by the truckload and then split it with your neighbours,” says Rosenberg. And trade plants with others, too. “You can drive down certain streets and see that the people who live on them have all traded because everybody has the same thing in front of their house. It's great. It really gives a sense of unification to the street.”
Go to a gardening show. They're wonderful for inspiration and education. At the larger ones, you can buy plants and furniture, and feature gardens will give you ideas that you can transplant to your own garden.
Visit a botanical garden. “Botanical gardens are great because everything is labelled, so if you love something you see, you can make note of it,” Rosenberg says. “That's how landscape architects do it. When there are new trials of plants, we look and maybe say, Oh, I don't like the way it performs in a garden, the leaves don't stand up, it's not a nice colour, the flower fades quickly – so we won't use it. But you might see something else and say, It was such a dry summer but look at that plant: it's still so beautiful, it's a great plant to use.”