It's that time of year again...Spring, when nature goes through its renewal
cycle of life. If left to its own devices, everything would
be green, and everything would be natural. But one of the
wonderful things about nature is that we have the ability to
harness it into a place of our very own... our "garden".
Gardening is not for everyone, it takes time, energy, planning and
patience. But to those of us that have what it takes, it is
a pure joy that has immeasurable rewards! A beautiful garden
should be thought of as part practicality, and part art. A
well thought out garden will be a place that you will always enjoy
being, and a place that provides you with nourishment... mentally,
physically and spiritually.
Planning for your garden can be done either on paper or in your
head. But this is an important step because in some areas,
seeds need to be started inside several weeks before they can be
planted outside. If you live in a warm climate where it
doesn't freeze, you don't need to worry about that. In fact,
you might not even know what I'm talking about when I talk about
the renewal of nature in Spring! But bare with me, you'll
still get something out of all this.
For those of you that lead by intuition and inspiration, you will
want to just head straight to the nursery to find plants that
excite you. That's fine, but before you go and start
grabbing anything that catches your eye, sit down (or even lay
down) and envision exactly what your perfect garden will
taste like. Think of all of the ways that your garden
will be useful to you as well.
We used to only think of a garden for food and visual pleasure.
Now that you're learning about all-natural beauty, think about how
you can use the herbs and flowers to make your own beauty and
healthcare products. We have many all-natural
beauty remedies and recipes right on this site that can be helpful
for you to consider when planning your garden. Perhaps
you'll have an herb garden that is separate from your flower
garden. Read and learn about herbs and their uses regularly.
It's an ongoing study that will enrich your life, I assure you.
Another thing to consider when planning your garden is scent.
What are your favorite scents? Jasmine, Rose, Gardenia?
If these are the scents that make you feel happy, plant them!
Do you know how much it would cost to be able to purchase the
essential oils made of these flowers?
of dollars an ounce! Yet you can have the plant that they
come from for a fraction of the cost, and be able to smell them
Visualize the appearance of your perfect garden. Do
you want multi-colored flowers? Would you like to have
the whole garden be in hues of whites and pinks?
Perhaps one area of the garden could be bright reds and
oranges while another is in pastel blues, purples and pinks.
Your garden can be your canvas if you do some creative
planning. Also, you'll want to keep in mind that some
plants flower for a short period of time, while others bloom
throughout most of the
season. These are just some of the important things that
you'll have to keep in mind while planning the garden of your
Buy a good book (or several) that tells you how to prepare the
soil for each of them. In other words, find out how to
nourish them with the proper plant food and soil amendments to
maintain their foliage and blooming life properly. Learn how
to prune them and maintain their growing patterns. You'll
need to know where to plant them as well. Each plant will
have its own requirements for a proper environment (shady, sunny,
wind-free etc..). This information will be in your gardening
books, as well as listed on the plant marker when you go to the
nursery. If these things are not listed on the marker, ask
someone at the nursery. More than likely, they will be very
happy to share a lot of great information with you. Once you
learn the basic needs of each plant that you intend to grow you'll
be set to enjoy them right through the season!
While you are in the planning phase (for left brainers this means
pencil in hand, for right brainers this means eyes closed, flat on
back) imagine yourself walking up to your front door, or
coming out your back door into your garden. What is the
first scent that you want to reach out to you? If it's the
Jasmine, cover a trellis or railing with it right by the door.
Do you want to see humming birds and butterflies through your
kitchen window? Plant some Bee Balm, a Butterfly Bush, some
heliotrope or perhaps some cosmos just below your view.
If you enjoy butterflies, there are several flowers that they love
and will keep them happy in your garden. Hummingbirds will
come around for your red flowers, so if you want to invite them,
just grow plenty of red flowers or offer them a hanging bird feeder
especially made for them in a bright shade of red.
Are you getting inspired yet?
Inspiration is the key to a great garden. Lead by your
senses and you can do no wrong. That is unless you
over-extend yourself. Which one of us hasn't decided to
plant too much, have a pond, a well, a gazebo, a foot bridge, a
bird bath, and a few trellises only to find out that it just
became overwhelming and took the fun right out of the whole
thing?! Know your limitations, and remember... a garden is
something that doesn't need to be finished in one season or one
year. Plan for this season, yet see your options for the
future. Maybe the foot bridge can be put in
Like I said earlier, a beautiful garden should be thought of
as part practicality, and part art. It should also be
a lot of fun. The rewards you reap should far outweigh
the effort and work that goes into it. If it doesn't,
then you've overextended yourself. Learn to do the
things that help you avoid unnecessary chores.
Mulching is a great idea to avoid laborious weeding.
That's where you cover the exposed areas with a substance to
block out the sun, so that it doesn't
the plants that would naturally grow (weeds). If you don't,
seeds of all types will sprout and you'll be stuck pulling them
out all season.
Plan ways of getting into your beds so that you can easily step in
for maintenance. This can be done in attractive ways with
good planning. Stepping stones can be functional for this
purpose as well as visually appealing. Creating pathways
made of stones are beautiful, once again, make sure to not leave
spaces for the weeds to pop up by filling in between the stones
with sand and gravel.
Make a pledge to yourself that this year will be the year you go
all-natural in the garden. After all, what is the point of
using all-natural products if they started their life with
un-natural chemicals? Learn what you need to know to keep
harmful pests out of your garden. Jeanne Rose's advice for
deterring bugs and snails is to "place a ring of copper around the
base of plants. Also, a natural pest repellant formula is 1
T soap, 1 quart water, several squeezed garlic cloves. Put
in a sprayer with big holes (or it will get clogged by the
Garlic). Spray every day or so."
All garden pests, whether they be fungus, snails or deer can
be deterred by bringing some type of substance or physical
barrier that they don't like, or can't get around.
There are answers to these problems besides the use of
harmful chemicals and traps. Our ancestors have been
dealing with these issues long before the invention of the
spray can. You'll just need to do some investigating.
There is a lot of great information on this subject.
Just knowing which plants to grow next to
plants will help to deter certain pests and problems. Again,
a great place for information is from your local nursery.
Plants are their business, and they are the most familiar with the
pests in your area. Just remember, if you have beautiful
plants, there will be invaders that want what you've provided.
It's a natural course of events. But please believe me
when I say... there are
natural alternatives to keep them out.
So you want to grow your own beauty products this year, huh?
I'll be the first to tell you that it's a great idea! Living
in this one-stop-shopping world has created somewhat of a barrier
to nature. So many people look at a beauty product and see
the word "natural" or "nature" and buy it. Why?
Because deep down they want to return to what is
they've been programmed to reach for the bottle or jar instead of
the actual plant. By growing your own beauty herbs, you'll
be using nature's pure bounty to beautify. Using 100%
phyto-nutrients instead of man's concocted chemical derivatives is
obviously the healthiest way to be beautiful. You'll notice
the difference immediately, and things will only improve with
Here are a few herbs that I would
definitely recommend having in your garden for your beauty needs:
Aloe (Aloe Vera)
- This is a plant that you should have in abundance.
And you will if you care for it properly. By watering
it just enough, but not too much, keeping it from getting
too much sun, and giving it enough soil space, it will
reward you with babies that will continue to grow and
procreate. Just dig up the main plant with the babies
(new plants) once a year, and re-plant them separately.
This is the most important plant to have when you have a sunburn,
scrape, rash or sting. It is soothing and cooling on contact
and helps to reduce inflammation. Just take off one of its
lower leaves and open it up. You'll see a gel-like
substance. This is the part that you'll want to rub on the
affected area. It works instantly. Once you know the
soothing, healing properties of this plant, you will never want it
to be far from you. Bring this plant inside for the cool
winter months if you live in a freezing climate or it will not
officinalis) - This is one of my favorite herbs!
The scent is intoxicating, and I love to plant this herb in
several places around the garden so that I can smell it at
every turn. Rosemary is grouped into two types, the
type that spreads sideways, and the type that grows straight
up. Make sure that you use the correct type in the
area that you choose it for. The spreading variety
will work well in a hanging basket or in an area that you
cover. The upright growing type will work well in a pot or
in the middle or back of a bed.
Rosemary. It's fresh clean scent is a natural for hair care.
It also has a reputation for keeping hair shiny and bright as well
as fighting dandruff. A rinse can be made out of the leaves
by steeping them in hot water for at least 15 minutes until the
herbal properties are left in the water. Strain and pour the
cooled mixture over clean hair at the end of your bath or shower.
Do not rinse it off.
Roman Chamomile (C.
Chamomile (M. recutita)-
Both varieties have virtually identical properties.
This apple-scented herb is so pretty in the garden with it's
tiny almost daisy-like flowers. Just as Rosemary has a
spreading and upright type of growing pattern, Chamomile
does as well. The spreading version of this plant
looks beautiful in-between stepping stones in a pathway, and
the smell when brushed upon is a lovely treat.
Blond hair will shine with natural highlights when a Chamomile
rinse is used upon it. In fact, highlights will be brought
out in brunette hair as well. Make the rinse out of the
flowers the same way as you would the Rosemary rinse.
Chamomile is known for its anti-inflammatory and sedating
properties, so a freshener for the skin is also a lovely way to
use this beautiful herb. You'll also appreciate having this
herb when you want to make a relaxing tea that helps to aid
There are a myriad of herbs to grow for beauty care needs.
Like I've said before, you can never have too many books about
herbs on your shelf. Start slowly and get to know each
different herb at your own pace. It's through nurturing them
as they grow that you truly learn about them. When they are
used for your personal beauty and health needs, they will nurture
you back. What a beautiful relationship!
Just remember... however your garden turns out this year, there's
always next year to start again, to add more depth and different
species and to try new gardening techniques. It's a lifelong
process of having fun and learning about nature in your own
private space... your garden. I wish you much
success and many happy days!