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The ancient art of gardening presupposes in those who practice it the possession of skills and abilities that can, however, be acquired only with time, experience and often at the cost of bitter frustrations, absolutely unavoidable when practicing an activity subject to weather events that are not always predictable. Constancy, care, water availability and, to some extent, economic are the indispensable prerequisite.
Furthermore, a gardening capable of repaying efforts and commitment cannot do without a precise knowledge of the basic elements relating to the physiology of plants and the soil, and in particular to the balance that must be created between these elements over time. The first rule to always keep in mind is that of not excessively forcing the natural limits of each species.
Design a garden
One of the preliminary phases involves a careful analysis of the space in which one intends to practice gardening.
The soil can vary in quality and composition even in small plots, exposure to the prevailing winds must direct the choice of plants to be combined together, so as to create suitable natural alliances for the realization of green windbreak barriers. But designing a garden also means creating enjoyable corners and spaces in moments of relaxation and in which to include, possibly, small architectural elements, with the creation of natural shadow areas or floods of colors and scents of specific flowered areas.
The garden only grows with time. Sometimes, then, it is natural space itself that directs some design choices. Uneven or stony areas can stretch, for example, towards the effective combination of succulents and cacti.
Essential, especially in areas with hot and dry summers, include an irrigation system, or simply the precise location of the water points.
A good design of the garden must also keep in mind that gardening also requires suitable operating spaces in which to carry out activities relating to the propagation of plants, the preparation of compost, the protection of plants and flowers from adverse weather conditions. So, small greenhouses, composting areas, tool sheds and work benches in sheltered corners are all elements to be reckoned with to make it also a comfortable and well-organized activity.
The choice of plants
Having identified the pedological and climatic conditions in which they will operate, the choice of plants must be oriented by some precise factors, as well as by personal tastes and preferences. Each plant must be able to adapt to the needs of light, temperature, exposure and type of substrate to the different areas of the garden. And the set of plants, in their placement, must create systems of synergies capable of facilitating gardening.
Shrubs and hedges are often used with the prevailing objective of protecting entire areas used for breeding species more sensitive to winds. There are also innumerable perennial species through which to create natural barriers capable of protecting the borders.
In order to define specific areas, flowery or evergreen borders are used. Species suitable for the creation of pergolas can be used for the purpose of embellishing walls or covering the gazebo grids, used for moments of relaxation. Evergreen fruit trees, such as citrus fruits, often used in gardens, as well as ensuring a certain aesthetic effect, throughout the course of the year, they can provide fruit for the kitchen. Just like the inevitable aromatic plants, artfully scattered in a garden, they manage to reconcile the needs of aesthetic harmony, utility and reduced workloads, thanks to the frugality that distinguishes them.
In order to facilitate the different cultivation practices, innumerable solutions and tools are available. Some of these are absolutely basic.
Spades and shovels will be used for the arrangement and processing of the soil, for digging holes and planting. The rakes to clean the soil of green and dry residues or during sowing, using them to level the soil. The weeder and the hoe will be used to aerate the soil and clean it from weeds.
Alongside all these tools with long handles, those with short handles must not be missing, such as pallets and hoes of various shapes and functionality.
The choice of scissors should be made on the basis of the needs to which one will go against. There are simple types to cut the flowers, with straight and thin blades, others, the characteristic shears, with long and strong blades to prune hedges and shrubs.
For the activities related to the useful planting are the weirs on the punch, the transplanter and the indispensable plant bulb.
Pressure pumps or real shoulder atomizers and bellows sprayers will be used to carry out pesticide treatments there where needed. Last but not least, the good old wheelbarrow will be a must.
A good set-up of the land, any soil improvers, aimed at improving texture and composition, underground drainage interventions are all operations that under certain conditions can support, in terms of agronomic efficacy, the ordinary gardening activity. But the perseverance with which it is necessary to take care of the garden is perhaps the first characteristic of this secular art.
Annual cultivation treatments vary according to the seasons and the type of plants present. Pruning, fertilizing, irrigation and anti-parasite defense include regular interventions throughout the entire year.
Dry or green pruning must have the aim of regulating the physiology of plants, their growth and development in space over time.
On the one hand, winter and spring fertilization must, on the one hand, keep the soil in good condition of vitality and richness, through the contribution of the basic elements indispensable to the physiology of the plants (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and on the other hand to ensure the plants more demanding are the availability of nutrients, in order to ensure vegetative growth and good flower or fruit production. Organic fertilizers, which can be used during the autumn and winter, can be combined with chemical formulas of immediate availability during the spring season.
Pesticide and irrigation treatments, especially in the dry and hot season, should not be neglected in any way, on pain of endangering years of work and commitment.