If the homes she creates with husband Chip are anything to go by, Joanna Gaines’ garden is something we could only dream about. But it turns out, building a beautiful garden like hers is easier than we thought! In her new children’s book, We Are the Gardeners ($11.95, Amazon), which she wrote with her five kids, the HGTV star shares her family gardening tips. Read on to learn how they created an outdoor oasis and sweet memories — and how you can do the same!
1. Dig into lasting inspiration.
“The garden has always been a place that inspires me,” says Gaines. “There’s something about digging deep into fresh soil or watching new life burst from what was not long ago just a tiny seed that reinforces what a gift life is.”
Sharing her love of gardening with her children has not only given them extra family time, it’s taught them valuable lessons about how a little bit of hard work yields success. “My kids have come to love spending time in the garden just as much as I do. It can be a great teacher!”
2. Draw butterflies with the right annuals.
When planning the garden, the whole Gaines family gathered around the kitchen table to imagine their dream space. They made sure to include zinnias, sunflowers, and cosmos— flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.
And in many areas of the country, now that we’ve seen the last frost, it’s the perfect time to plant these beneficial plants. Sprinkle the seeds in areas that receive full sun. Water once every five days, and you’ll have stunning blooms all summer.
3. Attract helpful critters with bug “homes.”
When aphids threatened to destroy the Gaines’ garden, the kids learned how ladybugs feed on the pests to protect the plants. A clever way to attract these heroes to your space: Place ladybug “homes” near blooms. To make: Remove the front of a small wood birdhouse. Fit a thick tree branch into the birdhouse, then drill holes in the branch. Fill the rest of the birdhouse with cut-to-fit pieces of bamboo (at crafts stores). The hollow “tunnels” in the birdhouse shelter ladybugs from rain, wind and predators.
“We wrote this children’s book together to tell the story of our journey in the garden,” says Gaines. “We hope it inspires you and your little ones to get outside, get your hands dirty and grow something great!”
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.