In-Ground Flower Gardens
DESIGNING THE FLOWER GARDEN
Spring is here, and gardening is on our minds. Flower gardens are an exhilarating sight, bringing color, scent, and nature back into our lives after a lengthy and dreary winter. A well-planned flower garden can provide us with color and joy from early spring straight through to late fall.
SELECT A SITE
As you dream and scheme your new flower garden, there are several important factors that you will certainly want to take under consideration.
- View. Where will the garden be most viewed from? Will it be from a window, a porch or deck, front, back, or side yard, or somewhere else? Determining your view will help decide where to place plants, so that the primary view is not blocked.
- Observing how much light your selected site receives will help you determine whether you will incorporate sun or shade loving plants.
- Is the site particularly moist or dry? Being aware of this will also aid in selecting flowers that will do well in either of these situations.
- Dig in and have a look at your soil. Sandy soil has difficulty holding on to water and nutrients. Clay soil holds too much water and provides reduced air space for healthy root development. Loam soil is preferred by most plants. To amend your soil to achieve a better quality required by most plants, turn a generous amount of Master Nursery® Bumper Crop®Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region] into your native soil. Not only will this exceptional natural and organic modifier increase the nutritional content of your soil, but it will also increase drainage and the soil’s water holding capacity. In addition, it is a delight to plant into! Adding Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Rose and Flower Food to your flower bed at planting time, and then again monthly throughout the growing season, will ensure happy, healthy, strong plants with lots of blooms!
- Familiarity with your USDA Hardiness Zone will allow you to select plants that are known to not only survive but thrive in your area of the country.
SINGLE OUT A STYLE
After taking site selection into consideration, the next step is to decide which type of garden style you would like to replicate, and there are many to choose from, such as…
- annual, perennial, or bulb gardens
- mixed beds and borders
- cutting garden
- rock garden
- woodland or wildflower
- formal or informal
- native garden
- sun or shade
- tropical style
and the list goes on and on.
Singling out a garden style, before choosing your plants, will help to narrow the selection down and ensure that the design is cohesive.
LAY OUT YOUR LOOK
Once the garden site and style have been identified, it is time to lay out the garden. It is a good idea to do this on paper first, before investing time, energy, and money into the final project. The garden shape will be determined by the selected style. The size will be determined by how much time and energy is available to invest each week in garden maintenance.
Once the perimeter of the garden is decided upon and drawn, fill the interior in with a proposed plant plan.
- Consider Diversification. Annual flowering plants last just one season. Annuals, planted after the last frost in the spring, will continue to bloom until hit with the first frost in the fall. Annuals must be replaced each year but are inexpensive and can provide the opportunity to change the look of your flower garden each year. Perennials will return year after year, often spreading or reseeding, making them very useful in the garden. Perennials, however, can be costly and have a limited bloom time with most blooming for just a couple of weeks during the growing season. It’s a good idea to select perennials with attractive foliage so that they will still look good in the garden when not in bloom. Hardy bulbs are another great addition, with most returning year after year but, as with perennials, they possess a limited bloom time. A well-planned garden, delivering a long bloom time, will include a mix of annuals, perennials, and bulbs.
- Consider Plant Color. Add bubbles or circles to your paper plan to represent the flower color that you would like to use in that particular area. Colored pencils are helpful in this step. Make sure that the selected colors look good next to each other. Silver leafed plants make a great transition between colors that do not look particularly well up against one another.
- Consider Drama. Large sweeping drifts of color add awe and drama to the flower garden while simplifying the design process by using lots of flowers but less variety. Drifts are best planted with an odd number of plants to prevent the garden from becoming symmetrical.
- Consider Repetition. Repeating plants and color throughout the garden give it a soothing and consistent appearance.
- Consider Plant Size. For beds and borders that are predominantly viewed from the front, tall flowers will be selected for the back of the garden with medium height in the middle, and short plants toward the front of the bed. For an island bed that is viewed from all sides, tall plants will be placed in the center of the bed surrounded with medium height plants and low ones around the perimeter. Be certain to leave enough room for each plant to grow to its full potential.
These spring blooming annuals will provide exceptional early season color in the flower garden and may be planted while there is still a chill in the air.
- Bachelor Button
- Icelandic Poppy
- Sweet Pea
Perennial plants will bring the earliest color to the spring garden while also providing unique blooms.
- Bleeding Heart
Favorite bulbs for the spring garden should be planted the previous fall season.
- Blue Bells
Sometimes planning a flower bed for long term beauty and enjoyment can feel overwhelming. There’s no reason to worry! Your local Master Nursery® Garden Center is available to assist with knowledgeable staff, an astonishing selection of flowering plants, and, of course, Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® soils and fertilizers.