A garden full of color and beauty is easy to achieve with the right planning. The success of any beginning flower garden is following a few basic steps before the flowers are even planted. Careful forethought and planning will produce beautiful blooms that last all growing season, and require little maintenance.
The location of a flower bed is determined by the requirements of the specific flowers. Most flowers, like roses and lilies, prefer the warmth and light of the sun. Certain types of flowers do better in the shade, such as lily of the valley. If you are fortunate to have a spot with good drainage, bright sunlight and good soil, the blooms will be endless from spring through fall. Beautiful blooms are also possible in shady locations. Beginning gardeners who are planting in locations where there is full sunlight should choose flowers that are easy to grow, like marigolds, zinnias, morning glories and bachelor buttons. These seeds can be sown directly into the soil when the weather turns warm and the sunlight warms the soil.
Productive flower gardening begins with quality soil. There are three types of soil in most gardens: clay, sandy and loam. Clay soil is hard, does not drain well and compacts tightly so root systems do not have a chance to form and spread. Adding equal amounts of sand and compost, or organic matter such as peat moss, usually corrects the problem and creates a rich growing medium. Sandy soils drain much too quickly for flowers to gather the proper amounts of water. Sandy soils generally provide little to no nutrients for the growing plants, so blooms become scarce if they produce at all. Adding generous amounts of compost and top soil produces a quality planting bed. Gardeners that are blessed with rich, loamy soil need only worry about fertilizer and water.
Gardeners who suffer from drought conditions during the growing season must keep flowers from drying out between watering by adding a layer of dried leaves under the planting medium before adding plants or seeds. The water will soak down into the leaves and be stored there for the plants during a dry spell. At the end of the year, turn the soil so the nutrients from the leaves gets added to the soil for the next year.
Landscaping fabric is popular in many beginning flower gardens because the flowers are able to grow and the weeds are kept at bay. Very little hoeing or weed pulling is necessary if landscaping fabric is installed. After the flower bed has been prepared, roll out the fabric right on top of the soil. The weed barrier can be held in place by garden stakes or staples, or the fabric can be completely covered with mulch. To add plants, create small incisions in the fabric with a pair of scissors. Plant the seeds through the fabric, at the cut, at the required depth. Water easily penetrates the weed barrier down to the soil, but the weeds cannot grow through it to reach the surface.