Flower gardens are simple to install and easy to care for. With thoughtful planning and design, flower gardens can provide your landscape with color from early spring until fall. The following covers the 5 steps involved in creating a healthy and colorful flower garden.
Step 1: Site Analysis
Successful flower gardens rely on an understanding of a site’s natural environmental conditions such as sun and shade, wind exposure, soil composition and views. Only after a thorough site evaluation should you begin plant selection and design. The garden you design should, with some site preparation, be able to thrive in the existing conditions of the site.
Step 2: Choosing The Flowers
There are basically three categories of flowers to choose from when planting a flower garden: perennials, annuals and biennials. Perennial gardens are generally the easiest to care for but planting different types of flowers together in the same garden to ensures a colorful garden from spring until the first fall frost.
Perennials are those flowers which bloom year after year and are at the heart of most gardens. After growing throughout the spring and summer, perennials die back to the ground each winter only to reemerge again the following spring. Perennials are easy to grow and need little maintenance. Perennials are adaptable to a variety of landscape conditions so analyze the conditions of your own garden to determine what will work best.
Annuals provide gardens with an array of colorful flowers from spring until the first frost. Annuals can also provide additional color to the flower garden as they can fill in bare spots and compliment the perennials. Though annuals flower all summer long, they sprout, flower, set seed and die within one growing season. Since annuals cannot tolerate freezing temperatures they need to be planted in the spring after the there is longer a threat of frost. Become familiar with your local climate and the specific needs of the flowers before you plant.
Biennials are those flowers which complete their life cycle over the course of two growing seasons. They produce foliage, and sometimes stems, during their first year of growth and then flowers during the second. Once this cycle is complete, they die. Biennials include the long time cottage garden favorites; hollyhock, foxglove, and sweet William.
Step 3: Designing A Layout
Plan a garden which compliments your house and overall landscape. For instance, mixing different heights, colors, and varieties of flowers together in a cottage garden style will give your garden a rustic look which is quite appropriate for a country setting. If you want a more formal feel, consider a rectangular garden with a symmetrical layout.
Step 4: Preparing & Planting The Garden
Flower gardens require an adequate supply of water and nutrient rich soil if it is to flourish. The proper amount of sunlight light or shade is also critical. Be sure the flowers you choose are appropriate for your garden conditions.
Adding organic matter such as compost to sandy soils will increase the soil’s ability to hold moisture. Poorly drained soils such as clay will benefit from the addition of a mixture of sand and compost. They will help provide adequate drainage. Compost is important in any garden since it provides your plants with nutrients.
Step 5: Maintaining The Garden
Maintaining a flower garden is even easier than planting one. Although they’re generally self-sustaining, perennials can benefit from an early spring feeding. Apply a slow release fertilizer for best results. Adding a layer of compost or light mulch, such as buckwheat hulls, to a flower garden each season also helps keep the plants healthy. Mulch adds to a garden as it breaks down over time, keeping the soil nutrient rich and helps the soil retain moisture.