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How to Get the Gardening Information You Need

Apr 9, 2008
Many a would-be gardener is at a loss to know how to get the information and the supplies that he needs. He does not know where to learn about gardening, either directly or through books; or where to buy plants, seeds, fertilizers, sprays, and tools.

He is often carried away by advertisements offering cheap plants of unknown origin; innumerable novel appliances , or gadgets, guaranteed to take all the work out of gardening, and sprays and weed killers guaranteed to make the garden grow and weeds disappear without any effort on anybody's part - least of all the gardener himself. A person thus misled finds himself, in the end, surrounded by dead and dying plants, enough bottles to stock a drug store, and enough tools to supply the neighborhood - without the remotest idea what to do with them himself.

Information

Short courses are given in many towns' dens, horticultural societies, arboretums, community centers, and schools. They can be very helpful, since they offer practical instruction and often an opportunity to work with materials yourself.

Questions sent to garden editors of papers and magazines are always answered. Botanic gardens generally give information by letter and by telephone. County extension agents also are available by phone or letter, too.

Libraries of botanic gardens and horticultural societies have good collections of books on gardeners. Public libraries, at least in the larger town, have the important garden encyclopedias and the more popular garden books. The gardener can see these books and decided which ones would be most useful for him to own.

If books seem too complicated for beginners, there are several garden magazines available which give timely information on what to do in the garden, and also include newsworthy garden information. Most of these magazines are on file in public, botanic garden and horticultural libraries, or may be obtained regularly by subscription.

Many special plant societies, devoted to one group of plants such as rose, iris, daffodil, dahlia and chrysanthemum, publish their own magazines and yearbooks which are in horticultural libraries and are supplied to their members.

Plants

Catalogs are published by most of the reputable dealers. Generally these are sent free on request; and while there is a small charge for some, they are well worth it. Dealers with good reputations of long standing are safest for beginners.

In the group are firms that specialize in certain kinds of plants, such as iris, peonies, gladiolus, African violets, hemerocallis and unusual plants.

Visits to nurseries are a great help; these should be made when plants are in full flower or growth. (Be considerate of the nurseryman's time if you are only "looking.") By seeing plants at their best season one can choose the plants he likes and get a better idea of price in relation to size. In arboretums and botanic gardens, choice plants correctly labelled may be seen.

There are many opportunities for the beginner gardener to gain valuable information which he can then put into practice in his own garden. Over time, his own experience will become his best guide.
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