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Spring Gardening with Cold Feet

Get motivated to warm those cold feet and create a garden that is uniquely you by following these five helpful spring gardening tips from author, illustrator and blogger Steve Asbell of The Rainforest Garden. Tuesday Morning has great deals on all of the planters, decorative outdoor accessories and garden tools you’ll need to get started!

I may write about gardening for a living, but I suffer from the same self-doubt, cold feet and general apathy as anyone else when it comes to actual real-life gardening. Because I’ve recently conquered my own fear of failure, I thought it would be fitting to share some tips to help you do the same.

Gardening might seem intimidating at first, but will no doubt bring you joy and confidence in your everyday life, whether you’re finding a new appreciation for the ordinary roadside shrubs on your way to work, or appreciating tiny and once-overlooked details like ladybugs on your window and unfamiliar wildflowers blooming on your morning walk.

I know it sounds ludicrous to suggest that shopping is a cure for the winter blues, but it wouldn’t be a stretch. Planning and curating a collection of the things that bring you joy is a transformative experience, regardless of what goodies actually make it to the checkout. Here are some other ways to get your creative juices flowing and your new garden growing.

spring gardening tips

Open the Windows

Close the laptop, put the phone back into your pocket, and open up all the curtains for some sunlight and a better view. It might not be gardening, but paying attention to your backyard and all its imperfections will help you turn it into something beautiful. Don’t get overwhelmed with the thought of landscaping your entire yard just yet; the everyday view from your window should be your first priority. Put out some birdseed where you can conveniently enjoy the show with a pair of binoculars, and plan your garden around that view.

Taking it a step further, go for a walk around the neighborhood and make a note of any plant combinations or garden layouts that you’d like to pull off in your own garden. Your neighborhood is the best source of inspiration, because you can easily see which plants will thrive in your region’s climate and soil.

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Garden Indoors

Adding greenery of any sort to your home is a surefire pick-me-up, bringing a touch of the outdoors to your everyday life. An unassuming tray table is a perfect platform for seed starting since it can be placed in a sunny window and relocated elsewhere once you’ve transplanted the seedlings outdoors. Grow tall houseplants like palms or ficus trees in large pots and place them in well-lit corners where they’ll visually anchor brightly-lit rooms with their peppy foliage. For a tabletop statement, create a miniature ecosystem by assembling a collection of succulents or ferns in a glass terrarium.

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Grow Something Special

You’ll feel a deeper connection to your garden if you’re growing things that genuinely make you happy, so splurge a little and grow plants that really matter to you. I’m personally a collector of succulents and bromeliads, but since it still freezes here in Northeast Florida, growing them outdoors takes a little creativity. I grow succulents in pots on a sunny baker’s rack, and on cold nights I have the choice of either covering the entire rack with a frost blanket or bringing the pots indoors. I’ve made interesting little vignettes from my bromeliad collection so that they can not only be enjoyed together, but covered up whenever there’s a frost warning. My collections are good enough on their own, but I decided to accessorize a little with a few of my Tuesday Morning finds. Can you spot them?

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Bring out your Toys

You might call them garden decorations, but let’s just enjoy them for what they are: Toys. They may capture our imaginations and lend the garden a bit of whimsy, but too many of them can make the garden room into a cluttered mess. It doesn’t take much to give your garden a healthy dose of character, so carefully choose pieces that fit your color palette and style, and arrange them with a purpose. Hang a little dangling snail or two on your flowerpots, or tuck colorful birds into garden vignettes where they can glimmer in the morning sunlight. When displayed with restraint, garden decorations appear as if they’re not mere ornaments, but an essential part of your own unique garden.

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Tackle Gardening Chores

The narrow strip of weeds in my side yard is living proof that I am a total procrastinator. Having given up on the spot after a few years of pulling weeds, I decided to use it as a dumping ground for any leaves, branches and any other clippings that I was too lazy to put in the compost pile. When some adventurous sweet potato vines decided to invade from another garden bed last year, I was happy to let them ramble over the eyesore and maybe even crowd out some weeds in the process. They died back in December and were promptly forgotten until I noticed a bright pop of orange poking out through the dead weeds. It was a sweet potato. All the dead clippings and weeds had decomposed into rich, black compost that crumbled away to reveal sweet potato after sweet potato. By the time I remembered I had a Tuesday Morning bag of gardening tools in the garage, I already had an aching back, blisters from yanking up woody stems and muddy knees on my dress plants. It was all worth it, of course, but that kneeling pad sure would have come in handy.

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Lastly, find motivation in the fact that plants are not stagnant. They grow taller, they fill in, they bloom and they flourish – but it takes time for it to resemble the garden you’ve imagined all along. You should give yourself realistic expectations, but give your garden enough time and it will exceed those expectations by a long shot.

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Steve Asbell

Meet the Contributor

Blog: The Rainforest Garden

My home Tuesday Morning location: Orange Park, FL

My favorite Tuesday Morning department: Gardening and Cooking

A little about me: I’m a blogger, author and illustrator, and happily do it all with a rambunctious toddler at my side. I am the author of Plant by Numbers: 50 Houseplant Combinations to Decorate your Space, and was selected by Southern Living as a Blogger to Follow in 2015 for my blog The Rainforest Garden.

What I love to write about: Gardening, art, food and interior decorating

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4 Comments

  1. Reply Gay Batson Jaggers

    I love the fact that little special surprises can be intermingled in your garden that hold meaning for you -the eye of the beholder.

  2. Reply Virginia Carrasco

    Love your post

  3. Reply Joyce Seavor

    Love your groupings and imagination! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Reply Lindy wong

    I had fun reading all the notes that was written. I love gardening and also like to shop atbTuesdsy morning