Tips For Working With A Garden Expert

Blackhawk Garden Center Manager, Sally O'Hare photographed by Alexa Johnson.

Get a Head Start for a Gorgeous Garden

Spring is nearly here. After many months of dreary, cold days nestled indoors, it’s natural for homeowners to turn their attention to their yard, hoping to recreate that flower bed they saw on Pinterest. How do you get started cultivating the garden of your dreams? According to Sally O’Hare, Garden Center manager at Blackhawk Hardware in Charlotte, NC, you must know your yard well.

“I often have customers ask me to help them replicate a garden that they saw on Pinterest,” said O’Hare. “Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as picking the same flowers you saw in a picture and planting them in your yard. You need some specific information, such as the type of sunlight, to know if the flowers could even survive.” 

O’Hare recommends that would-be gardeners come prepared with the following information and questions when consulting with an expert at a home and garden center:

Know where the sun shines. It’s important to pay attention to where the sun lights your yard or doesn’t. “While many plants require sunlight to thrive, there are beautiful flowering plants that can grow in sunny or shaded areas, such as different types of begonias,” said O’Hare. “A ruddy brown foliage begonia can handle the strong southern sun while the green leaf begonia is happy in the shade. Then, there are those that can grow in partly lit or fully shaded areas of your yard such as heuchera or impatiens.”

Dig in and make it fun. When it comes to gardening, not all soil is the same. Your soil’s pH balance, texture, and moisture are important factors to consider when planning a garden. The types of nutrients in the soil can vary according to its pH factor. Soil pH plays an important role in the absorption of nutrients by plants. “The best investment you can give your garden is quality soil, either by bringing it up by applying compost or investing in quality soil,” said O’Hare.  

Measure the size and slope of the planting area. It’s important to know the measurement of the area you are planning to plant your garden. Regardless of whether your project is a potted plant or a sloped yard, take some pictures with your cell phone and bring them in. Some plants need a lot of space while others can be grouped together.

“The investment you make in planning your garden will give you a sense of accomplishment when it all starts to bloom,” concludes O’Hare, “nothing beats that feeling.” 

Blackhawk Hardware and Garden Center is located in Park Road Shopping Center at 4225 Park Road in Charlotte. Store hours are Monday - Saturday, 8am - 6pm; and Sunday, 11am - 6pm. Garden Center hours are Monday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm; and Sunday, 11am - 6pm. For more information, visit



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Featured photo credit: Alexa Johnson