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VILLAGE OF HARTLAND - Although it will be several weeks before gardeners can put in tomato plants and perennial flowers, now is the perfect time to plant many types of flowers and vegetables.

Bright, colorful annual flowers, such as pansies and ranunculus, fill up large tables outside of Garden Gate Nursery and Landscaping in Hartland, where owner Kim Schlise says after long months of being stuck inside, the chance to plant a garden can't come soon enough.

Now that gardeners are out planting annuals and vegetables, such as potatoes, peas, carrots and squash, Schlise had some advice for first-time gardeners in regards to what they should be planting and how to make a successful garden.

Start small

Gardening is something that can become overwhelming if a gardener bites off more than he or she can chew, Schlise said. She recommends new gardeners start out small, with plants that are a little more forgiving.

“Start small," she said. "Learn what you like. How much time are you going to put into it, because everything you plant needs care.”

For flowers, Schlise recommends sedum flowers because they don't require a lot of fertilizer or water and are forgiving to mistakes new gardeners may make.

Plan ahead

One of the joys of flower gardening is implementing all the bright colors into your lawn and making your garden pop, Schlise said.

The problem with getting the right color is that every house is different. A color combination that looks good on paper might not look like what a gardener imagined when planning a garden.

Schlise recommends gardeners play around with color combinations before planting flowers in the ground. By keeping flowers in their pots and moving them around the lawn, a gardener can, over time, get the results they are looking for.

“You can play around with what you like to do," she said. "Move things around before you put it in the ground.”

Ask questions

The number of plants and the shelves and shelves of different nutrients and fertilizers can be daunting to a new gardener. Schlise recommends new gardeners ask as many questions as possible when planning a new garden.

“We're always here to answer questions. All of our employees are knowledgeable,” Schlise said. “We will be happy to help you get your gardens going.”

Have fun

Gardens are supposed to be fun and reduce stress, not create it. That's why Schlise recommends starting small and making it enjoyable.

Play around with combinations of annuals and start thinking about perennials that can be planted around Mother's Day. Annuals flower early, and perennials flower later in the year. Finding the right combination of flowers can be a very rewarding experience, Schlise said.

“There is no rule,” Schlise said. “Enjoy getting your fingers in the dirt, and smelling earth and playing with it, playing with color.”

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