Starting Your Spring Flower Garden
If you've never gardened before, the whole process of essentially toying with Mother Nature can be incredibly intimidating and daunting. There is so much to learn, and so much work involved that if the labor of your love withers and dies instead of thrives and grows, most would be crushed emotionally. This can be extra true with flower gardening, as a gorgeous garden outside your house can make your home worthy of magazine covers, but adorn yourself with dead flowers and see if anyone except location scouts for an Addams Family remake want to take pictures of where you live. Flower gardens create sweet scents and beautiful visuals for all, and putting one together is easier than you think, especially after reading the information in this blog post.
The most important thing I can share with you on flower gardening is how you must never cease with a search and destroy mentality towards weeds. Left unchecked, weeds will overtake a garden, so always keep an eye out for anything growing that shouldn't be, and eradicate the invader the moment you spot it. Generally speaking, you're also going to want to give at least an inch of water a week to your garden, to keep it growing healthy. This sounds like a lot of work on paper, but its more vigilance than work, and when you see the results of your labor, you know it was worth every second you spent tending to your flowers.
Perennials, annuals and biennials are the three basic groups in which flowers are broken down into. As their names somewhat imply, annuals are flowers which have to be replanted yearly, while biennials will last at least two growing seasons yet won't bloom until the second year. Perennials are my favorite (because they are the easiest!) as they will come back each and every year without having to replant them. While Perennials have a shorter bloom time than annuals, which typically bloom all summer long, with a bit of experience and planning, you can ensure one set of perennials begins to bloom as another bunch is ending their time.
When it comes time to run to the nursery and begin your garden, one has three options when going forward. The one that most everybody thinks of initially are seeds. If you plan on going with seeds yourself, you'll need to first get your soil read. To ready soil, one must scrape the top layer of your area with a shovel, and then use a rake to loosen the ground. Next, sprinkle the seeds into the ground as if they were sesame seeds over some hot and delicious sesame chicken (I wrote this close to lunchtime, sorry). You'll then want to add a thin layer of potting soil on top of the seeds. Then, it's time to water thoroughly and liberally. Please remember to follow any instructions on the packaging your seeds came in.
Transplants are great (insert joke about how Pensacola is already full of transplants here) to get your garden off to a quick start. A transplant is a plant that is already in a pot which you can move to your garden. You can also transplant plants already in your garden to a pot, or another part of your garden. From annuals like pansies and petunias to perennials such as daylillies and roses, there are always a wide variety of plants pre-planted at your local nursery, and that is doubly true in the summertime. Moving the plant from one spot to another is easier than you'd think, but it does take some patience and care. Just dig a small hole slightly bigger than the plant's rootball with a gardening tool. You can then tap on the sides of the flowers container to loosen the soil and more importantly, the rootball. Cover the rootball with one hand while lifting the container and flipping it upside down with the other. Then just put the rootball into its new home, pack it with loose soil, press the new soil into place, and then water the area, again liberally and thoroughly like with seeds.
Lastly, we are going to cover how to plant bulbs. When planting with bulbs, you'll want to use an area with excellent drainage. You do not want to use commercial fertilizer or fresh manure when planting bulbs. As you cut the flowers, leave as much of the foliage intact as possible as that is where food is stored by the plant for next year's bloom season. When the plants have completely died, that is the only time you can trim or dig up bulb plants. If you trim anything green, your bulb will not achieve the same beauty in the following year. They are meant to die and come back, so take your time while trimming.
My only other tip is if you want to add some cactus to your garden, use pots instead of the ground, unless you live in an area which gets very little rain. Too much water will internally drown a cactus, so keeping them in pots allows you to bring them indoors or under cover in the result of heavy rains. Cacti sometimes grow some of the most beautiful flowers imaginable, so I personally find them a charming addition to any garden.
I hope you enjoyed these tips, and please share with me pictures of your gardens on Twitter and Instagram!