For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Jul 29

Your Questions About Gardening

Daniel asks…

How do I start a garden? Any good books on the subject?

I just bought a house with a terrible back yard and want to rip out some grass (moss, really) and put in a garden. All the books I have seen assume I have a palacial estate and unlimited funds. Anyone know a planning book that deals with reality and not fantasy? I want to start a garden and maybe do some simple landscaping. I am in the Northwest. Thanks!

GardenersCardiff answers:

I second whoever said start small; don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick a small area, dig out all the moss. Turn over the soil with a pitchfork. Add manure. If you have a lot of clay in your soil, you will also want to add topsoil. If your soil is loose or sandy, you will want to add peat or spagnum moss. Assuming this is your first garden, stick to plants that are super-easy to grow and don’t need alot maintaince. Check the tags on the plants and get ones that will like the microclimate in which you’ll be placing them – ie, if your area is shady, you will want plants that say “part shade.” And if something doesn’t work – don’t sweat it! Just try something else :)

You may want to contact your local botanical society, or any local university’s botanical or horticultural programs for recommendations as well.

Some useful links:
USDA Zone Map –

Books on gardening in the northwest US –

Gardening Basics –,1784,HGTV_3589,00.html

Donald asks…

How do I write a proffessional letter asking for permission to garden a vacant lot?

I wish to turn a vacant lot by my house into a community garden. It is privately owned, and has been vacant for 10 years plus. I did some research and it is suggested that I write a letter to the owner of the lot, asking for permission to garden the land. I must be specific with details. The thing is.. I dont know what would be some good things to consider, besides the obvious. Any suggestions? Links? Any and all help is appreaciated. Thank you

GardenersCardiff answers:

I Would Start with How are you going to work the land?By Hand or do You Have Tillers or Larger Equipment? Make sure There are No Water Gas Or Sewage Lines Running Thru the Property…LMAO Or at Least Know How Deep They Are( Hit a Few Lines in My Day LOL) Do You Have a Water Supply?Who will pay that bill?How Will You Secure the Garden? (From Pest Stray Animals ,Rodents,Vandals) Can you Have a Compost container or spot?Make sure The Owner Will not Be Held Liable for Anyone Who May get Hurt while Gardening ..By Tools or Slip and Fall.Make sure You ALL Agree weather or Not Your Going To Grow Organically or Not…Or What kind of Pesticides and fertilizers Need to be Used.I Would Get Together with The Other Growers FIRST and See what You Guys wanna do THEN Talk to The Owner…Maybe check with the City to Make sure There are No Zoning Laws(Broke a Few of Those in My Day Too) LOL GOOD Luck..and Have Fun..Keep Us Updated if You Succeed..

Charles asks…

Irish Garden in Zone 5?


I live near Cleveland, Ohio. I live in a 1 level ranch home built in 1959.

We just had all of the landscaping/bushes torn out from the entire front of the house to have our basement waterproofed.

I am left with a blank slate to work with and would like to take a swing at gardening.

I love the look of Irish gardens. However, I do not know where to start with choosing plants to fit this look. Especially since I’m in zone 5.

Also, I’m only strarting with the front landscape. I was wondering if there are certain key elements to a Irish Garden?

And ideas, suggestions to get me started?


GardenersCardiff answers:

You may find this article of how an Irish garden is built from the beginning. I became fascinated with the transformation. You may too :)

More Irish gardens:

“Most people like to have a paved area, others like a water feature, or containers, statues, drystone walls, scree beds, garden lighting, balustrades and steps, pergolas, timber seats, imposing gate pillars, fountains, secret gardens, trellis fences, even garden gnomes…for small gardens, it is best to stick to a few firm favourites, and not to try to fit in too much.”
This site has a number of plans to choose from:

Make use of objects found in the natural environment, like rocks & stones to make walkways or planting beds. Perennial plants you can use are:Echinacea, Penstemon, Columbine (Aquilegia ), Brunnera, Honeysuckle, Sea Lavender, Cornflower, Lavender, Clematis, Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis), Hydrangea, tulips & Daffodils.

Sea Lavender (Statice Limonium)

Brunnera macrophylla Variegata:

Reseeding annuals like Love in a mist will fill in “holes” in your perennial border & give you tons of plants for a small investment:

Good luck!!! Hope this helps.

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