Flower gardens reflect the true personality of the creator of these beautiful additions to the landscape. Gardening requires effort, time and planning to maintain a profusion of blooms throughout the summer growing season. Tips for flower gardens range from watering recommendations to ways to combat weeds. Quick fixes and hints also help limit mistakes for the novice gardener.
Preparing New Garden Beds
We often get inspired to add a new addition to the landscape on a whim. However, the addition of a new garden bed requires careful planning and execution. Removing grass, tilling soil and adding soil amendments works best when the gardener prepares the flower bed in the fall. This allows two seasons for amendments to break down and benefit the soil with increased organic matter and draining ability. It might be hard to wait before planting, but your plants will benefit immensely.
So many homeowners throw mulch willy-nilly onto flower beds without really understanding what this landscape product does for the garden. Organic mulches (shredded wood, pine or straw) readily smother weeds and hold water in the soil lying beneath the mulch layer. Add a mulch layer 4 inches deep to smother most weeds.
The easiest way to water the flower bed involves simply turning on a well-aimed sprinkler. This method gets the top few inches of soil wet but doesn't allow water penetration deep into the soil. Purchase a soaker hose and wind it through your flower bed. Turn on a light flow of water and let the hose do the work of deeply watering the garden to reach perennial and annual flower roots.
Spring Bulb Care
Resist the urge to chop off foliage around spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinth. Allow foliage to die naturally and completely before pruning. Foliage nourishes the growing bulb, so it shouldn't be removed while still retaining green color.
Perennials provide a few weeks of color during the growing season based on the type of plant. Yes, the flowers provide interesting accents to the landscape, but consider purchasing perennial flowers for the quality of the foliage. Foliage adds texture to the flower garden and frames other varieties of blooms long after flowers fade away.
Annual plants require little maintenance compared to the high impact these plants add to the flower garden. Maintain annuals by popping off spent flower heads (deadheading) to keep these hardy plants flowering profusely.
Weed removal requires constant attention in the flower garden. Nuisance plants compete with ornamentals for moisture and nutrients in the soil. Hoe, pull or smother weeds as often as possible to keep these pests under control. If your back hurts too badly from pulling, place 4 to 6 sheets of regular newspaper over the weedy area. Apply a layer of mulch to smother the weeds and let nature do some of the hard work for you.