Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary 
How does your garden grow? 
With silver bells and cockleshells 
And pretty maids all in a row.
- Mother Goose

I'm not an outdoorsy type of girl. I don't like bugs, or nature, or sweating, to be honest. The most I do outside is sit on a screened-in porch while drinking a Diet Coke. When it comes to gardening, I throw my anti-outside rules out the window. We currently live in a townhouse in metro ATL and while we do have a small yard, there is plenty of room to plant ornamentals and shrubs.

The soil in North Georgia is much different than in South Georgia; nothing grows in the ground in South Georgia without tons of fill dirt hauled in from another region, fertilizer, compost if possible and an ample supply of plant food. The natural soil in South Georgia is sandy and rocky. Somehow, I did have great luck with Hydrangeas and Fairy Roses (petite roses)  but everything else was a struggle and died within a week or two.  Here's a picture of the mophead Hydrangeas that grew in our yard right before we moved to Atlanta....

I got this size blooms from mulch (completely covering the area where the flower was planted and at least three inches up the bottom of the plant, lots of watering and high pH levels in the soil. There's an old wives tale that if you add pennies to the soil of your Hydrangeas, that they will change colors. That is actually true. You can get the same results though by changing the pH levels in your soil. Just know that if you have white Hydrangeas, those will never change to another color.

You can use your favorite fertilizer/planting soil but make sure you choose the right mixture for your specific needs. I signed up for free garden tips and tricks tailored to my zip code at   This is not a paid endorsement; I really use these products. There's a line of organic products now available from Miracle Gro as well if you prefer natural products for your gardens/yards. It's worth a visit to the web page to help you make the right decisions for your plants, gardens, and lawn.

Southern Living Magazine is an excellent resource as is your local extension service office. Here is a link to the extension service offices in the state of Georgia. You can find the extension offices in your state with a simple Google search. My local extension office is offering a Master Gardener course and I would love to take part. Unfortunately, it's only offered during the work week.

How do you plan your gardens? Do you plant things randomly or do you make a plan? I'm a planner and need to have a guide to the area I'm working with, what's being planted and how to make the plants as successful as possible.

This printable garden planner is what I'm using this year and is available to print for free from This link will take you directly to the printable planner that is courtesy and property of Erin Huffstetler/

I like this printable binder because I can pick and choose which pages to print. I don't need the whole binder but just a few of the charts/diagrams. You will need to visit the links above to download the forms and charts.

Here are the sheets that I chose to use this year:

The square foot garden plan

The plant profile sheet

The monthly chore and maintenance list

Last but not least, the expense worksheet...

Tell me, dear readers... How do your gardens grow?
Do they grow at all?

With warmth and love,

CEO- The House of Q’s
Keep in touch!

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