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From time-to-time we will share notes from our personal gardens such as plants we are finding to be invaluable, tips for helping the garden thrive as well as design tips. Today, Jennifer Smith shares her Notes From the Gardens. Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned over the years is to take the time to prepare your soil. The foundation of any successful garden is its soil- it’s the garden’s lifeblood. A garden with carefully amended soil is far more forgiving of busy, absent-minded gardeners than a garden that has its roots in hard, dry, lifeless soil. Or, perhaps worse yet, soil that is sopping wet and cold. Case in point, my gardens at the Bettman Nature Preserve. For reasons I shall not bore you with, the courtyard garden has an area that was wet. No, it was beyond wet, it smelled like a bog. Fortunately the park provides me with a constant stream of pine fine amendments. I have come to love the sight of stacks of pine fine bags awaiting me in the parking lot. It’s a lot of work, turning in the amendment, but the results speak for themselves.After turning in bags upon bags of pine fines, I started to install new plants. Immediately I noticed the impatiens added to the newly altered soil thrived. The same plants, from the same nursery planted the same day in the garden’s original soil languished. The reason- the soil that was not altered was too wet and lacked air circulation and life. The amended soil drains much more freely and is teaming with worms. I even have more birds in the garden this year.

Take Away Put in the time and effort to prepare your garden’s soil. If you don’t have the time or energy to handle such a task, call us. I know it’s not the most exciting part of a garden project, but you will be rewarded in spades with healthy, thriving plants. This is simply a step you can’t afford to skip!

~ Jennifer Smith

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