How to start a flower garden in 3 steps

Now is the right time to start a beautiful flower garden if you have always wanted one. It’s both rewarding and fun to start a flower garden. These guidelines will help you get started.

Step 1: Know Your Garden

Get to know your area: This is the first step to creating the perfect flower garden. Mary Ellen Cowan, landscape architect, suggests that you really know your place. Listen to Mother Nature for information about the land’s characteristics. You must be honest about light, moisture, and topography.

Do a soil test to make sure your garden grows well. Floret Flower Farm owner Erin Benzakein explains that you can take soil samples by digging a 1 foot hole, collecting a few tablespoons of the material, and then continue to collect until a quart-sized jar has been filled. Send your soil to the UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory at soiltest.umass.edu and get the results to amend your soil before you plant.

Cowan says to know your flowers. You can then design your garden from there.” Carol Bornstein, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s horticulturist, suggests “visiting nearby natural environments that mimic your wild conditions to discover the flowers you like.”

Knowing your frost cycles: This will help you ensure that your garden survives the seasons. This will impact when you plant seeds, and allow you to choose varieties that can grow well into autumn. Your plants will benefit from starting seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. You will see a faster growth rate and fewer weeds. A covered seed tray indoors with growing lights is an alternative to a greenhouse.

Step 2 – Create Your Color Palette

Unity is key: Bornstein recommends choosing a color scheme that “helps unify the landscape.”

You can create excitement by using complementary colors. The combination of yellow and blue is bright, summery, and lively. Warm tones such as yellows, oranges and reds are best when there is sunshine, especially in the golden hours, when the sun rises and sets. Hot colors can look flat if they are left alone. The harmony and vibrancy of the blues is created by the complementing yellows. “Occasional splashes with hot orange or red add a little excitement,” Keith Wiley, Wildside garden, Devon, England, says.

Make sure you create peaceful spaces. Wiley says it’s important to be careful not to have too many options. You can’t have it all in your garden. Bill Thomas, Chanticleer says to separate areas with high-impact color or high drama using neutrals. Jan Johnsen, landscape designer and author, Heaven is a Garden, encourages you to use the colors that you love in your garden.

Step 3 – Design like a Pro

Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer and world-renowned architect, suggests starting with the shape when designing a flower garden. There are many basic shapes for perennials: spires and plumes, daisies as well as buttons, globes, umbels and screens. You can combine different shapes to see if they complement each other. While some combinations may be lively and dynamic, others might clash. A similar combination of flower shapes can help to reinforce an idea.

Design with repetition: Repeating key shapes and colors creates a feeling of calm and unity. Wiley advises that plants that are repeated should last a long time, be neat after flowering, and thrive in the garden’s environment. When moving from one part of the garden to the next, strategic repetition of flowers provides continuity.

Layer design: Matt James in How to Plant a Garden states that when planting you should “try to pull one layer subtly into the next — and vice versa. To create a more natural look” Oudolf cautions that it is possible to “lose plants at the back,” so make sure to maintain sight lines to allow for flowers to be seen at the border’s rear.

Combinations are the best way to design: Sean Hogan, Cistus Nursery near Portland Oregon suggests that you think in terms of plant combinations and not individual species. The garden will be engaging throughout all seasons by combining different plant heights, sizes and colors. Plants that are more relaxed will bring color and movement to the garden, giving it a meadow-like feeling.

Dan Hinkley, a plant hunter and author has found what he loves most about his garden’s fragrance and movement. These elements are not often included in garden design. Hinkley recommends that you take advantage of natural breeze patterns so the flowers’ scents can waft towards your patio or home.

Bonus Flower Garden Tips

Benzakein recommends planting flowers closer together to increase flower production and encourage long stems. This is better for floral design and cut flowers. This will help reduce weeds, and increase the amount of flowers you can produce.

Benzakein says that if you grow flowers for cutting, it is important to plant foliage and filler plants in order to make arrangements.

Donna Hackman, a retired garden designer, suggests that you place rectangles of flagstone around your flower beds if you want the flowers to overflow naturally but not within reach of the mower blades. Keep paths between flower beds open so that flowers don’t get trampled when you walk through the garden.

Hackman suggests that you choose smaller cultivars for less pruning work, and that you plant shrubs in the middle of your flower beds to give them structure and height all year.

These tips will help you make the right choices in starting a flower garden. You can then relax and enjoy the fruits or blossoms of your labor.

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