Excellent Spring Gardening Advice

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious.

Today’s special guest is my mom, Marion O’Connor, a gardening guru. She shared this interview with me before she passed away. Her garden was always the prettiest on the street and filled with a huge variety of beautiful colour, shape and scent. She shared some tips on filling your garden.

When do you start planning for your summer garden? M: I’m always thinking about the garden. When all the flowers start to fade in the autumn, I’m already thinking about what I will do differently next year, and when it is winter, I imagine what the garden will look like in the spring.

And I know you like to change it up – with the colour or placement of flowers. All the thought you put into it shows! How do you start plants from seeds? M: I love to start seeds under the grow lights. It gives me an early start in the garden. You can plant most seeds about 6-8 weeks before they go in the garden. However, I usually start them about now as I really want to see something growing in the dead of winter. I usually take the seeds from the flowers in the autumn, keep them dry, and then plant them in special potting soil. I found that it is easier to just plant them in a flat bed rather than in individual pots. You can divide some plants like geraniums at this time of year by just taking cuttings from the mother plant.

I love that idea of using the seeds from the plants in the garden. Sometimes I have annuals that I really like and it’d be great to see them grow again the next year. How do you divide plants when they get too big? M: Most of the perennials in the garden can be divided if they grow in clumps. The most common way to divide them is to dig them up, then take a sharp spade and cut through the roots, leaving a piece of root on each clump. Then just replant them.

Sounds like a workout! Do you fertilize? How often do you water? M: In the winter plants should not be fertilized. As soon as the days start to get longer, then I start fertilizing, using only a very weak solution whenever I water. I have not started to fertilize my plants yet. Most plants are killed by overwatering. Especially in the winter I only water the plants when the soil is dry, and I try not to let the plant sit in water.

Ah, that could explain my lack of success with plants over the winter J. Do you mix vegetables with flowers in your garden? M: As my garden is pretty small, I do not grow a lot of vegetables. However, I like to grow herbs and I usually scatter them among the flowers. This way you get the mix of the green of the herbs with the colour from the flowers.

I like the scent of lavender and thyme, too. Any advice for first time gardeners who want a colourful but low maintenance garden? M: First you need to realize what direction your garden is facing; how much shade it gets; how much sunlight; what are the soil conditions (sandy or clay) and then go to a reputable nursery armed with this information. Ask questions and pick out some perennials that will thrive in the conditions of your garden. After that, you can supplement the plants with annuals that are colourful.

Or ask your mom to come and pick out plants for you :D.

If you had to pick a song to be your theme song, what would it be? M: Don’t Fence Me In (because I want my garden to go on and on).

What is your favourite dessert? M: Yogurt and Fruit (especially if it is frozen)

Such a good role model (didn’t wear off though, I favour chocolate and cookies). I was very lucky that my mom loved gardening because in the spring she’d come and garden so that I could write! Keep active everyone – and let’s keep our fingers crossed that warm weather is just around the corner so you can get out into the garden (you, not me)!




  1. Ping from GEORGE EASTWOOD:

    Such lovely memories to have and to hold onto, and to share.