Advice On Planning Your Organic Flower Garden
1. Buying a house and love to flower garden? Avoid...
- an exposed site on a north or east hill slope. You will have shade most of the day.
- poor, stony or very sandy soil.
- ground that is subject to water logging.
- thin soil over hard rock.
- a lot of tall trees that will rob the soil of light and food.
Not all is lost if you have one or more of the above problems, just utilize very careful planning when beginning your garden.
A Simple Plan
2. Sketch a rough layout of your new flower garden.
Select old garden catalogs of the plants you want in your garden; tape them to your plan. If colors clash or if there is too much similarity in height or texture, switch the plant and put in a new location, substitute it for another plant, or discard it.
Use Pictures of plants in various seasons to see how your new garden bed will look throughout the year. Take your camera when you visit other gardens to capture ideas to try in your own. When your garden is established, take photos as your garden changes. Keep these pictures dated and in a notebook. This will help you to see where you need a bit of color of flowers that need to be transplanted.
In planning and designing your flower garden, also remember to group together flowers that require the same kind of soil and watering needs.
3. Design a garden to complement your home.
Houses with elegant or formal historic styles are ideal for formal gardens, while modern houses pair more easily with informal gardens. Do you have an hour a day or just weekends? Think about the time you have to dedicate to your garden and plan wisely. A prime example is a formal garden, where flaws are forbidden and requires frequent weeding, pruning, and much care. Don't bite more than you can chew. Gardening should be fun not a chore.
4. Some Types of Gardens to think about...
- Cutting Gardens - purpose is production rather than landscape display.
- Ornamental Gardens - marriage of good design and attractive, appropriate plants setting off the house and features of the property.
- Kitchen Gardens - small food gardens usually located in a sunny spot near the kitchen door containing herbs, vegetables, salad greens, and edible flowers.
- Formal Gardens - characterized by symmetrical design and repetition of plants.
- Cottage Gardens or Country Gardens - Relaxed look and often appears undisciplined and overgrown, but don't be fooled they still take conscientious care. They have a lot of color and over planted.
- Border Gardens - as the name states grows along a fence, retaining wall, home, or walk. Border gardens are the most popular because they are practical as well as beautiful.
5. Size of Flower Beds
Flower beds that are 3-4 feet wide and 10-15 feet long are easy to work with. A garden hoe reaches 5 ½ feet out. If you have access to the flower bed from both sides, you can make the flower bed bigger. You can incorporate a garden path or stepping stone into the design to get at the weeds more easily.
Curves are more interesting than straight lines. Curvy garden paths lead the eye onward and outward making your garden seem bigger and leaving an element of surprise around every corner.
Fall is the best time to dig a new bed and let it winter over, allowing the freezing and thawing of winter to break up the clumps. Put shredded leaves over the new bed. If you do wait until spring make it late spring when the soil has a chance to dry out or you will compact the soil, leaving air and water no place to go.
Do not till or dig your sod under in the new bed. Take it off into pieces and be sure to put it into your compost.
Getting to Know Your New Garden
Favorite Resource Books
6. Climate Counts
Consider Climate within your zones. Check out your zone where your live. You need to take into consideration how much it rains, how cold or hot it gets. You want to be sure that your flowers thrive not just survive.
Some flowers that grow in the East will not grow well in the West. If you are not sure what flowers to plant in your area, visit your garden center and talk to an expert. Also, see what grows well in your neighbor's yard.
When buying your plants at the store read the plant's label. If a new plants"s label says it needs "sun," that means direct sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. But if the label says "shade," that means less than four hours of sunlight a day. "Part sun" means four to six hours of sunlight a day.
If you live at a high elevation, 3000 feet above sea level, you will get about 20% more sunlight than one at sea level. Plant flowers that love bright sunlight.
If you live where there is a lot of wind. Plants with small narrow and waxy leaves are your best bet. With less leaf surface, they don't lose as much moisture, so they hold up better in both drying winds and dry soil. Plant a screening hedge or put up a screen to protect your plants from the wind.
Gardens in hot, dry areas, use fleshy succulents and other small waxy, shiny, or hairy leaves, or silvery foliage, which reflect light , are good choices for plants that hold moisture well. Big leaves tend to dry out fast. Make use of mulches to help keep the moisture in.
No matter where you live or what your weather, pansies will thrive sometime during the year for you. In the North grow them during the summer and in the South during the winter. In other regions with moderate to mild winters they will grow year-round.
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