so many of you have inquired about starting a flower garden so i thought i would do a little write up on how i started my (first) official flower garden.
in the past i have stuck to more bulb type flowers (dahlias and glads) but i had always admired my friend danns amazing array of zinnias (amongst other blooms) and have wanted to grow my own (especially after dropping a consistent $7-$12 at the farmers market each month. the problem was i didn’t want to give up any vegetable space for flowers. i was all (and still am) all about those tomatoes baby.
this year though with a little more room to plant hoard i decided dedicate a 4x8ft garden bed strictly to flowers. i did plant two other small rows to see how they would compare to a garden bed as well.
here is what you need to get started (this is if you are building a garden bed)
i ordered seeds that i knew would be hearty from rareseeds.com honestly, i order all my seeds from here. i have yet to have bad luck with this company when it comes to germination. i started the flowers in the dark basement and when they sprouted moved them up to the windows. i know that seeds sound a little tedious but it allows you to order some really awesome varieties.
here are the varieties i planted this year.
bells of ireland
rose peony poppy
black swan poppy
lilac pompom poppy
pink senorita zinnia
cherry queen zinnia
purple prince zinnia
giant perfection mix asters
i did zinnias because i know they are hearty little growers and will keep giving the more you cut all summer longs. irelands and the asters are later bloomers (july – august) and the poppys were a nice spring addition. they tend to wilt in the heat 🙁
i mixed my clay soil in with some top soil and peat. and really really churned it up good. i planted the flowers according to the guidelines of the seed packets. i never follow the spacing rules even though i kick myself every year. FOLLOW THE SPACING RULES. i could have had a lot more blooms if i would have. after i planted my hearty seedlings i used a cedar mulch around the base which helps deter bad bugs and keeps moisture to the roots. i also lined the bed with marigolds to keep the rabbits out (i’m not kidding this seriously works). i also sprinkled the miracle grow shake and feed at the very beginning.
Make sure that you are watering your flowers EVERY day. I know this could suck if you leave town. i picked up a timer for $35 and a cheap irrigation system from menards for $20. it’s well worth it. nobody likes coming home from vacation to a bed of dead flowers. plus the water will help them really kick start. i do not use fertilizer once my plants are established. i know that some people do but i guess i just never needed it? the shake and feed at the beginning phase really helps.
the best part is obviously the blooms. cutting the blooms and gathering a fresh bouquet is the best. when you are cutting make sure you are doing in when it’s cool in the morning or evening. if you cut them in the heat they are going to wilt almost twice as fast. which stinks. cut the flower just above the next set up blooms. sometimes a flower will be only 2 inches above the next set up blooms…unfortunately you might need to toss those aside or place them in a bud vase. the more you trim, cut and dead head the more blooms you are going to get. the wilting flowers suck up all the energy so releasing some of them will help drive more blooms onward and upward.
well…. i haven’t reached the great beyond yet but i do like to save my seeds and reuse them for next year (that way you don’t have to buy more they can keep on living on). a great resource for this is the seed savers exchange online there is a lot of information on there about how to extract the seeds from veggies, herbs and other flowers. i usually dig up my beds again and toss some fertilizer/mulch on them for the winter so i can start the process all over again next summer!
i want to know what you think! Have you had a flower garden before? What are your favorite varieties? any tips and tricks of the trade?