Smart Options for Brown-Thumbed Gardeners

Smart Options for Brown-Thumbed Gardeners
  • Opening Intro -

    Only green-thumbed gardeners have what it takes to produce a varied and massive display of flowers, right?

    Well, not quite.


Fortunately, even gardeners with a “brown thumb” can succeed by choosing the types of plants that are most likely to thrive under a variety of weather conditions and survive neglect. The brown-thumbed gardener may not have the best display on the block, but any individual with even just a minimum desire to see her garden flourish can do so and without much trouble.

Know Your Garden

Gardens vary from climate to climate, therefore what works in Minnesota will certainly not work in Arizona. The opposite is true too. This is where a visit to your local garden center can pay off, with horticulturists on hand to guide you.

You can explain your position to a gardening professional, an individual that can help you choose what to plant. For instance, you know that perennials are beautiful, but require regular maintenance. Instead of opting for what you know that you won’t regularly maintain, choose something easy to plant such as an azalea. Specifically, select an encore azalea for twice yearly blooms. Your main job is to remove faded blooms twice annually.

Use Garden Containers

Soil problems, garden availability and various growing issues may make gardening a chore for some people. You can overcome this problem by using containers such as hanging baskets, window boxes and planters to showcase your plants.

Containers alone can provide a focal point for your yard. Add in your choice plants and container gardening can convey a mood you weren’t able to enjoy earlier. Such as an aged wheelbarrow filled with fresh soil and displaying a riot of summer flowers. Or a converted scrub tub that can be repurposed for the same.

You can choose any type of container provided that it can hold soil and has drainage holes. Don’t let this stop you from transforming an old milk container if that is what you want to use. You’ll need to drill holes to provide the drainage and may need to do some other modifications such as removing the lid.

Displaying Annuals and Perennials

Container gardening is favored by gardeners that want to showcase annuals and perennials, colorful plants that might otherwise not make it in a neglected garden. The advantage with containers is that plants can easily be swapped out with the season.

Pansies can be planted just before spring or if you choose a hearty, cold-resistant variety, some can thrive throughout the winter in more temperate climates. Select tulips and hyacinths are also cold tolerant, ideal for early spring planting.

Your summer plant choices are many and can include petunias, wishbone flowers, geraniums, salvia, marigold, snapdragon, potato vine, coleus, impatiens and begonias. Your garden shop can advise you what plants thrive best in your area.

Fall gardening means replacing your summer flowers well before the first frost to capture colors that are still vibrant including coneflowers. Rudbeckia, million bells, stonecrop and asters can look great in your containers too. In late fall, put in the pansies and you may enjoy a rich display of flowers all winter long.

Your Cooperative Extension

Every state, district and territory has one: cooperative extension system offices that are tied-in with its respective land-grant university. Regional and local offices provide assistance to farmers and gardeners alike, staffed by one or more experts.

Your local cooperative extension can help you put away your brown gardening ways, by providing tips, seminars, classes and personal advice on how to care for your garden. And once your knowledge and confidence has been built up, you just may be able to add ground gardening to the mix.

Take that, brown thumb!



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Categories: Garden Plants

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".