Now is the time to plan for successful and vibrant floral/foliage display over summer and into Autumn. Once this rain has passed we can get planting! Steps to follow for success.
Select site for garden.
Test your soil- PH, moisture test kits available from Hard wear stores. Feel texture with your hand( squeeze), Clay, loam, sandy? If possible send some soil to a Lab for analyses.
Plan- Measure bed and note aspect, what areas are in shade, sun/ Where does the sun move? Which direction does the Wind come from and how strong? This will determine what plants you will be able to grow.
What look would you like your bed to look like? Style( cottage garden, Prairie, formal, Wild).Also look at the Colour pallet you would like to display; vibrant Reds and Yellows or Soft, Blues and Pinks and Pastels, Troll magazines and the internet, garden centres, for ideas. Collect up ideas and a possible plant list.
Sketch out garden to scale( use graph Paper) then add the plants you have selected in groups(1-3-5) this is dependent on the size of your garden bed. Look for variety in texture and form and colour(foliage as well as flower colour) of the plants. Tall plants towards the back or middle and shorter to the front. Remember how wide the plants will grow as well as height. Add trees first, then foundation plants(shrubs) then perennials and ground covers to fill in the space. Don't be frightened to experiment. That is how miracles happen. You can always move plants if they don't look good or don't like the spot.
Remove grass and/or weeds- Numerous ways to do this dependent on your value: Herbicide, using thick cardboard on top to smother weeds for about a month or more before planting. Perennial weeds may have to be removed by hand.
Add additives to the soil eg. Lime, Dolomite or fertilizer determined by soil testing. You do not have to turn over the whole bed.
Now you can Purchase plants and Plant! Once planted mulch well, At least 10cm with your chosen material-Pebble, Bark, Mulch, Compost. This will help to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
Now sit back and watch your garden flourish and enjoy your handywork! And don't forget to water especially over the first summer.