Gardening is about much more than getting your hands dirty. An interest in horticulture can grow into a pastime that gives you pleasure both in and out of the garden. Reading and learning about gardening can provide you with invaluable information on how to build your ideal garden as well as giving you hours of enjoyment.

Part of the fun of gardening lies in the planning, both of the design and of the tasks for the year ahead. Early autumn, as the nights become shorter, is the ideal time to surround yourself with gardening hooks and magazines. Draw inspiration from articles on individual gardens that catch your eye; tear pages out of magazines that show planting schemes

and color choices that particularly appeal to you. It is also a good idea to look through the advertisements featured in gardening magazines for specialty suppliers of seeds, bulbs, plants, and garden furniture. If you are able to make a trip

One of the joys of “armchair gardening” is that the weather does not spoil your fun. With a sketch book and paints, you can create different color schemes for the garden you wish to create. By gathering together the elements you may want to use in your design, you can see how they complement one another prior to creating the real thing in the spring.

Keeping your own garden journal is always a good idea: not only does it provide you with a record of what you planted where (extremely important in winter with herbaceous perennials and bulbs, when nothing is left to mark the spot), but you also have a useful diary of the development of your garden. It is fascinating, for example, to record the

to a gardening or flower show, this is a great opportunity to indulge your new hobby and gain lots of inspiration.

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