I don’t know about you, but all of the discussion of New Year’s resolutions, warmer days, more daylight and season change makes me tired.

Warning: This article contains various four-letter words. I am “lazy.” I admit it. Why go above and beyond if less energy spent achieves the same effect? To quote Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Four-letter ga rden words bring happi ness

Fortunately, marching into spring affects my mood. It makes me happy. I can’t wait to get my hands into the “dirt.” However, wanting to get active makes me contemplate those four-letter words again. “Want,” “time,” “free,” “look,” “work,” “plan,” “bugs,” “grow” and “love” are all factors in my garden.

  • Thought/research

I “want” the biggest bang for my buck. I want to expend the least calories to get the result I dream about.

This calls for some thought and research before I put my plan into action. Primarily, what do you desire? Flowers, vegetables, trees or a gorgeous lawn can all happen.

  • Budget

What can you afford? Don’t dream of fully grown established plants if one-gallon containers are what is in your budget. There is nothing wrong with seeds, cuttings or swapping plants with a green thumb friend. It may take a little longer to get the result you want. You just need to get creative.

  • Time

How much “time” can you devote to your yard? The gardens of Versailles require more than four hours a week to maintain.

  • Knowledge/Information

We are lucky in Victoria to have knowledgeable business owners and volunteers that share great information for “free.” The Master Gardeners out at the Victoria Educational Gardens are eager to share what they know. Just ask and you will learn.

I want a lush result with minimal effort. I do have my favorites: roses, caladiums, azaleas, crepe myrtles – and mulch – never fail me. I want my yard to “look” great. I don’t want to put forth a huge amount of “work” for a short growing time. For that reason, I won’t be planting acres of pansies or tulips.

D raw a ‘plan’; follow it

Secondly, how are you going to make this dream a reality? It requires a “plan.” Draw it out and go for it.

  • Light/space

Consider how much light does this area get? How much space do you have to work with? You don’t need vast acreage to have a standout yard. Containers can be used for most everything.

  • Colors

What colors do you want to use? You can blend the plantings with your home. Or you can use contrasting colors.

  • Soil

What are the soil concerns? A soil test is invaluable to the serious gardener. Call your County Extension Agent to arrange for your test.

  • Water

How are you going to water these plants? I have had friends tell me they have built-in workers, teenagers.

I know a teenager will cooperate and set a new land speed record at getting to the table when pizza is served. Otherwise, you might as well rethink watering by teenagers, unless your child has a guilty conscience or is desperate for money.

Consider a sprinkler system or at least soaker hoses. Make sure whatever you plant has similar light and water requirements. Don’t plant a cactus next to a water-loving tropical.

  • Bed prep

Flower bed preparation is like painting. No one likes to take the time to put down tape to keep a neat edge. No one likes to put down a weed barrier fabric. However, like the painter’s tape, it is worth the “work.”

What will you finish the flowers beds with? I like mulch to help with watering, weeds and soil erosion. Choose one of the many types available and be liberal with the application.

  • Bugs

What about “bugs”? I am a fan of organic methods but only when it suits my schedule. As much as I dislike using chemicals, I am not about to manually remove pests from my plants.

  • Fertilizer

How about fertilizer? Similarly, I want to use natural products when I can to keep plants growing. That said, I don’t think my neighbors would enjoy me throwing fish guts into my soil for fertilizer. Choose well. Read the labels. A little goes a long way. More is not better. Too much is too much.

‘L ove’ what you do – and it will show

Gardening is a passion that should not be looked at with the contempt of four-letter words.

So, how does your garden “grow”? With some time, effort and expense, it will look great. There is nothing wrong about being a “lazy” gardener. Just “love” what you do – and it will show.

The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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