Maybe you’ve never grown anything more than a potted houseplant, or nothing at all. Maybe you aren’t sure if you have enough space. Or maybe it has been years since you’ve turned soil and sown seeds. Whatever your level of experience, the approach of spring can infect almost anyone with a compulsion to start a garden.

OK, so you are thinking maybe…but then again you may not be sure where to begin. Visit any garden center and you’ll soon see there are so many choices to consider. I know it can be confusing, even overwhelming. Good news, the folks at the National Garden Bureau have been thinking about you, and offer a bit of advice on getting started and following through for success, no matter what you decide to plant.

Top tips for a beginning gardener:

1. Decide on the type of garden you want then plant what you love and what makes you happy. Is there a certain theme or color scheme you want to follow?

a. Annual Flowers

b. Perennials

c. Herbs

d. Vegetables

2. Want to start small? Try container gardening because then all you have to do is buy a premixed potting mix. Another added benefit is if you place your container in a too sunny or too shady spot, you can always move it to a different area.

3. Need inspiration and knowledge? Search the Internet and Pinterest specifically for hundreds if not thousands of great plant and garden photos. Many will give a variety of information so you can duplicate the look and get similar results. And browse your local library or bookstore for books that cater to your specific interest. (For a quick explanation of the differences between annuals, perennials and biennials, visit my blog at:

4. Prefer an inground garden? Pick a spot and decide on the purpose.

a. Adding color interest to a bland landscape

b. Creating an edible garden

c. Building a garden room or hide-away

d. Adding curb appeal to your home

e. Establishing a culinary or medicinal herb garden

5. Now figure out the type of soil you currently have if you're planning an in-ground garden. This is an important step, and may require you to ask your local garden center or extension agent for advice on improving the soil. It's like building a good foundation for your house. Any plant is only as good as the soil in which it is planted.

6. Determine the amount of light your intended garden space gets. That will dictate which types of plants you can grow there. (Full sun = six hours of sunlight per day, partial-sun/partial shade = two to six hours of sunlight per day and full shade = less than three hours of sunlight per day)

7. Now the fun part: Start selecting your plants and seeds! Visit local garden centers or shop by mail or online order for both seeds and plants. Don’t forget to note those plant tags and seed envelopes, both of which contain plenty of information for gardening success. Enjoy the process and before you know it, you will be reaping the rewards like an expert old hand in the garden.

Lynette L. Walther is the recipient of the Garden Writers Association’s Silver Award of Achievement for 2012, and she gardens in Camden. Got questions, or comments? Visit her blog, and join in the conversation at: or ”friend” her on Facebook.