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Phlox in white and pink with red roses and orange daylilies added to the mix make for real, scented, color-filled garden complete with a path to take you to secret places.

Do you ever dream of having a real garden, like our grandparents, that’s filled with flowers and perfume? The surprise is that making a garden that looks and smells like the real thing is as easy as one, two, three.

 1. Start small: Don’t tackle the whole forty acres, but pick the areas where you’re going to notice the most change, such as nearest the front and back doors, or the patio or deck. It doesn’t matter how big or small the space you’re working with; it just needs to be somewhere you spend time and enjoy it. Take real or mental pictures of the space you’re working with and if you’re handy with a pencil and the back of an envelope, do a quick sketch plan of what’s already there. This helps you prepare for what comes next.

2. Something has to go: You usually need to pull old plants out make room for the new - even if that means digging up some of your lawn or an old shrub or two. Move your evictees to another spot or give them away if you hate waste, but the idea is to give your gorgeous new plants enough soil space and head room to thrive without having to fight for fresh air and moisture. Now mark the gaps on your sketch (or take fresh pictures) then head down to the garden center or neighborhood plant sale.

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A basic green planting is easily transformed into a real garden by adding in lovely flowers like crocosmia Lucifer and the gloriously scented white-eyed pink Phlox.

3. The fun bit: At the garden center, take a look around. From your pictures and sketch you’ll know how many plants you’re there to buy. As to what to get, here’s a great list to start with. You want easy care, scented, colorful and bulletproof: roses, phlox, lavender, heliotrope, or daphne. You get the idea. But do a quick check online to make sure the plant in your hand is one of the well-bred varieties (you don’t want a fussy old variety that won’t deliver). 

And that’s it. Collect and tuck your real garden plants into nooks and crannies and your garden will give you as much pleasure as a child’s visit to their grandparents’ place.

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