It's Okay to Play
Gardening should be fun and gardeners shouldn't be afraid to fail.
Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in the US and gardeners run the gamut from extremely knowledgeable to complete beginners. But whether you've been gardening for 50 years or 5 weeks, all gardeners should have at least one thing in common: fun!
It is common for beginning gardeners to worry that they will make mistakes, not understanding that you only truly learn gardening by gardening. Reading books and magazines about gardening is a great way to build a foundation of knowledge and get ideas, but putting those ideas to work in your own garden is different than reading about it. This is what intimidates many beginning gardeners. However, if you carefully read articles about established gardens you will begin to realize that these knowledgeable gardeners have sometimes moved a plant 3 or 4 different times before they found the right place for that plant.
Experienced gardeners aren't afraid to fail because they don't consider a combination or plant location that doesn't work to be a failure. They know that there is always another season and another season means another chance to try something new. A large portion of the joy in gardening comes from trying something new, so remember it is okay to play.
Your garden probably already has established trees, shrubs, and perennials. These elements tend to remain fairly static due to their longevity. Annuals are often the best plants to experiment with since they will be replanted every year anyway. Why not try a bold plant combination like purple and orange? It might not be the combination you would first think of, but these bold, bright colors compliment each other beautifully and could add a brilliant punch of color to your garden. If you decide you don't really like it you can do something different next year.
Gardening should be fun, make it a point to try something new each year and if it doesn't work, there's always next year. Add a whimsical piece of garden statuary. Choose a container that reflects your personality and fill it with your favorite flower. Have you always wanted to try a perennial that the literature says is marginal in your area? With the right micro-climate or a mild winter you might be able to pull off your own private miracle.
Gardening is one of those activities where you learn the most by doing it yourself but you can stack the deck in your favor by asking the right people questions. So how do you find the right people? Joining a garden club such as the Proven Winners Winner’s Circle and taking master gardener classes are a great way to start. Does your neighbor or your husband's Aunt Shirley have a great garden? Talk to them about gardening. Gardeners are notoriously generous with plants, advice, and friendship. So get ready, get set, play!