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No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997
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Gardening for Beginners;
Basic gardening procedures, maps and guides

There is no such thing as "I can't Grow a Plant"...
You just haven't learned how to care for it properly yet!
Treddian is a very knowledgable Garden Gnome

The Basic Needs of the Plants in your Garden

All plant groups have the same elemental needs of water, light and air,
but the quantity and intensity of each of these elements varies greatly.

Cacti thrive in continuous sun with very little water,
but would quickly rot in a bog.
Mosses and Lichens won't survive without the cool, moist,
dimly lit environment of the forest floor.
Some plants grow well in alkaline soil, while others thrive in acidic soil.

The Rules of Gardening

Thankfully, gardening isn't based on a set of 'absolute rules' but can be more appropriately considered to be 'suggested guidelines' for growing.
With experience, you will learn to bend the rules a little and make adaptations to your gardens to allow you to grow a wider variety of plants to your landscape.
Shade can be created with plants or hardscape materials.
Drainage can be increased or slowed for drought tolerant or bog loving plants.

Soil can be amended and the pH can be adjusted.
Most plants can survive in a variety of soils with a pH ranging from moderately acidic to mildly alkaline.
Soil pH can be adjusted by the addition of lime to increase alkalinity or sulfur to raise the acidity.

Plant Growing Maps and Guides

A plant designated as 'hardy to zone 8' would never survive a winter in zone 5, but it might survive in zone 7 if planted right next to your house where the temperature is moderated a bit.
Do your research on the plants you'd like to grow and see if you can find a way to adapt your garden to suit their needs.

We chose to use the USDA Plant Hardiness Maps at The Garden Helper because they are more universally used by growers when rating a plants hardiness.

You will also want to check on the last killing frost date in your area before you begin planting.

Talking About Gardening, Botanically

Occasionally, a gardener's banter will suddenly begin to sound like a combination of strange foreign languages.
This babbling will normally stop after a while but if you start to get too confused over these strange phrases,
you may find the translation on the Why We Use Botanical Names page.

General gardening terms are defined on the Garden Glossary page...

Annuals or Perennials? Deciding what kind of garden you'd like to grow.
Selecting and Preparing the Planting Site to Grow your new Garden.
How to Plant Potted Plants into the Garden
How to Start and Grow new Plants from Seed, Indoors.
Planting and Growing a Vegetable Garden.
Growing Vegetables; Planting depths, Timing, Spacing and Growing Tips
How to Maintain and Care for your House Plants
Plant Indexes, Based on Specific Needs

Gardens and Gardening
Tea Garden at University of Washington Arboretum in Seattle Wa Inside Hummingbird House at the Gardens of Cedar Hill, Sultan Wa Butchart Botanical Gardens, Victoria BC, Canada