One of the first things I learned early on was the importance of good dirt. Like most everything else if the ingredients aren’t just right, you can have problems. Good ingredients make for good outcomes. Aside from knowing I needed to tackle landscaping in smaller doses, I also needed to make sure the soil could accommodate my vision of colorful, thriving flowers and rich shrubbery.
Unless you haven’t already figured it out, I want it known early on that I am not an expert on gardening, but I have learned from my readings and nursery travels that rich soil makes a huge difference.
First, knowing what kind of soil you have is critical. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I had the hard clay variety, so dense it was difficult for me to put a shovel in the ground without a mighty effort. Can you imagine roots growing through such soil? Not good.
So this is how I started to work on having rich soil, or at the very least, richer soil. I sectioned a third of the area on our first terrace and began to haul up bags of E.B. Stone compost and top soil and dug it into the soil already there. To this day I still use the stuff; in fact, I swear by it. Hauling bags to the terrace is not an uncommon Sunday activity. Ask my husband.
To those who claim they will never achieve green thumb status, I balk. For the most part, good soil will never fail you. I am rewarded daily by the amount of worms that show themselves in the yard. Those little creatures make my day like no other.
There are times I try and take shortcuts. I plant without extra thought to soil. Usually this happens when I am tired and impatient. Not always wise although sometimes I am lucky. I am all for making things easier but I caution against short cuts. Remember it takes patience and trust and a willingness to go the extra mile to create something special and enduring, whether in a garden, a relationship, or with a piece of art.