Make Yours Fabulous
In every country around the globe, and through the ages, flower gardens have been one of the ways gardeners leave their mark.
But how do you translate that into your vision? Here are a few tips to get things started.
- Think first about what kinds of plants and flowers you like. It's important to have a variety of different species, to carry the flowering season over a longer period of time. We all like Dahlias, but they only bloom in the late summer into the fall. Plan for something blooming each season so it can take over when the previous plants are finished flowering. Some flowers can be coaxed into blooming again in a few weeks by deadheading, or removing the spent flowers.
- Plant in drifts or clumps for more impact. Several of the same plant close together will be way more showy than one specimen of each kind planted in a polka dot pattern. Use the effect of odd numbers of plants (5 or 7) together to give a pop of color all at the same time. The advantage of this is that you can also care for all the plants in a group by cutting them back, fertilizing them, or ripping them out entirely and replacing them.
- Use 'backbone' plants, such as shrubs or perennial plants that can form a structure to support other plants. Different plants have different requirements for water, sunlight and soil type, so try and combine plants with the same kind of needs. Keeping the permanent plants happy will be more important than any annuals you plant among them.
- Think in the other dimension - vertically. Screens with flowering vines such as Clematis give you even more to work with. You can hide unsightly views (the neighbors garbage cans) or make a small garden seem larger by hiding some of it, making it more of an adventure to discover what's behind the trellis.
- Prepare the soil of the planting area with the addition of compost, and if your soil is acidic (if you have lots of pine trees or other conifers) sprinkle some Dolomite lime and rake it in before planting. This changes the pH slightly, making it possible for the plants to absorb nutrients from the soil. If replanting, for instance after pulling some plants out to replace them, add more compost and rake in - the new plants will thank you.
- Mulch around the base of the plants, keeping the material a little bit away from the stem, with either an organic mulch like bark, screenings from the compost pile or straw, or an inorganic mulch like stones, lava rock, pebbles or granite chips. For a permanent flower garden, the stone mulch works to hold in a bit of moisture, and more importantly, acts as a weed barrier.
These flower garden tips are the tip of the iceberg - no pun intended, but should give some guidelines for your most beautiful flower garden to date.
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