How to Start a Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Starting a flower garden with blooms all season long is a rewarding hobby that is easier than you think.

When starting a flower garden, you have to decide which flowers you want to grow and where you’d like to place them.

Consider temperature, rainfall, and seasonal variations before choosing a variety.

The quality of the soil is also important, therefore a soil test needs to be performed to check the levels of nutrients, pH, and soil compaction for a successful garden.

PLANTING ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS

What separates annuals from perennials is that perennials will regrow every year for three years or more while annuals live for just that growing season.

Because annuals need to be sprouted every year you can change up the look of a potting container, raised garden beds, flower beds, around trees and shrubs.

Combining both annuals and perennials will provide the best variety of color, blooming time of the flowers, texture, and form of the entire design.

ANNUALS

Before you plant your annuals, make sure you know a little about the soil they’ll be growing in. Annuals need well-drained soil with a pH between 6.3 and 6.7.

Growing annuals in a container can be a fun way to change up the look of landscaping, a porch, deck, or patio every year.

To stop the flower from seeding, you deadhead the flower by cutting the flower off the plant just below the flower.

They will start to bloom in the spring and they tend to increase the production of flowers before the first frost which will take them out.

Most annuals can be seeded directly into the garden soil. Some, however, need to be started indoors in early spring or late fall to survive the cold. Popular annuals include the lantana, petunia, and vinca.

Popular Varieties

  • Marigolds
  • Petunias
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Calibrachoa
  • Zinnias
  • Geraniums
  • Vincas
  • Impatiens
  • Begonias

PERENNIALS

Most perennials only bloom once per season, therefore, planting a variety of annuals and perennials will keep the flowers in your containers, raised gardens, and flower beds all season long.

Perennials, however, need about a year to settle in. Peonies, for example, can take up to three years to fully mature.

Butterfly-friendly perennials, such as yellow-black-eyed Susans, are great for attracting pollinators. Butterfly-friendly plants that provide nectar include purple ageratum, blue viola, and chartreuse lettuce.

Popular Varieties

  • Amsonia – blooms from late spring to early summer and they will last for several weeks with star-shaped flowers.
  • Baptisia – blooms between March and early May, blooms last 3 to 6 weeks, and they are also known as false indigo.
  • Astrantia – the blooms are long-lasting from early summer to early fall.
  • Sedum – they are tolerant to droughts and come in low-growing vine or upright varieties with blooms that will last about six weeks.
  • Daylily – with most varieties the blooms only last one day but they produce many blooms, especially when established. There are several varieties that rebloom and some varieties that bloom for long periods of time such as the everblooming daylily
  • Foxglove – blooms in late spring after the first year, but they may also bloom later in the season. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Salvia – they are tolerant to droughts, when established they bloom from mid to late summer and last for weeks. They also attract hummingbirds.
  • Coneflower – deadheading will create blooms all season long and they come in all colors and range in height from 1 to 3 feet tall.
  • Hellebore – blooms from late November to spring, also known as lenten rose, prefers shade, and they bloom from mid to late winter.
  • Asters – blooms from late summer to early fall.
  • Penstemon – blooms from May to October.
  • Bee balm – blooms from July to late summer if the flowers are deadheaded.
  • Tradescantia – blooms from spring to summer and is also known as spiderwort.
  • Thrift – blooms in late spring to early summer.
  • Astilbe – blooms from early to late summer, the blooms will last for 2 to 3 weeks and attracts butterflies.
  • Dianthus – blooms from spring to early summer but some will rebloom at irregular intervals or they may continue to bloom into the fall.
  • Chrysanthemums – blooms from late July to October but they need to be planted between spring and mid-summer to allow the root to become established.

CHOOSING A LOCATION

The best flower garden location varies depending on the type of flowers you are planning to plant.

The vast majority of flowers do best in full to partial sun, but some species need shady conditions to flourish.

The quality of the soil is important to the health of your plants. If the soil is of poor quality then the soil will need some amendments to improve it and you can check the quality with a soil test kit as well as a soil pH tester.

Most plants require proper soil drainage and compaction, therefore knowing the type of soil you have is important.

Soil with heavy clay content will absorb less water, while sandy soil will allow the water to move through the soil too fast.

Therefore, heavy clay soil needs sand added to it and sandy soils need plant matter added to it.

DESIGNING YOUR FLOWER GARDEN

Choosing which plants to plant is an essential part of flower garden design. Consider climate, soil, flower size, and color combinations.

Island garden beds and border gardens are considered to be the two basic types of garden beds with two styles being formal and informal.

Island garden beds are placed in open areas that can be viewed from all sides with a focal point that doesn’t need to be in the center of the design.

The focal point can be a large perennial shrub, a tree, a large container with a plant, a statue, or your mailbox.

Border gardens are used along sidewalks, around a home, and in front of a row of bushes and are used to complement and beautify a backdrop.

When building a border garden, a common practice is to plant the tallest plants in the back of the garden bed, the medium-sized plants in the middle of the garden bed, and the smaller plants in the front of the garden bed.

The best way to design your perfect space is to put your ideas on paper to make sure that the garden will look full and well thought out so the flow of the garden looks uniform throughout.

Before drawing anything out you will first need to have an idea of what you want to plant, the size that they can grow to, and the amount of land that is available for planting.

After that has been decided the next step is to put your design on paper to make sure that everything will fit and look good.

Designing a flower garden is your work of art so let your imagination go wild.

COLOR SCHEME

One way to make your flower garden will pop with color is by using complementary colors. Yellow and purple are complementary colors, and a yellow pansy with blue salvia creates a vibrant combination.

Another popular way to use complementary colors is by using flowers with opposite hues. For example, a pink lily will look good next to a red rose, while a purple salvia will contrast with a green hedge.

This scheme unifies the entire flower bed and can give your flower garden a more vibrant look. If you’re unsure which flower colors to use, try contrasting complementary colors.

If you are going for a color scheme that goes well with your home, it’s a good idea to consider your house color. Changing the color of your house will make it look like you’re trying to match two different colors.

If you have a pastel-colored house, you might want to stick with a cool color scheme for your flower garden. Alternatively, you can choose a warm color scheme for a hotter garden.

FINDING A FOCAL POINT

Finding a focal point in your flower garden is essential for the overall beauty and functionality of the space. Focuses are never seen in a vacuum but are always viewed as part of the entire landscape.

They direct the viewer’s eye in one direction or the other, and they must fit with the aesthetic of the space.

In a small flower garden, this focal point should have a long blooming period, but a short one-season flower should not be the focal point.

A seasonal focal point, on the other hand, may be more appropriate in a larger garden, but it requires careful planning and care.

Once you’ve decided on a focal point, consider the size and shape of the plants surrounding it to create a visual balance to the space.

STAGGERED BLOOMING TIMES

If you’re starting a flower bed with both annuals and perennials, consider spacing the blooming times of each variety.

Early spring bulbs, for example, have an early blooming season. Late summer and early fall bulbs have a later blooming season, so plan your annuals and perennials accordingly.

Perennials are best used as mass plantings, as they’re much smaller and less expensive than annuals. Perennials are also easier to transplant, which is crucial if you’re aiming to stagger the bloom times of annuals and perennials.

Perennials typically have shorter bloom periods than annuals, and you’ll want to stagger the bloom times of your perennials and annuals so that you have a repeat crop each year.

CARING FOR FLOWERING PLANTS

To get the most out of your flower garden some time will need to be spent taking care of the plants that you have chosen.

The time spent is like an investment, the more care given to the plants, the more they will give back with healthy foliage and large numerous blooms.

WATERING

To prevent rot and other conditions, you should avoid overwatering annuals. Their shallow root systems make them susceptible to water logging and other ailments, and their flowers can easily dry out in a short amount of time.

Annual flowers will not bloom again if they are overwatered or are dealing with a lack of water. In addition, watering annuals too frequently can cause root and stem rot.

You may also find that the leaves of the plant will lose their bright green color as they dry out. Perennials and annuals need different water requirements, and the best time to water them is dependent on the season and weather conditions.

FEEDING

For most home-gardening projects, you can use a mix of organic and inorganic fertilizers to boost the growth of your flower garden plants. Organic fertilizer contains a 4-6-3 nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ratio to ensure a full bloom season.

Generally speaking, the primary reasons to fertilize annuals are to promote their growth and health and to produce abundant blooms. But, you have to remember that fertilizing too much will cause them to produce mostly foliage and no blooms.

DEADHEADING

Plants will decrease the number of blooms or completely stop blooming altogether if they are allowed to go to seed.

Blooms are the plant’s way of reproduction and if they are not able to produce seed, then the plant will rebloom.

Therefore deadheading is the process of removing the blooms shortly after they become wilted.