Take Your Time
If you've designed a beautiful garden, assessed your soil and garden conditions and purchased your plants, it's now time to do what some people consider the most satisfying step in creating a garden: planting. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for this task; tackling it in a measured way will help your treasures thrive.
Choose a dry, fine time when the soil is not frozen or too wet. Gather all necessary tools - fork, spade, fertilizer, and watering can - so you have everything you need on hand. Weed the soil, paying special attention to pesky perennials, like dandelions or Canada thistle. Then, fork in fertilizer and dig holes.
The new plants will need to be soaked well prior to planting. The best way to do this is to immerse them in water while they are still in their pots. Leave them soaking until the bubbles disperse, then remove them from the water and allow them to drain.
Bare-rooted trees, roses or shrubs should be planted between fall and early spring. Container-grown plants can go in the ground at any time, but hardy plants, like these lupines, are best planted in fall when the soil is still warm and moist. Leave more tender types until spring, as young plants may not survive a cold, wet winter.
Give Plants Space
Allow space for shrubs and trees, like this Japanese maple, to spread; the area needed should be indicated on the plant label. Bare patches can always be filled in with seasonal flowers, or screened by containers or an easily moved ornament, such as a bird bath.
Early spring or early fall are the best times to establish a lawn, whether you are using sod or sowing seed. Water new grass frequently in the early stages and in dry spells, and avoid walking on it for a few months, if possible.
Giving your new purchases a good start will repay dividends for years to come in the form of strong, healthy plants that continually give a good show, season after season.