Easy Steps to a Beautiful Flower Garden Easy Steps to a Beautiful Flower Garden

Because the main purpose of a flower garden is to beautify our landscape, we approach the cultivation of one differently that we would the care of a garden intended for more pragmatic purposes like the producing of vegetables and herbs.

Flower gardens add new colors and textures to a landscape and make for a more eye-pleasing transition between the house and the rest of the yard. Our aim in growing them is mostly an aesthetic one, then. For example, while sunlight might be a main concern when deciding where to sow our vegetables, flowers will be placed where they’ll be most appreciated - i.e., where they’ll be most visible through the windows of the house or perhaps from the sidewalk. If such a plot ends up being in a shady area, we would then need to favor shade-tolerant plants over other sun-loving ones.

Once we’ve isolated our ideal area, we need to refine our vision further and plan the actual size and shape of our intended garden. We might outline the proposed spot with rope or garden hose. Again, the main consideration is visual appeal. In many yards, a curving plot might be more pleasing to the eye than a rigid line. It might be helpful to sketch out our future garden on graph paper, to work out the proportions between all the plants and also insure that there will be sufficient room for them to reach mature size.

Then comes the work of stripping our marked-out plot down to the soil. With a shovel, spade or rototiller, we have to remove all the grass and weeds. The soil should be tested for pH balance and then perhaps fortified: either with ground limestone, to make it more alkaline, or with iron sulfate to increase its acidity. Flowers do well in a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. We can also enrich the nutrient content in the ground by mixing in organic material like manure, compost or peat moss.

When it comes time to plant, we would do well to mingle annuals (which bloom and die within a single year) with perennials (which die into the soil in winter but then spring up again from their roots the following year). Because annuals bloom faster, they can make our garden look fuller while we’re still waiting for our perennials to grow. The perennials, in turn, can blossom just as the annual blooms are beginning to wither. Visibility is still our priority, so tall plants should be in the rear of the garden (or against a fence) and the shorter plants up front.

It’s a good idea now to fill in the areas around our plants with mulch such as wood chips, pine needles, shredded leaves or straw. Mulch deters weeds by denying them sunlight; also it helps keep soil moisture from evaporating and lends its own nutrients, over time, to the ground where our flowers feed.

Choosing to turn a section of lawn or bare ground into a flower bed can seem like an intimidating proposition at first. But if we do a little research about what plants do well under the climactic and soil conditions where we live, and then prepare our plot with a few careful steps, the results can transform a dull stretch of yard into a place of breathtaking beauty.

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