Most of us at one time or another has been to a botanical garden. As a kid I used to spend a lot of time in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The last time I was in England I had an opportunity to spend some time in Kew Gardens.
When we think of a botanical garden we rarely think of anything small or do-able at our own level of gardening. Really how many people sit down and say I am going to create a botanical garden in my own back yard?
Exactly what is the definition of a Botanical Garden? Quick definitions (botanical garden) noun: a facility where trees and shrubs are cultivated for exhibition and that is what you have to decide. Is your garden going to be one that you want to exhibit to family, friends and neighbors or even strangers?
If you were going to build a new home would you consider adding the cost of creating a garden into your budget or mortgage plans? The answer is probably no.
However, should you seriously be considering making a botanical garden then one would need to sit down and figure out exactly what your garden would do for you. Would it be formal, a place to sit and relax, a playground for your family, perhaps a place to dine in, have strolling areas or whatever you think you want to do in it now or in the future.
Then one would have to think about one's budget. Decide what your plan would cost and then stick to the budget by either putting the money aside now or saying this is the amount I can spend each month towards the building of my botanical garden.
Pick your style of garden. Will your paths be curvy and informal such as a friendly wild life garden might have or will it be like a Mediterranean garden which has symmetrical lines around an axis?
No sure what you want? Then go to the library and get some books, make a plan and plan your work.
Draw up your garden on graph paper deciding on how many squares equal an inch or even a foot. Don't be intimidated by these thoughts. A plan is simply a map of what you want your botanical garden to look like.
I recommend keeping a journal as you progress and in this day and age of computers and digital cameras that becomes very easy. I have kept a pictorial journal of my gardens over the years and one can see them on my website. As I grow into my mid seventies I can see the things that I have had to change because of lack of help or becoming unable to handle some of the upkeep and at this point let me tell you there is upkeep to keeping a garden.
Mark out the shade areas and sun areas on your map. Plan accordingly by placing plants and flowers that do well in the sun or in the shade. The best way to kill your plants or waste your money is to put them all in the wrong place.
When planning your botanical garden be sure you plant for all seasons including winter time. Winter time plants could be evergreens or plants or bushes that retain their berries for color and texture. Ornamental grasses are a great addition.
Continuing your plan make sure you make your paths wide enough for working your gardens and for strolling in your gardens.
If you have cats or dogs give serious consideration to them as the cats will love to dig in newly planted areas and you might lose a lot of your seeds or even bulbs. Dogs, especially large ones can raise havoc in your garden by lumbering through them and both will use the gardens as places to defecate.
A lot to think about! Well most gardens are whether they are botanical or not because one thinks about them all year round. Why do think we get all those nursery catalogs in the winter time?