If you're wondering how to grow a beautiful flower garden, you're in luck. It's really as easy as just getting started. Most gardens don't start with a plan but become more and more lovely over time, as the gardener adds, subtracts and moves flowers. And even if you to have a grand plan, you'll find yourself revising it over the years, looking for new and exciting ways to reveal your gardens beauty.
The first items you should purchase are tools. Buy as good of quality as you can afford. Pruning shears are a staple in every garden used for shrub and rose pruning, dead heading and cutting back perennials. You'll also need a spade, shovel, stiff tined soil rake, a big fan-style rake, and garden fork. For watering, get garden hose with brass fittings and four to six plies thick, as well as a watering wand and sprayer. A weeding tool is another essential, and if you have a bad back, you might consider a long-handle weed puller.
Then, make sure your soil is right for planting. Your flowers will need moist, well-drained soil. It should be crumbly and easy to dig. If it's hard and compacted, or too loose and sandy, you'll need to take steps to improve it for best results. When you are preparing your soil, it's always a good idea to add compost or manure. You'll want to till your soil to a depth of 4- to 5-inches. Be sure to remove all weeds and grasses. Rake out the flowerbed and remove all debris, forming a crown in the middle for proper drainage.
Where you place your flower garden is also very important. You probably have a mix of shade and sun. Most perennials and roses need full sun, which means about 6 hours of sunlight a day. Shade and partial shade plants need protection from the hot afternoon sun. If you have large trees that provide heavy shade, try planting hosta, foxgloves, impatiens, and the many shade perennials that are beautiful. Look for leaf texture and colors of the foliate, since it's the main feature throughout the growing season.
If you're just starting a flower garden, plant annuals. They're easy to grow and you can find them anywhere. They'll allow you to experiment with color, spacing, size, texture and plant combinations. Annuals will give you color throughout the season. You'll almost certainly transplant them from containers purchased at your garden center. If you want a burst of color right away, plant them as close as planting recommendations allow. It's always good to have a ruler handy when planting your flowers. Be sure to tease the roots apart as you plant them since they've like been in pots for a while. The tags on the plants will tell you whether they prefer sun or shade. If you're interested in bulbs that flower in the summer, try dahlias or gladiolas.
If you'd like to grow your own annuals from seed, be sure to have the proper grow lights, pots and potting soil. Easy annuals to grow from seed are marigolds, zinnias and poppies. There are lots of colors and varieties available in seeds for these flowers. Seed packages cost very little -- often under $1, sometimes under 50 cents. You'll get lots of flowers out of one seed package, so you might want to set up a flower sharing arrangement with local gardeners to increase the variety in your garden.
If you'd prefer to plant a flower once and watch it grow year after year, then plant perennials. You should be able to watch your perennials bloom for 5 - 15 years, depending on weather, soil conditions, disease and insects.
Many easy-care perennials resist these threats, so look for them when you're planning your flower garden. They include: astilbe, coral bells, daylilies, globeflower, hosta, ornamental grasses, peonies and more. You can combine perennials with annuals. In fact, many gardeners like filling in around their perennials every year with annuals. It gives their gardens a fresh, updated look every year. Also, just like annuals, you can start perennials from seed.
Whether you're planting annuals or perennials, it's always a good idea to layout where you want your flowers while they're still in their pots. You can easily rearrange until you achieve a balance you're happy with. Be sure to take into account the height the flowers will reach, as well as their color and how much their foliage spreads.
Water your flowers two or three times during the first week after planting. Water deeply, but don't wash them away. And be sure to keep the soil moist for a beautiful show of color all season long. Be sure to feed your plants with a 20-20-20 fertilizer mixed with water.