Would you rather spend time in your garden or with your spouse? According to a recent Ipsos-Reid survery conducted for HGTV Canada, 21 per cent of Canadians prefer the backyard to the bedroom. That's not the only dirty little secret revealed. It seems one in five homeowners compete with neighbours for best garden and greenest lawn, while another 17 per cent admit to stealing flowers from other people's gardens.
If you prefer to do it yourself than to snip and run, Kathy Renwald can help. "Everything starts with the quality of the soil," says the host of HGTV's Calling All Gardeners and Gardener's Journal. She suggests adding compost to the garden to improve the soil.
If you're itching to get your hands dirty, read up on the best plants for your zone. "Plant the things that will be happy there," she explains. "They'll be able to fend for themselves and you'll be able to enjoy your garden more because it won't be such a chore."
Gardening trends tend to go in cycles and this year sees a great resurgence of annuals. "They are so much more interesting than they used to be," says the master gardener. With so many beautiful pots on the market, container gardening continues to dominate, particularly for those who do not have large yards but who still want a landscaped look. Water gardening also returns, with the use of ceramic and dwarf aquatic plants to add visual interest.
Even with all the new garden accessories and designs, you shouldn't disregard the basics. "People tend to forget the importance of shrubs and trees," she says. "Once they get a good start, you don't have to do anything with them." Small flowering trees are also easy to integrate into a garden and ornamental grasses not only give your landscaping height, but almost maintenance-free elegance.
If you're still uncertain as to how to proceed with your garden, take a peak over the fence. "People shouldn't overlook what their neighbour is doing," says Kathy. "It's a great way to learn, and if they can do it in their garden, then you can do it in yours as well."
Just don't steal their flowers.