Simple Steps to a Gorgeous Garden

Apr 05, 2024 Cotton Farms News

The return of warm weather sends many homeowners to their local stores to collect all the makings for a beautiful garden. For those lucky enough to live in Fuquay-Varina’s new Cotton Farms community, the unique climate provides the perfect place for a variety of plants! Whether a seasoned gardener or struggling to find that green thumb, creating a gorgeous garden is just a few steps away.


Plan Ahead: Planning your gardens ahead of time eliminates confusing walks through garden centers as shopping lists are pre-defined.

  • What are your gardening goals? Those hoping to attract pollinators will want to purchase flowering plants while those focusing on edible options will add produce seedlings to their carts. Or perhaps you’d like to do all of the above!
  • Pay attention to your yard’s sun and shade patterns while planning gardens. For spots that are full sun, purchase plants that will thrive in bright and arid conditions. Sprucing up shady spots? Look for options that require less sunlight and don’t mind slow-to-drain locations.
  • The motivated gardener may think that hauling a watering can will be a breeze. In reality, this can be tiresome as this region requires consistent irrigation. Locate spigots and build gardens within convenient reach of hoses. Invest in soaker hoses and/or quality spray nozzles!

Study Your Soil: Many failed gardens can be tracked right back to mis-planting. Understanding your soil is as important as understanding your climate.

  • New to the neighborhood? Central North Carolina falls into the USDA Hardiness Zones 7a to 8a. While this does promote planting a variety of plants, it also means occasionally unpredictable weather. Summers are often hot and humid while winters can bring frost. This region truly touches every type of weather!
  • The soil in central North Carolina tends to lean towards clay-heavy though some properties may have sandy spans. Invest in a soil test prior to planting to gauge pH levels and nutrient contents. This will save money in the long run as soil amendment will improve drainage and ground structure. Your garden will thank you!

Plant Selection: A great rule when purchasing plants is to go native!

  • Plants that are native to your state are already well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions which gives them a much higher chance of thriving! Native plants will also be a delightful sight for butterflies, honey bees, and birds as they seek stops along migration routes for pollen.
  • Pay attention to spacing requirements as new plants will need ample room to grow. Overcrowding can lead to disease and poor growth so, while your garden may look sparse at the start, spreading out your plants will pay off quickly!
  • Check your calendar before committing to new plants as they will need to be watered regularly until they have established roots in their new environment. A great rule of thumb is two full weeks of consistent watering before turning the bulk of the work over to spring and summer rainfall.

Moving to Maintenance: Once plants are settled into your beautiful garden, they will still need maintenance to promote happiness in their new home.

  • Mulch around plants (but without touching stems) to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Many consider mulch as a decorative item but it is actually a huge garden helper as well!
  • It is almost guaranteed in central North Carolina to experience long dry spells during those hot summer months. Pay attention to the weather and be ready to take on the watering work when necessary. Typically, plants will “tell” you when they are thirsty as leaves begin to feel dry.
  • Keep an eye out for pests or diseases as either can quickly damage thriving plants. Research homemade options for control as these will not harm friendly visitors, such as butterflies or hummingbirds.
  • Flowering plants should be trimmed regularly which is a bonus for your decor. Buy a few small bud vases for your kitchen table and bring some of that well-earned beauty inside!

New residents of the Cotton Farms neighborhood are experiencing one of the joys of purchasing a newly built home: creating gorgeous gardens! Following a few simple steps will point homeowners to success and yield beautiful, fragrant results for years to come. Stop by the Cotton Farms community today to find your new home and garden!