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How to Garden Like a Pro

Spring has popped open like the buds on the Ash trees around our property. Now is the perfect time to get outdoors and begin tending to your garden, especially with nation-wide lock-downs currently limiting our ability to go elsewhere.

Members of Ash Street Cooperative have a benefit not common to other cooperatives around Park Forest: lawn care is included in the monthly maintenance fees! The beauty of this service is that our Members can focus exclusively on creating luxurious flower beds and gardens around their homes without having to spend time cutting their lawns. Considering this, we've decided to compile a few tips for our members on how to garden like a professional!

Tip #1 - Plan Ahead

Before any digging, planting or seeding, it's important to conceptualize how the garden or flower bed will look once it's done. It's also important to consider how the garden will look next year and possibly the year after if choosing to plant perennials (plants that naturally come back year after year). Because perennials tend to spread every year they come back, they can leave a much bigger footprint than when they were first put into the ground. Take time to read through planting information and possibly sketch out how you want your garden to look once completed. This simple step could be the difference between a crowded, overgrown-looking mess and a beautifully laid-out, floral masterpiece!

Tip #2 - Create Layers with Color and Height

From the street view, a garden can pop with alternating colors and height if done right. While planning ahead, as mentioned above, it's also important to consider how tall the plants will get once in full bloom. This not only creates a pleasing visual experience, but it also helps the shorter plants get the sun they need to thrive. Before planting, consider where the sun will hit your garden. Then, consider the plants and flowers you wish to plant. Place the shorter plants near the front and the taller plants near the back. If you have 2 plants of the same color, but differing heights, try placing an alternate-colored, mid-sized plant in between them to really make the colors pop.

Tip #3 - Feed & Water Regularly

After you've taken the time to design and plant your garden, it's important to keep it well fed and watered. This ensures that your leaves are bright green, flowers are vibrant and roots are healthy. Use a fertilizer designed for common, outdoor plants and be sure to read the instructions on how to use it properly. Too much can burn a plants roots and too little won't provide plants with the nutrients they need to thrive. Also, make sure to water early in the morning or late in the evening. This ensures that the water soaks down into the roots and doesn't get evaporated by the heat of the mid-day sun.

Tip #4 - Weed and Prune Regularly

Nothing takes away from the beauty of a garden than weeds! Weeds thrive on the same soil nutrients that your strategically-planned plants and flowers do. Removing weeds weekly helps to prevent them from taking much needed nutrients away from your plants. This also keeps the garden looking as crisp and organized as it did when you first planted it. Pruning helps keep excessive growth under control. Using a simple pruning shears, clip back overgrowth from the tops and sides of plants that appear to have grown like mad!

If you've followed the tips above, your garden is sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. With bold flowers and bright foliage, your garden will look beautiful the entire season long. Again, because members of Ash Street Cooperative do not have to spend time tending to their lawns, they have even more time to devote to their gardens. If this sounds like a great way to live, give us a call to find out if cooperative housing is the right fit for you! Call 708-747-9600

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