Flower gardening can be a very satisfying type of gardening. It has just one purpose – to bring beauty into your world! However, prior your trip to the nursery, spend some time becoming familiar with the reasons why and the how to’s of flower gardening. You should also have your flower garden in great shape if you plan to sell your home this spring! Buyers always seem to notice a nice flower garden.
Three Types of Flowers
There are three types of flowers that you should be familiar with: perennials, annuals and biennials. What are they? Perennials come back every year and you don’t need to replant them; annuals must be planted every year; and biennials need to be planted in two growing seasons or more. A combination of all three will give you a nice variety of flowers. Most annuals bloom in summer and will add wonderful colors to your garden. Perennials only bloom for a short period of time, and you can be sure that as one variety is shutting down for the year, another will be blooming.
You should spend some time online researching different types of flowers that thrive in the Chicago area climate. You can also take a few fact-finding trips to nurseries close by to understand the best choices for a flower garden in your region.
Think about making a sketch of what you want and where you want it. Your choice of flowers will depend on how much sun, shade and drainage your garden will receive. You should design it according to color. Planting complementary colors like blue and orange, purple and yellow, green and red next to each other will make a bold statement. Also, find out how tall each plant grows so you can plant your tallest flowers in the back and the shortest in front. When you think about the overall look of your flower garden, remember to consider curb appeal if you plan to sell your home. Beautiful colors can make a difference!
Once you’re ready to start planting, take your plants and place them in your flower bed. This can give you an idea of what the final result will look like. Now you’re ready to plant!
For Transplant Flowers
1. Dig a hole just a bit bigger than the plant's rootball.
2. Tap each side of the flower's container to loosen the rootball.
3. Put one hand on top of the rootball, then turn the container upside down, so the rootball rests on your hand.
4. Take the container off with the other hand.
5. Set the rootball in the hole right side up.
6. Cover the rootball with loose soil and press down firmly.
7. Thoroughly water the rootball.
Once your flowers are planted, you should water them thoroughly; make sure the soil stays moist. Most flowers make it through a growing season with one, early-spring application of fertilizer. A mid-season feeding of a high-phosphorous fertilizer will promote flowering and help them through the summer.
For The Seeds
1. Prepare the soil by scraping off the top layer of soil, then rake it gently.
2. Generously sprinkle the seeds around the planting area.
3. Sprinkle potting soil over the top, and water liberally.
4. For the germination of the seeds, make sure that the area gets at least one inch of water weekly.
For The Bulbs
1. Plant the flower bulbs in areas with great drainage.
2. Don’t use commercial fertilizer or fresh manure when you plant bulbs.
3. When you’re cutting flowers, remember to cut as little foliage as possible–that’s where food is stored for next year's blooming.
4. Let foliage die on its own prior to trimming it back. Don’t trim back healthy foliage or the bulb won’t grow well next year.
5. To prevent mold always store bulbs in a dry, well-ventilated area. Don’t store them in air-tight containers.
Weeding and Deadheading
You should be vigilant with weeding. They grow faster than flowers and compete with them for nutrients! By keeping ahead of the weeds from the time you begin planting, you can save yourself a lot of time.
Deadheading means to snip the dead or dying bloom off of the plant. Snipping the flower-head off keeps the plant from focusing on the creation of seeds, which will form in the dead flower-head. Without seeds to produce, the plant will work extra hard at pushing out another bloom. Disease and mildew may form in the de-headed bloom, so don’t discard them in the garden.