We received a great question from Wendy K. about how to design a flower garden. Wendy will be receiving a $10.00 gift certificate from Minnesota Gardens for her question.
The first thing you need to find out about the area you want your flower garden in, is what type of sun is it getting, full, shade, or partial sun. Most flowers do well best in sun, though there are some that are perfect for shade to partial shade. Though it might be March and there is still a little snow left on the ground, now is a good time to plan not only your flower garden but your vegetable garden as well.
Think back what the area looked like around June 20th, why you ask? June 20th is the summer solstice, the time of summer when the sun is at it’s highest level in the sky, that will give you a rough idea of the kind of sun you will be getting. Look around and see if there are any trees, overhangs, or other things that will be blocking the sun. Think back as to what that area looked like, was if full sun, partial, or shade. That decision alone will be a huge factor in what you pick and how it will grow. An example would be, you would like Roses on the north side of your home, but they like full sun and will not do well at all in that location.
Once you figure out what kind of sun you will be getting you need to take some measurements and find out the size of the area. You don’t have to get it to the inch, just walk it off and draw it down on a sheet of paper.
The first question I always ask is “What are your favorite colors?” So lets say they like red, yellow, and white, with that I can pick out numerous plants for them to work with. So you have an area that is 10′ by 10′ and are ready to pick your plants.
Annuals / Perennials
I always tell people to plan for both annuals and perennials in their garden, perennials to save money and annuals for filler.
With perennials you just have the upfront cost (about $10 to $14) and the benefit of having perennials is that after a few seasons you can divide them and thicken up, or expand your garden.
With annuals you can use them as fillers and bring different colors to your garden every season.
Size Of Your Plants
One problem that pops of at times is the layout of your garden, and by that I mean how big your flowers get during the season and over the years.
When you are laying out your plants keep in mind how big they will get over the season or over the years if you’re planting perennials. I myself like a tight filled in flower garden but its very important to READ how big your plants will get. Without proper spacing you run into the problems of diseases, insects (MOST INSECTS ARE BENEFICIAL TO YOUR GARDEN), stunted growth, etc.
After you layout your plants and are ready to plant them, there are a few things that you can do now to help your plants acclimate to their new home. Make sure to have a large hole about twice the size of the pot you have, the same goes for the 4 pack of annuals. You will be amazed at the difference it makes in the growth of your plants. I have seen plants in gardens that could have been 60% larger if the hole that was dug originally was larger. That is important for your root growth, and if you have clay soil make sure to add some peat for backfill.
When you take your plant out of the pot take a look at the root ball and the condition of the roots. If they are tight and look to be growing around the plant you will need to break them up. Don’t be afraid to take your fingers and loosen them up, you are really helping them get started.
Water! Water! Water!
Your plants will be very thirsty until they get established, so make sure you are watching the weather and making sure you are checking your soil for moisture. When you are checking your soil stick your fingers down deep into the soil. If you have dry soil at 3 inches, you can be sure that 1 gallon perennial you planted with its roots down at 8 inches is not getting the water it needs.
These were the basics for planning your flower garden, and I will be getting into fertilizing, vegetable gardens, benefits of bees, and many other topics for your Minnesota Garden as the season goes on.
If you have any gardening questions please feel free to email us firstname.lastname@example.org If we use your question we will send you a $10.00 Minnesota Gardes gift certificate.