Glorious Flowers Every Year

Lillian SteinBy Lillian SteinOct 3, 20170

Perhaps you’ve admired the lovely flower gardens of your neighbors every year. Perhaps you’ve vowed yet again that is the year you’ll finally brighten up your home with nature’s glorious displays. Why let another year slide by without your own batch of home-grown beauty?

No Wizard Secrets Needed

No Wizard Secrets Needed

Lots of people think gardening is complicated. It’s true that advanced gardeners can talk for hours about different kinds of soil and special tricks for fussy plants. That’s OK. They’re deeply into their hobbies. They’ve learned all sorts of wizard secrets.

You don’t need wizard secrets. You don’t want an über-garden that amazes everyone at the gardening club. You just want some pretty flowers that wave gently in the soft breezes of springtime and summertime. Many kinds of flowers are super easy to grow. Even if one kind of flower doesn’t work, another will. Starting a small flower garden in your yard from seed is simple and doesn’t cost much.

Simple Annuals In Springtime

Simple Annuals In Springtime

The best way to start is with annuals, which are planted from seed each year. As you might expect, spring is the season for planting. Frost kills tender flower shoots, so wait until after the last probable date of frost for the best chance of success. Your local garden center likely will know about it, or you can search the Web for predictions about your specific region.

Snubbing Mean Jack Frost

Just in case, you can take a few simple precautions against unexpected frost.

  • Avoid planting in east-facing locations that hide from the warming rays of the rising sun. Let your flowers glory in the early morning light!

  • Frost loves low-lying spots, so plant higher on mounds or ridges.

  • Plant near bushes and trees and walls that offer some protection from cold weather.​

Rich, Nutritious Soil For Flowers

Rich, Nutritious Soil For Flowers

Flowers love rich soil, but overly rich soil with a high nitrogen content can burn their roots and cause other problems. If your soil looks rich, leave it alone. If you’re not sure, you can buy an inexpensive bag of sterilized compost or garden soil from your local garden center. Break up the existing soil with a gardening spade or claw rake and mix in the compost or garden soil before planting your seeds.

If your flowers have problems with growing tall and strong, you can always mail a soil sample to the University of Minnesota or another agricultural center for testing. If needed, such a test likely will cost $25 or less.

  • Avoid planting in east-facing locations that hide from the warming rays of the rising sun. Let your flowers glory in the early morning light!

  • Frost loves low-lying spots, so plant higher on mounds or ridges.

  • Plant near bushes and trees and walls that offer some protection from cold weather.​

Planting Your Lovely Seeds

Planting Your Lovely Seeds

Needless to say, choosing your flowers is the best part! You’ll probably enjoy any or all of the following annuals.

  • Cleomes

    Cleomes greet the warmth of early summer by bursting into feathery clusters of pink, white, purple, and violet glory. Hummingbirds and honeybees adore cleome blossoms, and the mature plants stand up well to dry, hot conditions. Deer dislike the taste of cleome plants, which is a useful characteristic for areas with heavy deer populations.

  • Begonias

    Begonias are masters at blooming into the extreme reaches of red, pink, orange, white, and yellow. Begonias provide relatively little nourishment for honeybees, but they draw hummingbirds with their riotous color and repel the ravages of hungry deer. Care must be taken to water only at the roots to avoid fungal diseases and other problems, and regularly snipping off dead blossoms will encourage the growth of healthy blossoms.

  • Snapdragons

    Snapdragons prove their worth by enduring hot, dry conditions with exceptional stoicism while attracting hummingbirds and bumblebees with a robust production of nectar. Snapdragons take delight in celebrating the height of summer with multicolored blossoms that exhibit many shades of yellow, red, pink, white, orange, and purple. Snapdragons add to their already impressive versatility by discouraging the nibbling destruction of deer.

  • Salvias

    Salvias flourish in hot, dry conditions and pummel the senses with their strong fragrances. Salvias prefer to strut their stuff in late summer with strikingly blue, purple, violet, and lavender blossoms. Honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all will eagerly zoom in on nectar-laden salvias. However, hungry deer will nibble or chomp down hard on certain varieties, so salvias may need protection, such as a wrapping of chicken wire around tall wooden stakes.​

As with all seeds, scattering numerous flower seeds boosts the chances that a reasonable percentage of those seeds will eventually germinate into rapidly growing sprouts. Sickly or redundant sprouts can always be regretfully plucked from the soil and laid to rest in a dignified disposal container.

Mulch To Suppress Unwanted Weeds

Mulch To Suppress Unwanted Weeds

True to their nature, weeds grow everywhere with astonishing vigor. Uncontrolled weeds will steal soil nutrients and eventually crowd out desirable plants if given one-tenth of a chance. You’ll need to periodically yank out the inevitable weeds in your flower garden by the roots and toss the limp remains into a trash barrel. Keeping up with weeds can be a real chore.

Although it’s not strictly necessary, mulching can help. Garden centers sell shredded wood chips for the purpose. Some gardeners even affix landscaping fabric to the dirt with landscaping staples before spreading out the mulch, but that’s a master move for advanced gardeners. In any case, the mulch layer should keep a small but respectful distance from the stems of all the pretty flowers.

Some Water Is Quite Enough

Some Water Is Quite Enough

Flowers can drown from too much water. Perpetually waterlogged roots can fall into irreversible rot. It’s usually OK to water flowers only when they look thirsty and wilted or when the soil looks dry. Much depends on your region’s rainfall patterns. Watering the base of the plant near the roots works best. The roots, not the petals and leaves, are responsible for soaking up the water that the plant needs to thrive.

Unnecessarily spraying water all over some flowers may promote plant diseases that lead to sick or dying plants. Certain flower varieties grow better with significantly less water than other varieties. The seed package will have details.

Conclusion

This is the year for your garden. Your flowers are waiting for you to grow them and love them. March forth to your yard and make some flowers happy!

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