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Flower Gardening Tips For Gardeners

from: flower gardening

Flower gardening is an extremely rewarding hobby. But it is a hobby that needs work and dedication. Our flower gardening tips will ensure that you enjoy yourself, product a beautiful flower garden, and that you avoid any harm to natural ecosystems.

The most important first step in beginning your flower garden is to find out where you want to do your planting. If you decide to plant in a container, then you could pretty much create the soil conditions you need for the majority of plants, though there will always be some plants that wont grow in your area because of temperature or sun exposure conditions.

If you decide to plant in your backyard, you should first test your soil, which you can buy at many gardening supply stores; even if your local store does not have a soil test kit, someone on the staff will be able to tell you where to get one. An easy way to test what type of soil you have is to grab a handful from your yard and rub it back and forth in your hand; if it sticks together, that means that your soil is composed of a huge quantity of clay, while if it comes apart, there is a some presence of sand. Too much of either is not good because clay does not drain well and roots find it hard to penetrate, while sand does not retain nutrients well. A good soil has the same amount of sand and clay and is called loam.

Among their flower gardening tips, several expert gardeners recommend keeping a gardening journal, in which the first entry is a sketch or drawing of your new gardening project; where you are going to place your garden, the shape of your garden, and a good idea of what flowers you are going to plant and in what arrangement. Then, as time goes by, you could write down how successful or unsuccessful you were with certain flowers and include photos of your garden and any individual flowers.

Once you have decided your garden location, dig down into the soil around 7 inches to a foot and remove all rocks and extraneous materials. Break up clods and level the ground with a rake and add one or two inches of compost or manure, more if the soil is poor. Add peat moss or grass cuttings to increase water capacity; especially if the soil is sandy and add lime is too acidic (most plants do not too well in very acidic soil). Mix all the soil and organic matter together, turning it a few times; this is called tilling the soil. Again, use the rake to level the bed. Add soil amendments like compost into the top 6 inches of soil and mix with a general purpose fertilizer like 10.20.10.

Let us speak a little bit about organic matter. Organic matter is made up of the remains of living things, plants and animals, which decompose and return to the soil, giving up their nutrients and vitamins. A good portion of organic matter in the soil makes a soil fertile and nutrient-rich, a great medium for all plants. If your soil does not have much organic matter, do not worry, you could always add compost or manure to “amend” the soil (but do not add too much, since too much of a good thing could be bad). Compost is the partially decayed remains of plants and animals and is an great source of organic matter; what’s more, you can make it yourself and keep it handy for all your gardening needs. Indeed, it is relatively easy to make your own compost pile and it will help save you money and trips to your local gardening supply store if you have a ready supply of organic matter.

Compost gives nutrients and enriches soil; as an amendment to soils rich in clay, compost assist drainage, while as an amendent to soils rich in sand, compost helps keep more moisture. Also, by maintaining a compost pile, you are helping outyour environment by decreasing the amount of material filling up in landfills.

Follow yet another of the important flower gardening tips and begin a compost pile; get a 6 inch layer of chopped leaves, grass clippings and waste from your kitchen like orange peels, lettuce leaves, coffee grounds or tea leaves (do not use bones or meat), and you could also use shredded branches, garden plants whose time has come (be sure they are not diseased), shredded paper, weeds (be sure they have not gone to see), straw or hay, or newspaper. Cover this layer with 3 to 6 inches of soil, manure, or finished compost. Alternate layers of organic matter and soil/manure to reach a pile about 3 feet tall; the heat generated by this pile will function to sterilize your compost and you will be able to use it for potting soil, mulch, or as a soil amendment.

Keep the pile in an location that is shady and sprinkle it with water when it seems dry; keep it moist and avoid it being soggy. Turn the pile to circulate oxygen. When it is ready and cool, you can mix it with soil before planting your flowers or use it as mulch; but use it fast or the nutrients will dissipate. Make sure the stuff you add in the pile is small, either use a shredder or mow your lawn mover over them.

After that brief interlude about decaying matter, let us get back to some more great flower gardening tips. So you’ve dug up your garden, tilled the soil, and added amendments. You should wait a few weeks before you actually begin planting so that the amendments have the time to seep into the soil and diffuse across your soon-to-be vibrant life. While you are waiting, try and figure out which plants you would like to plant and what their requirements are.

Figure out what type of garden you would like to have; what colours would you like to see, what fragrances would you prefer? Some nice additions to a flower garden are the foxtail lily, the lily of the Nile (also called the African lily) and some delphinium. If you would like to attract butterflies, buy some butterfly weed, lantana, or butterfly bush.

You will be astonished at how far a little planning will go. If you do your homework, and follow some useful flower gardening tips found in garden catalogs and guides, you could have a garden displaying color in all seasons; all you have to do is mix and match early-season bloomers, mid-season bloomers and late bloomers. Plant early blooming perennials in a group next to a group of later bloomers; between groups of perennials, plant groups of bulbs. The leaves of perennials could also be used to give colour to your garden, once all flowers have finished blooming. Indeed, green is not the only colour leaves come in; pay close attention to those plants whose leaves are burgundy or silver-like, and use them as “space fillers” when flowers are not blooming.

Make sure you know what hardiness zone you are in; the USDA has seperated the USA and lower Canada into hardiness zones based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in average minimum temperature. Certain plants could only be grown in certain hardiness zones; this information is usually found on seed packets or flower guides. Make sure you purchase appropriate plants for your zone.

You can actually begin your gardening a little earlier than when you should if you begin plants from seeds in the house. Jiffy pots made of compressed peat moss are handy. You put starting mix or potting soil, let the plants grow for a few weeks in the sunlight until they reach about four inches and then move outside. The jiffy pots will rot away and the plant roots will grow into the soil. Also read the back of seed packages for flower gardening tips and information on when to plant seeds in your area, how to plant them and how close to sow the seeds. If you get seedlings, be prepared to have to plant them in the ground as soon as possible.

You have done your research, you have written in your journal, you have bought your plants. When planting, it is a great idea to place smaller plants up front and the bigger ones in the back. Make sure your flowers are about 3-4 feet away from any buildings or fences, 20 feet away from large trees and 6 feet away from any large bush. Also be sure to avoid shallow, rocky soil, any areas where water tends to stand, and steep slopes.

After you have planted your flowers, lay down some mulch and compost that is not completely decayed over the soil but make sure it does not touch the stems of your plants. As with any organic matter, mulch adds nutrients to the soil, blocks the growth of weeds, maintains a stable soil temperature and increases the soil’s water retaining capacity. Keeping a constant 2 - 3 inches of mulch around your plants in the growing season is a great idea. As an added bonus, you can place layers of damp newspaper under the mulch to stop the growth of weeds, which could be very detrimental to your flowers.

Many gardeners will use chemical pesticides and other highly synthetic substances to create a successful garden. The majority of gardeners, however, will tell you that organic gardening is the best way to go. No chemical pesticides, just a focus on improving soil quality and using plants wisely. Indeed, there are other plants that, when grown in combination, will actually benefit the garden like rose and garlic.
C. Gray is the recognized authority on the subject of flower gardening. Her web page Ultimate Home Gardening gives a wealth of information and resources on everything you will need to learn about home gardening. All rights reserved. Articles may be reprinted as long as all the content and links remains intact and unchanged.

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