A good garden design with plants that have been carefully chosen for the perfect place will produce healthy flowers that will thrive with proper care. Flowers purchased in a garden center will all grow well locally, but if you order seeds and plants from afar, be sure and check that they are suitable for the local climate and weather conditions.
Healthy Flowers Need Good Soil Preparation
In your planning process, assess the soil and the sunlight in your yard. Plants can die because the soil in which they are planted is missing nutrients or there is poor drainage, or the soil isn’t deep enough to support perennials (flowers that bloom each year), or have too much or not enough sun.
You should have 18 inches of soil to support healthy plants. Add topsoil if the beds are too shallow. Use organic additives to enrich the soil before planting.
Loosen the soil in your flower beds with a hoe and then rake it so that the beds are all ready for planting before you shop for the seeds, bulbs, flowers, shrubs, and vines. Check which beds have full or partial shade and which have sun all day. Choose flowers that thrive best in each of these conditions.
Consider Basic Design Rules
Use books and magazines as references when planning your garden:
- Height – Consider how tall your favorite flowers grow and make sure you plant tall blooms behind shorter ones. If you have a circular garden, the tall flowers are best placed in the middle of the bed.
- Color – Consider the mix of colors that look best together, and design your beds with color mixes in mind. If you have several beds, it is fun to plant some of them with all the same colors, such as an all white bed or an all pink bed.
When choosing shrubs and perennials, remember to check not only the height, but how much they will spread once they are established. Interesting gardens will have flowers not only of different heights, but placed at different heights using hanging baskets, planters, and flowerpots. Vines, like shrubs, make a nice backdrop for flower gardens.
Keep flowering seasons in mind when deciding which plants to buy. Plan to have assorted plants blooming in the spring, summer, and fall so that your flowerbeds are always colorful.
Make a rough sketch of each flowerbed and the name of the shrubs, flowers, and vines you intend to plant according to their need for sun or shade, and with the color combinations you have selected. A sketch is a good memory jog.
Shop for the Right Flowers and Plant them Carefully
Your shopping list should include substitute flowers in case some of your first choices are not available. Inspect each plant, both the top and the root. Don’t buy plants with dead spots or rotting stems. Place your hand on the soil, invert the pot, and gently shake the plant loose so that you can see the roots. Roots should be white and spread all over the root ball, not dark or mushy.
Plant flowers according to instructions and immediately water and fertilize them with the correct amount of Hydro Mousse, and measure carefully. Too much can hurt the plant and the correct amount prevents shock as the plant adjusts to its new home.
Spend Time on Flower Health Maintenance
Water when the first 2 inches of soil is dry or if the flowers look droopy. It’s best to water the roots only, if possible, and soaker hoses allow you to do that. If you have only a regular sprinkler, water your flowers early in the morning before the sun is too hot.
Fertilize throughout the growing season and use the amount recommended by your favorite brand. Pinch back the deadheads to keep the blossoms coming.
Watch out for bugs, slugs, and signs of disease, and stay on top of any problems that arise. There are various organic and homemade treatments for plant diseases and bug invasions. Some plants, such as marigolds, are very pest-resistant.
Put the right plant in the right place with good soil preparation and proper maintenance, and you will be rewarded with healthy flowers that are the envy of the neighborhood.
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