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Garden Design series: "What to plant where" - Flowers

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

FLOWERS require more maintenance than trees and shrubs. But the colors available make it worth it all. Prepare the soil by adding compost or sphagnum moss which will hold moisture and small air pockets for good root growth. As you dig in the organic material remove any roots of weeds. After planting a light mulch is always a good idea. Be sure to keep the mulch layer over the potential root zone, but not against the stems of the plants. The mulch will help to keep the soil moist and discourage weed seeds from growing. The flower bed will need to be kept weeded until your plants grow to cover the space. It is much easier to remove the weeds when they are small than when they have really taken root.

When thinking about a flower garden, choose a site that is often seen. Then answer these questions about that spot: Will you be shopping for plants for sun or shade? What is the backdrop to the bed? Will you use annuals or perennials?

You don’t have to choose between annuals or perennials, but you can mix them up providing more interest through the seasons. Annuals will give you a long season of color. Many perennials can give you about two to four weeks of color. With a shrub border for a background the flowers will fit into the landscape whether they are in bloom or not. A space for annuals is also a good space to plant bulbs for early spring color. Then plant spreading annuals between the clumps of bulbs. Or if you are planting perennials with the bulbs, plant late blooming perennials between the early blooming bulbs. As the bulb foliage dies back, the perennial foliage will fill the space.

Concentrated color is most effective in the overall picture. So, place several of the same plants together in an area, rather than one of these and one of those. This will give the appearance of a thoughtfully design garden to be viewed from a distance. Alternatively, planting many different varieties in twos, threes, or singly is more easily appreciated up close. This is generally referred to as a cottage garden and is more mixed up

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