Full Bloom in the Lowcountry 15

Spruce up Your Spring Garden

We waste no time when spring arrives.

Almost overnight, shorts and sandals make their appearance, our harbor fills with more boats and the gardening gloves come off the shelf, ready for a new season of planting.

For many, gardening is an activity to look forward to year after year. For others, it’s a challenge.

We recruited Sandra Staffon, manager and horticulturist at Sweetgrass Ace Hardware, to offer advice to gardeners of all stages on how to partake in the planting adventure.

On any given day, you’ll find the regulars stocking up on supplies and chatting with Staffon about the status of their gardens, as well as novice gardeners asking questions about soil, pots, seeds—you name it—she has the expertise when it comes to gardening.

New to gardening? Staffon recommends bringing in a picture of the space or pot you’re going to use and know the following going in:

How is the sun—morning versus afternoon? What are some of your favorite colors? How big is the space?

Once your gardening strategy is in place, she recommends some prep work:

1) Get the soil ready. Pick up a home soil testing kit to test for NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and pH levels – a measure of acidity of alkalinity.

2) Sketch out your garden plan—you’ll save time if you know what you need from the get-go.

3) Choose the right plants to suit your space and conditions. Shade impatiens, coleus or ferns and ivy thrive in shady spots. Dianthus, Million Bells or petunias love full sun.

No yard? No problem.

“Many opt for patio or container gardens in these instances. We have planting bags and earth boxes, which you can grow vegetables in without being directly in the ground,” Staffon says.

Nemesia, Diascias and Vincas, perfect for beginners because of their ease of care, work well in containers and window boxes.

At Sweetgrass, flowers, plants and succulents are abundant and the choices are limitless. If herbs, are more your style, try basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Citrus and/or olive trees could be the perfect focal point for your patio or backyard garden.

Foodies love fresh garden vegetables and Staffon’s vast selection includes tomatoes, squash, okra and sweet potatoes.

Annuals and perennials are budget-friendly and great for novice gardeners—lots of color, easy to care for and the perfect option to test your gardening skills before committing to a large garden space. Smaller space dwellers can enjoy their own kind of garden inside with air plants, which require no soil and grow inside a terrarium. Zamioculacas zamifolia or ZZ plants are nearly indestructible and the perfect solution to bring garden green inside.

“No matter where you plant your garden, or what plants you use, having the right soil is the most important thing you can do,” Staffon says.

You’ll find Staffon and her staff most any day of the week at Sweetgrass Ace Hardware, ready to help you make your garden grow. For more info call 843.884.0064

Happy gardening!