I am a beginner to gardening, we are in Scarborough. I wanted to know how to start gardening
Welcome to the fulfilling world of plants and gardening!
Most garden experts say that you should start with soil and light, i.e., what kind of soil you have – do you have compacted, clay soil? Or a sandy loam soil that is easy to dig? How many hours of sunshine do you get throughout the day in your space, i.e., is your garden sunny, shady, or something in between? These two considerations alone will be very important in choosing the right plants that will do well in your garden.
You don’t say what kind of a garden you are considering, but that is the next question to ask yourself. How large is your space? Do you have any existing trees or shrubs that you will want to work around? An existing patio or deck? Fencing? You will want to plan for the large, structural elements of your garden first, before anything else, as these are the most difficult and expensive to change after the fact.
Are you thinking of trees and shrubs, perennial plants that return year after year, containers around a patio, or raised vegetable beds? Many people find it useful to think in terms of activities or “rooms” when they are considering how to design their outdoor spaces. Gardeners are increasingly interested in planting native species, and plants that attract pollinators, for instance.
A walk around your neighbourhood can give you a good idea of what others with similar front and back gardens are doing, and also, importantly, what plants thrive in your local micro-climate and soil conditions. If you see a fantastic garden that appeals to you, do ask about it when you see the homeowner – gardeners are always happy to talk about their passion!
It is all too easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of gardening information available, whether in print form or online. Some aspiring gardeners find inspiration from popular sites like Pinterest or Houzz. Often the most useful information is local, for example, Toronto gardening author Frankie Ferrugine’s website, http://www.frankieflowers.com/tips-for-easy-gardening, or Tara Nolan, who lives just outside of Toronto: https://savvygardening.com/author/admin/
Local large nurseries offer design services, but given the current restrictions, in-person consultations may not be feasible. Do check the websites of large local garden centres – there are often downloadable landscape plans available for inspiration – these are helpful in giving you a sense of size and scale, both in terms of your own garden space and the spacing and mature size of plants. If you think you could use some professional landscaping help, an online search of your part of the city will give you a good idea of the professionals working in your neighbourhood and examples of their work. Landscape Ontario also offers a comprehensive list of professionals.
The Toronto Master Gardeners has a terrific series of Gardening Guides on specific topics – check out our website to look at them. The Toronto Botanical Gardens is also offering gardening advice clinics featuring two of our expert Master Gardeners – check out the website and sign up, if you like: https://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/virtual-gardening/free-online-gardening-advice-clinic/?fbclid=IwAR2QG8qFxJe_TuhbJUKK-iQ19INXPvdojf0dPU1VZzMWD0wmz-xH5MgRIqk
I hope this has given you a bit of a starting point from which to embark on your adventures in gardening.